Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Blum #6 Arduino Video Tutorial & Humboldt Microcontrollers Group Meeting

Tonight's post is a quick look at the #6 Arduino video tutorial from Jeremy Blum, which is the main topic for the Humboldt Microcontrollers Group meeting this Thursday, June 26.

The #6 video tutorial, 'Serial and Processing' takes a look at how to use an Arduino for communicating with the computer via a serial connection and using a programming language called Processing to visualize information from an Arduino on your computer screen.

For the serial communication between the Arduino Uno and the computer, the 0 RX (receive) pin and the 1 TX (transmit) pin on the Arduino are used. You connect the Arduino to your computer via a USB cable, which has 4 pins in it. One is power and one is ground. The other two are the serial transmit and receive pins. The USB transmit pin from the computer connects with the receive (RX) pin on the Arduino, and the computer's USB receive pin connects to the Arduino transmit (TX) pin.

Jeremy runs through a number of Arduino programming examples for learning how to use the serial communication features. If you go through the #6 Blum video and feel you still want a little more background on serial communication with Arduinos, here are three other resources to look at:
  1. The Arduino.cc reference page for serial communications
  2. An Arduino tutorial from Ladyada about serial communications
  3. A guide from Instructables on 'Serial Communications with Arduino'
After he does the serial communications exercises, Jeremy covers a little bit about the programming language Processing. You start out by going to the website for Processing. The home webpage for Processing says it's an open source language that:
"has promoted software literacy within the visual arts and visual literacy within technology. Initially created to serve as a software sketchbook and to teach computer programming fundamentals within a visual context, Processing evolved into a development tool for professionals...there are tens of thousands of students, artists, designers, researchers, and hobbyists who use Processing for learning, prototyping, and production."
In addition to the presentation and exercises with Processing that Jeremy Blum has for you in the video, if you want a better understanding of the language, you can spend some time going through some of the tutorials on the Processing website. If those tutorials aren't your cup of tea, take a look at these resources for learning the basics of Processing:
  1. The intro page from Arduino.cc for the Processing language
  2. A SparkFun intro called "Connecting Arduino to Processing"
  3. An Instructables session on "How to control LED's with Processing and Arduino"
Mark your calendar for this Thursday, and plan to be at 1385 8th Street, Arcata, California, from 6 to 8 PM for the Humboldt Microcontrollers Group meeting!


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