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Videos / History and Evolution of Arduino

So, after almost a week of researching, cross-referencing and image hunting, I’m excited to show you guys my take on the history of Arduino, and the evolution of the Arduino hardware.

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Hey, how are you going, my name is Sam from Core Electronics and today I want to have a bit of a chat about the history of Arduino.

So over the last couple of weeks I've been working on finding out all about Arduino, where all the board origins are from, how that's developed over time, and taking a look at how the development of Arduino as a brand and a platform has affected and influenced and been influenced by you know the maker community and the maker revolution that we know and love today. So I have put together a sweet little poster yeah it is A3 sized, it looks a little small that but it's nice, it's big, it's got cool pictures and I'm going to make sure I position that so everyone can see it well. So the history of Arduino where did it start and what is it today and everything in between.

So if you're not sure, Arduino was founded in 2003 Arduino it begins that point right there and it was in Italy so there was a guy called Massimo Banzi who was a Banzi...Banzeee? He was Italian, his name was Massimo and he founded Arduino, he was a professor or teacher at the let me make sure I pronounce this right, the interaction design Institute IVRIA, I think that's the correct pronunciation and the Italians watching feel free to comment below and correct me on my probably terrible pronunciation, I'm sorry, but it was founded there and the name was is found in a local pub, where else, and it was a place near the Design School you know sort of innovative that school for technology and you know electronics and programming things like that and they would go there and talk about their ideas and so it was called the "Bar di Re Arduino"... close enough!

So we have Arduino in 2003, which is pretty cool, now Massimo Banzi you wanted to create a platform for his students to be able to get stuck into microcontrollers without having to pay ridiculous costs for their basic development platforms and that really steep learning curve that was associated at the time, you know nowadays every second product that's been released is saying "Are you sick of the high cost to get learning with this, or you're having to learn this?" and it's a bit of an exaggeration but back then it was especially true it was really tricky to get stuck into microcontrollers from, you know, from a new, new perspective if you haven't done it before. So that's the goal, so 2003 we have that, nothing in 2004 they're just working on stuff, all right they're working some stuff out, then the Arduino IDE comes into play in 2005, along with the first board.

So the IDE is built on a software project by one of Massimo's students, called Hernando Baragon, that's a very Australian pronunciation of that name, anyway Hernando, yeah was creating this software framework so that people could do away with all the pin, you know, direct pin manipulation all the things that can be daunting at first and make it really easy to read and to write and that's where we get, you know, the now venerable digital read digital write, serial... you know all those functions from. They came from Wiring, so Massimo saw this functionality, saw his vision for the board, and wanted to bring them together now there's a lot of controversy surrounding the Arduino brand, particularly in the last couple of years, we are aware of this if you've read up about it, fantastic. I'm not going into this today this isn't an Arduino versus Genuino debate or discussion, we're just talking about how Arduino, what it is today, came into being so I've mentioned it but we're not going into detail.

So the very first boards were released in 2005 along with the IDE, we've got the serial, very first Arduino board it doesn't even have a USB, I've got an Arduino board here I'll bring some of these in so that you can maybe see them I've got a few different ones here, the Arduino Uno is probably the most well known Arduino board we have today and it's Ancestor is the Serial, it doesn't even have a USB port, it had a serial port which is almost obsolete nowadays and was designed as a through-hole component kit, that very same year we have the USB, and that was that was truly a kit form of the first one to have USB functionality. So all of these boards here are sort of the predecessors to the Uno, so we will skip over it a bit, so now in 2006 still in the maker boards, I have classified all these as Maker Boards, they are designed for people who are, you know, they're interested, hobbyists, makers, DIYers. I'm not saying that they're not powerful and not really cool tools, but they're designed for makers. And there is a bit of cross over you know education obviously use a lot of Arduino Uno's, things like that, but they're specifically targeted at their.

