What is a Microcontroller?
A microcontroller by definition is a computer present in a single integrated circuit which is dedicated to perform one task and execute one specific application. It contains memory, programmable input/output peripherals as well as a processor. Ultimately it is an electronic component that acts kind of like a brain. The microcontroller takes in electrical signals and makes decisions based on the signals received. The majority of programmable microcontrollers used today are embedded in other products or machinery. Microcontrollers can be sophisticated, while others may have minimal requirements for memory and a low software complexity. Microcontrollers can be seen in phones, automobiles and household appliances or computer systems.
Why do you need a Microcontroller?
Until recently it was not worthwhile to embed a microcontroller in anything but thanks to the low prices of microcontrollers today, the world is full of cheap automatic devices and thousands of smart appliances. It is more important than ever to understand what microcontrollers are so you can implement them into your products. The vastness of different microcontrollers can be over whelming since there are many different types of microcontrollers and even more programs created for their use. You will find, however, that they are all somewhat the same. So if you learn how to properly use one then you will be able to use them all.
What Microcrontroller do we recommend?
The simplest and fastest way to learn is by getting an Arduino board. The Arduino board was designed to make it easy for non-technical people to make interactive devices. Thanks to its simple user experience, Arduino is used in thousands of different projects and applications. The Arduino software is easy enough for beginners, yet flexible enough for an advanced users. It runs on the majority of popular operating systems including Mac, Windows, and Linux.
- Microcontroller board based on the ATmega328 (datasheet)
- 14 digital input/output pins
- 16 MHz crystal oscillator
- USB connection
- $20 on Amazon
How do I get more information about Micontrollers?
Lime Design hosts the Fort Lauderdale Arduino Club right here in our office every Tuesday from 6:00 to 9:00 pm. Club meetings are open to everyone so bring your Arduino projects, parts, problems, questions, suggestions, inspiration, and ideas. We can provide soldering irons, tools, work space, and guidance as needed. This is intended to be an “Open Lab” experience where we get together to work, learn, make, and socialize. Each week you’ll have opportunities for show-and-tell, so bring what you are working on and join us.