I come to praise Arduino

If you know your Julius Caesar, you may guess where this is going.  Arduinos can seriously damage your start-up and your investors.  But before we talk about that let me start by saying that I love Arduinos.  I use them around the house in all sort of projects; they water my strawberries, and automate all sorts of things which most people wouldn’t ever think need automating. I’ve recently been inspired by Kurt Grandis’ project using video recognition and a water gun to track and deter squirrels – I’ve plans to use that as the basis of a robot to stop the local wildlife stealing our figs and apricots.  Without Arduinos I’d never embark on some of the projects that eat up my free time.

I also love the innovation they enable.  They underpin much of electronics design within the Maker community, letting makers accomplish projects that they would never have dreamt of starting without the benefit of the breadth of shared expertise which the community generates.  The innovation of these developers has reenergised a love for making things for the sheer sake of it – because they can be made. For those of us who grew up with tinkering, frequenting the Tandys and Henry’s of this world, the Arduino and Raspberry Pi have brought back and re-energised a hobbyist love of design which most of my engineering generation thought had permanently died with the advent of mass market consumer electronics.

Not only that, they’ve helped the growth of crowdfunded hardware projects.  Over the past few years Indiegogo and Kickstarter have blossomed, with all kinds of innovative concepts raising hundreds of millions of dollars of support from funders.  Many of the prototypes for these developments only happened because they were based on Arduinos.  And the process is self-fulfilling, as projects such as the RFduinoQduino, Neutrino, Microduino, Piccolino, Attoduino, BLEduino, Garagino, Superduino, Tinyduino and others have developed ever more specialised variants to feed future generations of products.

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