So we've got the NGextreme, 2006 we go from the ATmega8 chip to the ATmega168 which doubles the available memory, then in the next year we've got the lily pad, which is cool, we'll get to wearables in a moment. I've also got the Decimila my pronunciation is terrible I'm just going with decimala, then next up in 2008, the Duemilanove, oh that's close enough, which is cool, and it was probably the most Arduino Uno-like Arduino board we have before the Uno. And in 2008 we've also got the ATmega328 coming into play which further doubles the memory, it's the one we still use today for the Uno boards you can see maybe can't see it's very small but it's an ATmega328, which is used everywhere, really cool. So they've got this love going on for Atmel, there's a partnership.

We've also got the Pro, designed for semi permanent installations co-designed with SparkFun, didn't really take off, but lead to the Pro Mini which is still used, a pretty cool bit of gear, so it does away with some of the bulkier, you know, hardware and things like that. Then we've got the Nano, and the pro mini also released in 2008 designed as smaller form factors I've got a Mini here you can see how small it is versus the Uno, very cool, so you actually need a FTDI chip to program this doesn't have a USB functionally straight on there's just a small surface mount version of the ATmega328, we skip forward a bit we've got the Mega in 2009 which introduces this much larger form factor, still designed to be pin compatible for the first half with the Uno, you can see that sort of fit, there, but the Mega is based on the ATmega 1280 chip we have few iterations of that, 2560 comes in 2010 this is a big year for Arduino, Mega 2560 is still available and again that changes from the 1280 chipset to these to the current 2560 chipset which doubles the memory again, they like doubling the memory, but the Uno comes out as well so there are two fantastic boards which are still available today in their sort of the pinnacle of maker you know boards designed for makers because they just work so well.

We've got the current Arduino Rev 3, which has some minor tweaks to the board, pretty much 2010 Arduino Uno, boom! Here we are. We've got the Leonardo, the Mega ADK coming out after that and then the Due and the Micro. Now the Due, I've got a Due here, D U E, pretty cool board because it's the first Arduino board to use a 32-bit processor, so Arduino Boards up until here were based on Atmel AVR 8 chips which are 8-bit microcontrollers, basically, you know, they've got 8-bit data buses things like that so there's a limitation there and you'll know that most of them are clocked in at 8 or 16 megahertz, depending on the crystal that is being used. But lo-and-behold the Arduino Due bumps that up it's got an ARM-cortex microcontroller on board it's got heaps more stuff, it's got more hardware it's got more memory it's got you know it's got all this cool stuff and this is a new era for Arduino boards which I feel gives birth to all of the other boards you see up here which is also based on 32-bit architecture.

So that is that's maker boards that are where we get to and there are no new maker boards, well that I have classed as Maker boards released after 2012 onwards, for a reason! The Due, the Mega 2560, the Arduino Uno, the Leonardo they're all great boards there's no need to upgrade and there's no need for them to be superseded by anything, everyone still uses and love the Arduino Uno, for a reason: if it ain't broken don't fix it!

So that's the Maker, so affordable boards that are community driven, they're modular and adaptable that's the whole purpose. So we come to wearables now I mentioned back in 2007, the lilypad was released and this was a collaboration between SparkFun who we now know and love and Arduino it's got a purple board, that's why it's a little bit different but it was based on the ATmega168 chip because that was the time period then the Triassic period, perhaps and, you know it's really really interesting because it is a wearable board you can see rather than header Pins it's got all is you know sort of circular petal shaped lily pad so that's the digit petal shaped holes which are designed for people to use Sewable technology so it's released in 2007 but you've got a bit of a lull here until 2012 where everyone's like: "Oh, wearables are actually cool! Maybe we should make some wearable stuff and then SparkFun was like: "Cool well we should redesign the lily pad boards make it easier to use". Then that just snowballs and now you've got wearable doing this huge thing, blending IoT technology and you know ridiculously small form-factor chips and boards which are cool.

