Did you know that microcontrollers are essential for developing projects in the field of robotics? Here, we explain this component, how it differs from microprocessors, and its characteristics in two development platforms widely used for teaching programming, Arduino and Micro: Bit. Check out!
What Is A Microcontroller?
A microcontroller is a particular type of integrated circuit that can be programmed to perform specific functions – almost like a small computer. These devices are commonly used to control things from information passed to them – in a robot, for example, the microcontroller can turn a motor on or off as soon as it receives a command from a keyboard or controller.
Microcontrollers are exciting choices when you want to capture information about the external world, verifying and storing data about things like air humidity, the incidence of light, or the environment’s temperature, for example. Through programming, it is possible to process this data and establish an action in response, such as turning on lights or moving a device.
Microcontrollers are also very cost-effective. Its consumption is deficient, in the milliwatt range, and the device can go into sleep or wait for mode while waiting to be interrupted by an external event, such as pressing a key. In this waiting state, consumption is even lower, around nanowatts, which makes it a differential for projects that depend on low energy consumption.
Created in 2005 by a group of researchers, Arduino is considered a cheap, functional, and easy-to-program device, ideal for students interested in the universe of programming or makers who are developing their projects. The device follows the concept of free hardware, which means that it can be assembled, modified, or customized by its users.
The Arduino also acts like a small computer, interpreting the inputs and controlling the outputs to create an automatic system. Program it in an Integrated Development Environment, popularly known by the acronym IDE for it to work.
What Is Arduino Used For In Robotics?
One plate and countless possibilities! Arduino is a platform that, since its development a little over ten years ago, has brought the field of robotics closer to students and artists, curious and self-taught in the world of codes. The small plaque brings with it the responsibility of transforming knowledge in this area into an accessible and fertile field, shaping dreams and projects, and innovating more and more. But despite its success, what is Arduino, and what can you do with it? We answer these and other questions for you. Check out!
What Is Arduino?
Arduino is a prototyping platform created in 2005 in Italy by Massimo Bansi, with the support of his collaborators David Cuartillas, Tom Igor, Gianluca Martino, and David Mallis. The board was conceived with educational proposals and, therefore, aimed to combine low price, functionality, and ease of programming, characteristics that make the equipment accessible to students, designers, artists, and even people curious about the universe of robotics.
One of its most exciting attributes is that Arduino is an open-source electronics platform; it can be easily assembled, modified, customized, and programmed. It consists of an 8-bit Atmel microcontroller, digital and analog input, output pins that allow connection to computers and IDE programs, and a USB port. Regarding its software, Arduino uses the C and CC+ languages in its codes.
What Can You Do With Arduino?
With creativity and dedication, Arduino offers an endless list of possibilities since, with the correct code for its objectives, it is possible to make the board automate the most diverse processes and objects – from houses and cars to toys and new gadgets. It is noteworthy that the most straightforward boards do not have many network resources, but when combined with other Arduino boards, they increase their functionality and create extensions called shields.
Due to its sensors, the platform can also easily interact with the environment and surroundings, controlling lights and motors, for example. The developed projects can be autonomous or communicate directly with a computer to perform a specific task.
How Is This Platform Programmed?
As we mentioned, programming an Arduino platform is extremely simple! To activate its numerous functionalities, connect it to your computer through the USB port and, in the sequence, use an IDE program to write the appropriate code for the objectives of your project. The official Arduino website allows you to download the software for free, provide program support, find any errors in your code, and transfer all data to the platform.
Where Can I Buy An Arduino?
It is possible to find a series of boards with different characteristics and components in the market and the brand’s official store. To decide which one to buy, you need to research their features and understand which of their specificities are ideal and fit with your projects or studies.
When programmed, the Arduino can be used independently and allows the programmer to control a robot or turn on and off the lighting in a room, for example. One of Arduino’s differentials is its different modules, which can be interconnected to expand the possibilities even more!
Launched a few years ago, Micro: bit is a technology considered innovative for teaching programming, especially for children and teenagers. The device is the result of an initiative by the BBC, a British broadcaster that for years has been dedicated to providing greater access to information technology and programming learning. The plaque was born that surprised everyone from its partnership with large technology companies.
Small in size, the Micro: bit is smaller than a credit card. Its goal is to be an easy, fast, and simple platform to program on – features that allow it to be used in classrooms worldwide.