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It may be small, but the Arduino is having a huge impact on the maker movement. This microcontroller makes it possible for creative people to turn their ideas for interactive projects into reality -- from simple LED displays to responsive robots and Twitter-enabled appliances.
All that's needed is a computer, a DIY imagination, and -- for the uninitiated -- a guide on how to get started. Enter "Arduino Workshop" from No Starch Press. The US$29.95, 392-page book by John Boxall offers a soup-to-nuts tutorial. The hands-on book is written to help readers design and build interactive electronics within the first few chapters. As the book progresses, the projects build on the basics. By the end of the book readers will be making complex projects like a motorized remote-control tank.
The book also digs into basic electronics and the Arduino's sensors, motors, displays, and other popular add-ons. Readers will learn about these components by using them to build projects like:
°A digital thermometer that displays temperature changes on an LCD;
° A GPS logger that records travel data for display on Google Maps;
° A tester that checks the voltage of batteries;
° A keypad-controlled lock that requires a secret code to open;
° An electronic version of the classic six-sided die.
For nearly two decades, Australia-based Boxall has worked in electronics, mobile communications, and information technology. In recent years, he has focused on educating fellow gadget geeks on best practices for using the Arduino boards and software. A robotics fan, Boxall shares his insights, projects, tutorials, tips, and techniques at www.tronixstuff.com. "Arduino Workshop" (http://tinyurl.com/buyon24) is his first book.