■ BY JOE PARDUE
Arduino Handheld Prototyper
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Last month, we finished up our extended series on Arduino/Fritzing prototyping to
production. You should now be able to create
excellent documentation for your designs
that includes images for your breadboards,
schematics, and layouts for printed circuit
boards (PCBs). These skills will come in very
handy as you proceed into the world of
Arduino-based systems development and
beyond. This month, we are going to start a
two-part series on an Arduino-based
handheld prototyper shown in Figure 1. We
will have Fritzing components for this system
(Figure 2), so we can continue using our
excellent Fritzing breadboard and schematic
images to document our work as before. The
Arduino handheld prototyper — as the name
implies — let's you develop prototypes that
are portable in your very own hand, plus
provides a bonus that is lacking in the stand-alone Arduino: It can accept user keypad
input via pushbuttons and provides the user
with visual output via an LCD.
68 July 2013
In case you’re wondering, the title to this section
means either 'still higher' or 'fine curled wood shavings
used to pack fragile items.' My use is in the 'still higher'
sense of things, meaning we've just finished a steep climb
developing our prototyping skills with Fritzing and the
Arduino proto shield. Now, we are going still higher.
Think of this as mountain climbing. You've just arrived
at the top of the foothills next to the base of the
mountain. You've got a long way to go, but you've put in
quite an effort to get this far. Time to stop and look
around, to gaze off in the distance, and rest a bit before
the next climb. I've been climbing a long time, and one
■ FIGURE 1. Arduino handheld prototyper.
thing I've noticed is that each time I reach a peak, I look
up and see a higher peak. The learning never ends, but
that is a big part of its attraction. Excelsior indeed!
For our next climb, we are going to learn to use the
handheld prototyping system we’ll be discussing here so
that we can continue our Arduino development without
having to be tethered to a PC all the time. We’ll take all
the stuff we've recently learned and combine it with what
we covered about the LCD Navigator way back in the
January and February 2012 Workshops.