Arduino: Open Source Hardware Hacking from the Software Nerd Perspective

Howard Lewis Ship (TWD Consulting)
Location: D135
Average rating: ***..
(3.83, 18 ratings)

You may be the master of software and the kind of open source, hacking web apps by day and device drivers by night, but there’s still a thrill in a handheld, physical device. It’s even better when it’s all open source.

Enter the Arduino, a micro-controller-based prototyping and physical computing platform. It’s the brains, but includes loads of analog inputs, and digital inputs and outputs, to read sensors and drive motors and LEDs. The Arduino is both inexpensive and completely open source: from the PCB board layout to the boot loader, to the standard libraries, to the IDE and other development tools. Even most of its extensions, or shields, are open source.

I hadn’t touched a soldering iron in nearly two decades (after picking one up by the wrong end) but that didn’t stop me from getting bitten by the hardware bug. You don’t have to be an electrical engineer to get started with the Arduino, just be able to follow some simple guidelines and be prepared to experiment.

We’ll cover the basic electronics you need to know (mostly LEDs and resistors), the programming language (C with a smidgen of C++), and show just how easy it is for software-only nerds to get their feet wet in the world of physical computing.

Photo of Howard Lewis Ship

Howard Lewis Ship

TWD Consulting

Howard Lewis Ship cut his teeth writing customer support software in
PL/1. He made the jump to Object Oriented programming via NeXTSTEP
and Objective-C before transitioning to Java. He began work on
Tapestry in early 2000, and is currently working on Apache Tapestry 5.2.

Howard is respected in the Java community as an expert on web application development, dependency injection, Java meta-programming, and development productivity. He is a frequent speaker at JavaOne, NoFluffJustStuff, ApacheCon and other conferences, and the author of “Tapestry in Action” for Manning
(covering Tapestry 3.0).

Howard is an independent consulting, specializing in Tapestry and Clojure training, mentoring and project
work. He lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife Suzanne, a novelist.

Comments on this page are now closed.


A. Ali Pasha
07/21/2010 7:21am PDT

Great use of video. That was the most captivating part of the show. Should have blown up a LED, that would have been fun.

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