There is an embedded controller in almost every electronics gadget you touch these days, so learning how to program one is an awesome skill to have. And the Arduino embedded controller used in this example is a fun way to learn programming because it is so quick and simple. The Software is free, there are tons of examples on-line, and the hardware –- an entire embedded controller — is only $25-$29! And you can do so many cool things with it – read temperature, control motors, blink lights, make a Pinewood Derby track timer for your local Cub Scout pack, etc. Try the simple step-by-step example below and you will be on your way!

Download software:

Cost: Free software; Hardware starting at $29 at Radio Shack

Instructions to setup software: look under “Getting Started” or Watch this Video

Hardware requirements: Arduino Uno (from Radio Shack or online)

Operating systems supported: Win, Mac, Linux

Difficulty level: 2 out of 5



This program shows you how to read a switch input and use it to control an LED.


1. Change the input pin number – move the switch to a different pin.

2. Make the light blink 8 times faster

3. Make the light blink slower

4. Make one button press turn light on, another turn the light off (advanced)

There are thousands of things you can do with an Arduino processor – do a YouTube or Google search and try one of those!


Arduino – go to Files >> Examples for lots of simple programs you can start with – LOTS of examples – Even more examples


Radio Shack has lots of books and experimenter kits to help you get started. Go to and search on Arduino.

Comments about “Arduino”

  1. ChemistryKing says:

    Easy to use and fun to program with the right hardware i suggest a starter kit for people with limited supplys

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  • 1. Safety. Do the following:
      a. Show your counselor your current, up-to-date Cyber Chip.
      b. Discuss first aid and prevention for the types of injuries or illnesses that could occur during programming activities, including repetitive stress injuries and eyestrain.

    2. History. Do the following:
      a. Give a brief history of programming, including at least three milestones related to the advancement or development of programming.
      b. Describe the evolution of programming methods and how they have improved over time.

    3. General knowledge. Do the following:
      a. Create a list of 10 popular programming languages in use today and describe which industry or industries they are primarily used in and why.
      b. Describe three different programmed devices you rely on every day.

    4. Intellectual property. Do the following:
      a. Explain how software patents and copyrights protect a programmer.
      b. Describe the difference between licensing and owning software.
      c. Describe the differences between freeware, open source, and commercial software, and why it is important to respect the terms of use of each.

    5. Projects. Do the following:
      a. With your counselor’s approval, choose a sample program. Then, as a minimum, modify the code or add a function or subprogram to it. Debug and demonstrate the modified program to your counselor.
      b. With your counselor’s approval, choose a second programming language and development environment, different from those used for requirement 5a and in a different industry from 5a. Then write, debug, and demonstrate a functioning program to your counselor, using that language and environment.
      c. With your counselor’s approval, choose a third programming language and development environment, different from those used for requirements 5a and 5b and in a different industry from 5a or 5b. Then write, debug, and demonstrate a functioning program to your counselor, using that language and environment.
      d. Explain how the programs you wrote for requirements 5a, 5b, and 5c process inputs, how they make decisions based on those inputs, and how they provide outputs based on the decision making.

    6. Careers. Find out about three career opportunities in programming. Pick one and find out the education, training, and experience required. Discuss this with your counselor and explain why this career might be of interest to you.

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