There are many open source projects out there. Many of you are familiar with the concept of open source software, where the source code is made available. Not so common is the idea of open-source hardware. What is the idea here? You get the full details of the hardware and firmware as if it were just the code of an open source software project. It is about extending the openness of a project to the hardware and firmware levels.
Arduino is one of these open-source hardware projects. It is a family of small printed circuit boards powered by Atmel micro-controllers that can be programed. You develop the code for these micro-controllers using an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) also provided on the project’s web-page, available for Windows, Linux or OSX. The IDE is based on Processing IDE I covered a while ago and the programming language is based on Wiring language. The goal is to make user life easier as the development is aimed to artists more than to engineers.
Interesting blog entry available here.