It’s Xmas time, and what better time to hole up inside and hack around with a fun “toy” like the Arduino? Tinkering is the name of the game, and this miniscule board affords budding electronics enthusiasts an inexpensive entry into the work of physical computing.
Here’s the blurb from the Arduino website:
The Uno is a microcontroller board based on the ATmega328P. It has 14 digital input/output pins (of which 6 can be used as PWM outputs), 6 analog inputs, a 16 MHz quartz crystal, a USB connection, a power jack, an ICSP header and a reset button. It contains everything needed to support the microcontroller; simply connect it to a computer with a USB cable or power it with a AC-to-DC adapter or battery to get started.. You can tinker with your UNO without worrying too much about doing something wrong, worst case scenario you can replace the chip for a few dollars and start over again.
I picked the UNO up when a friend tipped me off that a kit containing an UNO clone (The hardware spec is open source) plus a handful of useful components for breadboarding simple circuits could be had for the princely sum of 3750 yen (32 USD, 21 GBP as of 2015-12-29.) Not half bad for less than the price of a video game or Lego set these days!