Arduino is an open-source learning, prototyping and software development platform. It is based on low cost easy to use hardware that can be interafaced with simple components such as switches and LED's through to more complex sensors that use digital communications to talk to the Arduino board.
There is an Arduino website that has a lot of useful information about the Arduino Platform
For more details about the people behind the Arduino and the name then check out the wikipedia.org link below.
Due to trademark issues as outlined in the Wikipedia article the boards are labelled differently depending on which country the boards are sold. For boards in the US the Arduino name is used. For boards outside the US they are being called Genuino. There are many Arduino clone boards available which have a variety of names.
The Arduino board has a range of Inputs and Outputs. We have Digital and Analog Inputs and Outputs. Some of this digital outputs support PWM (Pulse Width Modulation). There are 6 Analog Input / Output Pins which support 10 bit sample resolution which means that 0 to 5V is tranlated to a value between 0 and 1023. The board also supports I2C and SPI digital communications.
For more information on Arduino hardware click on the link below
To hookup components to the Arduino board it can be as simple as wiring directly to the board or using hookup wires and breadboards. Below we have an Arduino with hookup wires and a breadboard with a BME280 breakout board mounted on it.
To write the code for the Arduino board we use the IDE (Integrated Development Environment) software that is available for Windows / Mac or Linux. The IDE compiler supports the C and C++ language.
Using the Arduino IDE we write the code that will be compiled and uploaded to the Arduino board. If there are errors in the code then these will be displayed at the bottom of the IDE when you click on the verify button. If the code verifies successfully we then click on the Compile / Upload button to transfer the code to the Arduino board.
After compiling the code and uploading the code to the Arduino we can display the result. One way is to display the results using the console. This is useful for testing. We could also display the results on a LCD display. Or it could be as simple as turning on and off and LED.
We have a range of Hookup guides and connecting a range of sensors and devices to the Arduino. These guides include wiring and hookup diagrams as well as sample code to make it all work.