2012, you know, you've got the lily pad simple, pretty much a dulled down version of the original, the snap which just uses press studs for the connectors, really really cool, and the USB on-board USB functionality which is sweet and that's wearables obviously up until 2017 where we've got this new tube just released I haven't even had a chance to play around with this yet that's on my to-do list very shortly have a look, evaluate it and build something cool with it it is a fusion of wearable and our technology it's so small it's about three centimeters in diameter I'd say and it's based on a Nordic chip on here which uses Bluetooth Smart, the latest Bluetooth le functionality on it it's got this strange sort of pins where they're not completely sewable, they're designed to sit flush these sort of pads are normally designed to sit flush, this sort of has a normally designed to be soldered onto a board as a surface mount module but you've got this coin cell battery holder underneath, so it's going to be interesting to see how people use this and it hasn't even been out long enough for us to take a look at that but look color me intrigued I can't wait to see what people build with this neat little board but I feel like the stumbling block for a lot of people is definitely going to be connecting up to the board itself so we will wait and see, but that's Wearables!

Now the IoT game, Internet of Things, everyone knows and loves and it begins for Arduino in 2010 with the Arduino Theo what you've never heard of the Theo, come on now it's not a super common board it was released, designed for you know portable battery-powered projects, and starts breaking into the idea of connecting to wireless networks in an all-in-one board solution, but you know it wasn't it wasn't super popular certainly it's no Arduino Uno, but then in the next year 2011, the Arduino Ethernet was brought about and that's still around pretty much hey we've got a great little board I'd we know you know let's whack an Ethernet port on that and some hardware functionality sounds good heaps of people wanting to do that to smart home technology and things like that so it's now just a little easier you don't need a shield or an add-on board it's just all on the one board, which is pretty cool.

And then we've got we skipped forward here we've got the first Arduino day on the 29th of the 3rd, 2014 which is pretty cool Arduino gets their own day that's 2014, and then sort of nothing in the IoT realm. Now there are a few reasons why if you look back at 2010 and 2011, cellular networks we were still in some people still had 2G networks you know on their phones going on 3G was just a thing that it was like yeah cool it's fast data there wasn't the infrastructure that we have today and only seems like yesterday that was 2011, been in fact that was well 2010 when the video was released is almost coming up on eight years ago now. But now in 2016 IoT sphere takes off, it's huge everyone wants to build an IoT device or an IoT projects. Then we've got there Arduino Uno Wi-Fi, same concepts again let's take an Uno and put Wi-Fi on it, we've got the MKR Zero, the MKR1000 these are boards that had a separate form factor, designed to have in-built cellular technology they use these are these modules here rather than putting everything's directly onto the board, which is pretty cool. So they are using, doesn't have the chip name on that but it's based are still using at mill processor so it's an ATmega, that's my name, based micro controller, that so it's still in that same family but you know all 32-bit pretty much stuff here except for you know Wi-Fi. You know the MRK 0 just a swings down zero then this year we've got the Primo haha it looks like it should be Prime-o actually PreeMoe, don't make my mistake if you watch any Michaels video here's great with Italian pronunciation. Leave some comments on his videos and ask him on how to pronounce things here's all over it he corrects me all the time. This looks like an Uno, it's got the same form factor, that same pin header you know formation so that can still work with shields and all of these things hardware but it is just a big version the big brother of the Primo core that I had here. It's got a built-in NFC technology built-in Bluetooth you know infrared receivers and transmitters USB all this really cool stuff and it's a great board along with the MKR Fox, which I don't think is quite released yet we don't have one yet but based your own using you know some new, new wireless network technologies similar to Lora, which is just cool, so keep an eye on that.

