I get asked this question a lot, like A LOT, A LOT!
Ready for the answer?
Drum role please...
It's actually easier to answer what you CAN'T do with Arduino!
Yup, its just one of those tools that is just so diverse, it can be used in just about anything.
Think of it like the salt and pepper of electronics, it goes on everything!
But there are things which it is just not well suited for.
Lets lay the framework though, because over time Arduino has released some pretty awesome boards which have some stunning capabilities.
So for this purposes of this blog post, when I say Arduino, I am referring to boards like the Arduino Uno (left photo), Nano (right photo) as these are hands down the most common boards out there.
Photos from Arduino.cc
OK back to what you CAN'T do with Arduino.
The easiest way to figure out if your idea is suited for Arduino or not is to ask yourself just one question.
Does it need to do PC type things?
If it does, then Arduino is NOT going to work in that application.
Let me explain...
I have a buddy who just started getting into mining virtual coins (bitcoin and doge coin).
WARNING... MASSIVE OVER SIMPLIFICATION COMING!
If you're not familiar with what this is, its boils down to trading electricity for money.
Using a PC you would query a website for a very, very, very long and complicated math equation.
Then you run a specialized program on your PC to solve the equation.
Once it does you are left with a small fraction of a virtual coin which is worth some amount of real money.
Think of it like physically digging through a giant pile of dirt looking for small flakes of gold.
You're doing the same thing with your PC and some math instead of a shovel and then sifting through it for gold.
This is a prime example of what you CAN'T do with Arduino.
Arduino can play a critical role in your virtual mining operation. Ready?
You see, part of the process of mining for bitcoin is that your PC will get VERY, VERY HOT!
It's just the nature of the beast, your PC needs to work very hard to solve the complex equation.
As its solving the equation, the internal chips get hot, VERY HOT!
Wouldn't it be awesome to take some sort of action once your PC gets too hot?
You'd be able to turn on a few fans, maybe turn on a water cooling system for the PC itself, then notify you via text message, horns, BIG flashing lights?
Well... this is an example of what you CAN do with Arduino!
You see, Arduino type boards are perfect for doing two things (generally speaking).
First, It's Perfect For Environmental Monitoring.
In the example I gave above, this would mean monitoring the PC for its temperature.
To do this you would simply need some sort of temperature sensor which is near your PC.
The Arduino's job would be to sit and sample that temperature sensor forever and ever and ever and... EVER!
Second, Taking Some Action!
This actually breaks down into two separate forms.
Either electrically or PHYSICALLY!
When I say taking electrical action, I'm referring to sending you a text message.
You could do this by adding a simple Wifi module to your Arduino which then is able to speak over the interwebs to notify you via text message that your machine is HOT!
Now... when I say Physically, I'm referring to turning on a fan, water pump, lights and giant buzzer.
You would do this with some external hardware.
Pretty simple right?
Well, that's it, that's how to easily tell what you CAN and CAN'T do with Arduino.
I hope that you have gotten a lot out of this and that you can now easily tell if Arduino is right for you!
If you are looking to get started with Arduino OR are a seasoned pro and need a reliable and easy to use development platform, I'd like to invite you to come check out our entire line of Arduino Uno and Nano based shields.
If you have some electronics experience the Dr.Duino Explorer is the choice for you. Just click the photo below to find out more about.
If you're new to Arduino and electronics, then the Dr.Duino Pioneer version is the best choice. Click the photo below to learn more.Explorer or here to learn about the Pioneer!