Getting Started with Arduino

By | November 7, 2010

This is becoming a new obsession…

I first saw these when I was doing research on the Perspective Aerial quad-copter. This little board is an open source microcontroller (with 14 digital input/outputs and 6 analog inputs) that is programmed via USB. Complete, assembled boards can be found on eBay for about $30. Just add a power supply or battery, connect whatever you want it to sense and/or control and write code to make it function however you want. Some people are making robots, some are making UAVs and others are making cool lighting effects. The possibilities are wide open.

I received an Arduino Duemilanove a few days ago, and have done some of the basic tutorial projects I’ve found online. I have a few more serious projects in mind though… One I’m getting stared with is a reproduction of a visual metronome I saw several years back in a Bjork video.

The device in the animated image above is a Midi Metronome that costs about $400 and is basically impossible to find in any music store. My goal is to make a more functional DIY version, specifically suited to jamming with live musicians – for under $75.

My first hardware draft of the Visual Metronome “ala Bjork.”

I’ve got the arduino essentially wired up on a breadboard, at least enough to experiment for now. In the end I’ll need some fancy multiplexing ICs to drive the LEDs, and possibly an additional circuit for a stable clock pulse. The real trick will be writing the code… something I haven’t even thought about since the 80’s!  I’m determined to make it work though – and I’m having a lot of fun.