Get to know Arduino

Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It's intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments.
Arduino is becoming ever so popular these days. With a growing community, there are tons of resources that even the complete newbie can be an expert in a matter of weeks. Just by searching the web you can find things from being innovative and creative to downright strange and amazing, and if you're interested in this kind of stuff then you should prepare yourself for lack of sleep and endless hours - not trying to make it work but - having fun!

"Arduino" is not available yet on the Philippine shores, maybe it won't be available, but note that i'm using quotes on is because what I'm talking about is the OFFICIAL ARDUINO board. Luckily, because Arduino is open-source the schematics and design can be seen and be able to make CLONES out of the board - meaning electronics companies can create their own "Arduino clones" or, for the complete DIYer's personal use, be able to make your own on a breadboard with the same functionality.

Fortunately, Alexan and E-Gizmo have created Arduino clones for the Filipino community to experience - The ACEduino and the Gizduino. Although I only have ACEduino with me the parts and features of both are pretty much the same.

Alexan made two kinds the ACEduino 328 which is perfect for starters, and for more power and flash memory there is the ACEduino MEGA 2560.

ACEduino MEGA 2560
From the Alexan site the specifications include 54 digital input/output pins, 14 of them are for PWM outputs or Pulse Width Modulation outputs. 16 Analog input pins usually for sensors and motors, and 3 UART or Asynchronous Receiver/Transmitters.
To further maximize the capability of your Arduino "Shields" are connected to it. Shields come in different functions but most of them are specifically designed to fit the Arduino. Although Arduinos work even without Shields, I found my first Arduino lessons easier to learn with the Training Shield.
Training Shield
The Training Shield on Alexan includes 8 LEDs, 1 RGB LED, a Buzzer, 2 Pushbuttons, a 3-Digit 7-Segment display, and a Temperature Sensor (DS18820). If you want to know which pins are connected to which components the pinouts can be found at the Alexan website for you to download. The Training Shield is just one of the many shields that you can use and incorporate in your Arduino - you can even make one yourself with a Prototype Shield.

It doesn't take long for the creative mind to build extraordinary things with the Arduino, the possibilities are endless if you think about it. But one important thing, and albeit the most important thing, that Arduino had taught me is that you are not alone in making your imagination come to life,  helping fellow hackers and makers to learn and share ideas through experiences.

I think collaboration is the key to Arduino's success, so share your ideas and learn from others for you just might end up making something awesome.