Now jump back down to Maker, real quick because you know as we all know Arduino splits here in 2015 becomes Genuino and Arduino. Arduino.cc and Arduino.org then 2017 they reunited they made up and all is well so there's scattershot of boards from both companies trying to you know to compete in different sectors and now they've come back together and makes it so much easier for us as makers and hobbyists. So that's IoT, on to educational so an educational board is designed to be classroom friendly something teachers can pick up get you know to get working really quick then teach that students on how to use and there's not a huge amount of Arduino educational boards as you'll see on my beautiful poster here. You've got the Esplora in 2012, the Robot in 2013 and that's about it and that's because as I said sort of you know touched on before all of the other boards can be used in an educational context the Uno comes in all sorts of kids are educators in particular love the SparkFun inventors kit really cool bit of gear we use it here in our workshops and so the Uno is an educational board but I'd say that it's more of a maker board because these two have a few things in particular, which I want to highlight. So the educational boards for one have built-in controls, you look at the explorer and the robot and they're both got buttons and sliders and lights and the screens already soldered onto the board so you don't need to be a hardware wizard to get set up with them you simply plug them in and do some do cool stuff straight away that's the idea that classroom friendly, they're modern you know for stem based learning and the hands-on a really intuitive. So that is that's education the other cool thing 2016 we had to create.arduino.cc, the subdomain of Arduino.CC which is an online editor and online IDE which is pretty cool actually it still has all the serial functionality, functionality so there's a really cool low-level stuff going on behind the scenes that you can just plug the board in and your web browser can display serial information I think that's awesome but the idea is that everything is cloud-based you know there's no more local storage of your sketches there's no more, you know am I missing the library on this computer versus that computer, it's just all in there, very very cool.

Now industrial this is where things get a little bit meatier not to the faint of heart these boards, First breaks onto the scene in 2013 with the Arduino Yun and then in 2015-2016 we've got the Tian, The Zero, the industrial 101 and 101. So I've grouped the Genuino and Arduino boards all together just as a collection now they're one thing it's a lot easier and these boards all fulfill a slightly different purpose, geared towards industrial use, not, you know engineers that are employed by industries are going to create products using low level you know really low-level tech starting from the ground up but if you're a designer you know industrial designer you've got an idea for how you want to revolutionize some form of a production line, and it's going to be a really big stumbling block both for knowledge and budget and time to take those lower level tools and just create something to rapidly prototype. So the idea is you can take these boards they've got heaps of power, heaps of functionality, there are a really modern microcontroller or microprocessor platform, and you can just get started with the same easy to use Arduino functionality that everyone else enjoys and loves, just really cool. Take the, you know, the Tian for example I'm sure that's not how it's pronounced but deal with it on board that you've got two co-processors one actually in a microcontroller that's you know it's designed for working as you would an Arduino and then you've got this separate microprocessor which is a little bit more like a Raspberry Pi, where this small computer in a module, about the same size as the one on the Yun they're designed to run Linux so it's got all this extra functionality of like the best of both worlds with the PI and the Uno and most users aren't going to see that and immediately have a project idea, but for people in industry you know commercial design applications it allows them to really easily create rapid prototypes for new designs which are pretty cool.

So that's all the different types of boards and it's really interesting I guess the one thing I would leave with you is looking at the way the Arduino ecosystem has developed so obviously put the maker interest in the early 2000s where some people are still on dial-up, and we're like what is the internet, you've got their maker boards and then were like okay cool cool cool we've got you know sewable thread, where we're trying to make classrooms fun, let's introduce some wearables. Alright you've got the IoT, which is like our internet actually a thing that we can use for stuff other than just watching cat videos, let's make some cool boards for that you've got education where, you know the curriculum is changing, teachers want to be in front of everyone else to you know to teach their kids all about robotics, electronic, stem learning steam based curriculum and then industrial is like, whoa everything is so much cheaper than it used to be let's take Arduino and make it really powerful and awesome for everyone's use and they are I guess the five families or the five spheres of Arduino and where it is today which is super cool.

Now this poster, I've got a link to a smaller version at 1280 pixel wide version here that's the screenshot there and then there's also a link to the full a3 size and you're more than welcome to download that get it printed out at your local, you know wherever you have access to an a3 color printer, you can print that out, stick it on your workshop, stick it in your bedroom we'd love to see some pictures of you know people that have printed this out and yeah I'm really stoked on it and I just wanted to share a bit about my journey of learning where Arduino has come from right at the grass roots over in Italy through to the huge maker wide you know make almost a household brand that it is today.

So that's all, for now, guys you just heard of the name Arduino unlikely but still can happen to check out some of our other tutorials, the Arduino Workshop is an online course that we've created all freely available for you guys, and check out some of that more you know more juicy Arduino content and if you've got questions and you have put them in the comments below get the conversation started. See you guys!