Arduino is an open-source prototyping platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software. Arduino provides an open-source and easy-to-use programming tool, for writing code and uploading it to your board. It is often referred to as the Arduino IDE (Integrated Development Environment).
The Arduino boards are able to read inputs - light, proximity or air quality on a sensor, or an SMS or Twitter message - and turn it into an output - activating a motor, turning on a light, publishing content online or trigger external events. You can tell your board what to do by writing code and uploading it to the microcontroller on it using the Arduino programming language (based on Wiring), and the Arduino Software (IDE), based on Processing.
Over the years Arduino has powered thousands of projects. Arduino has gathered around a community where beginners and experts from around the world share ideas, knowledge and their collective experience. There are thousands of makers, students, artists, designers, programmers, researchers, professionals and hobbyists worldwide who use Arduino for learning, prototyping, and finished professional work production.
Arduino was born at the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea IDII from the Wiring project as an easy tool for fast prototyping, aimed at students without a background in electronics and programming. The main objective of both projects is to make the process of working with technology and electronics easier. The Arduino board has evolved to adapt to new needs ranging from simple 8-bit boards to products ready for IoT applications. All Arduino boards are completely open-source, empowering users to build them independently and eventually adapt them to their particular needs. The software is open-source, and it is growing through the contributions of developers and the Arduino community worldwide.
There have been many similar projects, but none of them succeeded as well as Arduino has, due to how easy it is to use the software, and the affordability of the hardware. The Arduino software is easy-to-use for beginners, yet flexible enough for advanced users needs. It runs on Mac, Windows, and Linux.
Arduino boards are relatively inexpensive compared to other microcontroller platforms, ranging from 8-bit microcontrollers to IoT applications.
The Arduino Software (IDE) is easy-to-use for beginners, yet flexible enough for advanced users. For educators, it's conveniently based on the Processing programming environment, students learning to program in Processing will be familiar with how the Arduino IDE works easily transferring their knowledge.
The Arduino Software (IDE) runs on Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux operating systems.
The Arduino software is published as open source tools, available for contribution by programmers worldwide. The language can be extended through C/C++ libraries and ported to other hardware platforms.