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The JOTA Arduino Project

Arduino is an open-source electronics platform based on low cost and easy-to-use hardware and software. It's intended for anyone making interactive projects. Arduino interacts with the outside world by receiving inputs from sensors attached to its input pins. It affects its surroundings by controlling lights, motors, and other actuators connected to its output pins.

During 2015 the design of the next electronics project took a step in a new and exciting direction. Instead of a simple circuit, what if we had a computer? With a tiny budget in mind we started researching. The Arduino Nano was inexpensive and a simple circuit could be addded with some input and output devices.

A design with LEDs and a speaker for output, along with a switch, potentiometer and light dependant resistor for inputs was put together.

Once the hardware was decided, next came the software. Since most scouts would not necesarily be progamming the device a multi-stage program that demonstrated the different features was put together by combining many different examples.

The JOTArduino was designed to be compatible with the Power House Museum Thinker1 project. This was a simple design, aimed at school students who would learn to program it in a lab environment. This gave us access to a wide range of sample programs and tutorials.

To further reduce the cost, a new variant of the Arduino was chosen, the Arduino Nano. Find out more about the Arduino Nano.

Construction

These are photos showing the assembly of the board. These are an earlier version where the Arduino Nano was soldered to the circuit board, in the final version the Nano is plugged into a socket.