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Arduino Hardware Programming Fun

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It’s been a full two weeks since my last post, which is the largest gap I’ve had since I started trying to write weekly at the beginning of January. The main reason for this is that I’ve been really busy, and not just with normal “life” stuff, but also with a separate project that I’ve been writing about on the project-specific blog over at The project, as you can probably tell from the website name, is called Keyglove, and it’s a one-handed input device. I won’t say more about it than that here, since all the info you could possibly want is on the website. Check it out if you want to.

What I did want to say though is that the hardware I’m using to control the glove (an Arduino board) is absolutely incredible. In the past, I haven’t messed around with hardware very much, although I understand fundamental concepts in electronics and have built many kits that require soldering and lots of very tiny parts. I really enjoyed building those kits, too. But I am a programmer at heart, so most of my creativity comes out in code. The kits were a lot of fun, but since I didn’t design them, I didn’t have the same kind of “joy of expression,” so to speak, even though I loved building them.

Along comes the Arduino board—or, I should say, I randomly discovered its existence—and all of a sudden I have a very inexpensive microcontroller that I can program however I want with a single USB cable and an simple open-source C++ IDE. It is the perfect tool for me to use my love of programming to create something physical instead of just digital.

The Keyglove project mentioned above is what I was inspired to build after thinking on-and-off for years about what I would want to use as an input device for a wearable computer. Of course, I don’t have a wearable computer yet, but the same concept could be used to quickly type on a smartphone without a keyboard (or with a cumbersome keyboard). I’ve been having a great time designing and testing so far though, and I’ve got more to do. All of it is exciting—the stuff I’ve completed as well as what I have left to do. I’m honestly surprised it took me this long to discover such a great bridge between two hobbies I enjoy so much.

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