Examining a Simple Arduino Connection
The Arduino microprocessor board is one of the most-used hardware devices in the Media Art world. There are many reasons for its popularity: it is relatively low-cost, has a multitude of hardware extensions (called shields) available, and has a simplified toolchain that runs with no operating system overhead.
Using the Arduino with your Max programming is actually quite simple: you use a serial port connection to talk to a "sketch" (a small program) that runs on the Arduino itself. There are some existing Max projects that communicate with the Arduino - the Maxuino project is one of the most popular - but often people want to have a purpose-built program running on the Arduino, and higher-level functions running in Max. That's what this article series is going to explore: a very simple Arduino sketch, combined with a simple Max patch, both of which to combine to create a two-way communication between Arduino and laptop.
Let's start with creating the hardware circuit we will need for our example...