Arduino is embedded electronics platform which is easy to use and develop prototypes and concept implementations. It is aimed at both novice and advanced users by providing simple interface and wide range of documentation and exemplar hardware extensions and software components. Development is centered around microcontroller programming which was conceived in such a way to be accessible users with different level of proficiency.
There is a large user base and great community of the developers. From toy projects to scientific research, Arduino reliably powers and supports creator ideas. Students, hobbyists, artists, engineers and scientists share knowledge and experience of using Arduino. It started as a project aimed at students with little or no prior knowledge of programming. But it turned out to be interesting to much wider audience. This prompted board evolution which is reflected in many reiterations of the initial design and multiple form factors available.
Illustration 1: Arduino Uno development board
Depending on the complexity of the project and proficiency of the user, there is a wide range of products to choose from. Base boards include Uno and Robot entry level boards, Mega, Zero and Duo boards with enhanced features, Arduino Ethernet aimed at Internet of Things projects, Gemma for Wearables and Materia 101 for 3D printing projects. Aside from the selection of base boards, there is an rich ecosystem of extensions called shields which fill out gaps in functionality potentially encountered while using base system.
Illustration 2: Arduino Open-Source Community logo
Key benefits of Arduino are cost efficiency, cross-platform development process compatibility, good integrated development environment, openness and extensibility of the software and hardware. There is stable support for system images, system software components, software packages and development tools. Even more importantly, user can find lots of documentation online, as well as thriving communities of developers as well as books, plethora of source code examples and entire projects.