The Arduino-plattform - SWMS Playground

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The Arduino-plattform - SWMS Playground

Physical Computing Platforms

With physical computing platforms such as the Arduino, smaller projects can be realized quickly. Such platforms are a good introduction to microcontrollers and programming.

Especially in the short time of student internships it is difficult to get familiar with larger projects and without previous knowledge of microcontrollers or programming, almost impossible. Boards like that in the Arduino-plattform are a good way to enable students without previous knowledge to work independently on projects.

Here you can find out what we have already been able to achieve with a few internships and what we still have in mind.

Welcome to the SWMS Playground.

The Board (Arduino-plattform) and the Ideas

At the beginning was the board. It is an Arduino UNO Rev3 with 14 digital inputs and outputs, 6 analog inputs, a clock rate of 16 MHz and the best: a simple USB port to start directly with any computer. The right development environment is on top of it for free.

The idea is from an article by Jessica Kelly ( An 8x8x8 LED cube in which each LED can be individually controlled via the board.

About 1000 solder joints later it is already there, all 512 LEDs through the first programs pulled out of the net on the sparkle. But that's not enough for us, of course. What can you do with a program controlled 8x8x8 display? Clear thing: "Snake" -3D.


Fig. 1: The LED Cube

The inside of the SWMS Cube

Fig. 2: Inside the Cube

We developed the program using Arduino's processing-based development environment. A program for the Arduino always consists of three parts. The first part is for embedding libraries and defining global variables. The second part is the "setup" method. It is executed once at the start of the program. Here basic settings can be made, such as defining a pin as input or output, or the control of a servo is passed to a PIN. The third part is the "loop" method. It is always repeated. This should be the actual program sequence.

To make an LED connected to PIN 6 blink, PIN 6 must first be defined as an output in the "setup" method. In the "loop" method, PIN 6 can then be switched on or off using the "digitalWrite" method. A simple program could look like figure 3.

Example of an Arduino-Plattform

Fig. 3: Program Example

In search of an emulator for the Arduino we found Tinkercad from AUTODESK. Tinkercad is a free 3D design and 3D printing app that runs in your browser. With the Circuits Module not only simple circuits can be simulated, also the Arduino. With simple "blocks" whole programs can be created and the actual code is made available for download. The simulation also shows excessive loads for the components. Incorrectly dimensioned components can be determined in advance. A separate parts list is generated for each project. So we were able to create our own controller for our game in a short time, create the necessary lines of source code and integrate them into our program.


Fig. 4: Example TinkerCAD

We want MORE

We have learned a lot from the projects with the Arduino. We had a lot of fun getting results so quickly with very little effort and we want even more.

On the Internet there are thousands of projects and ideas for boards like the Arduino. And even we have more and more ideas to use the Arduino in small projects. From the transformation of the Arduino to the Game Boy, to the full automation of our coffee machine.

Since the Arduino board can easily be upgraded with a WiFi or Ethernet shield, our interest is also strong in using the Arduino as a drive for IoT prototypes.

What happens to the Cube?

The Cube with Snake -3D was a great project and who wants to end it? So we plan to expand our Snake -3D. We still have a kinekt. So if we manage to connect them to the Arduino...

Feel like it?

Would you like to work on small projects with us yourself?

Do you want to do an internship and are interested in microcontrollers and/or programming?

Can you hardly sleep because the flood of ideas is keeping you awake?

Then get in touch and we'll meet at the SWMS playground 🙂

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