Book Image

C Programming for Arduino

By : Julien Bayle
Book Image

C Programming for Arduino

By: Julien Bayle

Overview of this book

Physical computing allows us to build interactive physical systems by using software & hardware in order to sense and respond to the real world. C Programming for Arduino will show you how to harness powerful capabilities like sensing, feedbacks, programming and even wiring and developing your own autonomous systems. C Programming for Arduino contains everything you need to directly start wiring and coding your own electronic project. You'll learn C and how to code several types of firmware for your Arduino, and then move on to design small typical systems to understand how handling buttons, leds, LCD, network modules and much more. After running through C/C++ for the Arduino, you'll learn how to control your software by using real buttons and distance sensors and even discover how you can use your Arduino with the Processing framework so that they work in unison. Advanced coverage includes using Wi-Fi networks and batteries to make your Arduino-based hardware more mobile and flexible without wires. If you want to learn how to build your own electronic devices with powerful open-source technology, then this book is for you.
Table of Contents (21 chapters)
C Programming for Arduino
About the Author
About the Reviewers


Our futuristic world is full of smart and connected devices. Do-it-yourself communities have always been fascinated by the fact that each one could design and build its own smart system, dedicated or not, for specific tasks. From small controllers switching on the lights when someone is detected to a smart sofa sending e-mails when we sit on them, cheap electronics projects have become more and more easy to create and, for contributing to this, we all have to thank the team, who initiated the Arduino project around 2005 in Ivrea, Italy.

Arduino's platform is one of the most used open source hardware in the world. It provides a powerful microcontroller on a small printed circuit board with a very small form factor. Arduino users can download the Arduino Integrated Development Environment (IDE) and code their own program using the C/C++ language and the Arduino Core library that provides a lot of helpful functions and features.

With C Programming for Arduino, users will learn enough of C/C++ to be able to design their own hardware based on Arduino. This is an all-in-one book containing all the required theory illustrated with concrete examples. Readers will also learn about some of the main interaction design and real-time multimedia frameworks such as Processing and the Max 6 graphical programming framework.

C Programming for Arduino will teach you the famous "learning-by-making" way of work that I try to follow in all of my courses from Max 6 to Processing and Ableton Live.

Lastly, C Programming for Arduino will open new fields of knowledge by looking at the input and output concept, communication and networking, sound synthesis, and reactive systems design. Readers will learn the necessary skills to be able to continue their journey by looking at the modern world differently, not only as a user but also as a real maker.

For more details, you can visit my website for the book at

What this book covers

Chapter 1, Let's Plug Things, is your first contact with Arduino and microcontroller programming. We will learn how to install the Arduino Integrated Development Environment on our computer and how to wire and test the development toolchain to prepare the further study.

Chapter 2, First Contact with C, covers the relation between the software and the hardware. We will introduce the C language, understand how we can compile it, and then learn how to upload our programs on the Arduino Board. We will also learn all the steps required to transform a pure idea into firmware for Arduino.

Chapter 3, C Basics—Making You Stronger, enters directly into the C language. By learning basics, we learn how to read and write C programs, discovering the datatype, basic structures, and programming blocks.

Chapter 4, Improving Programming with Functions, Math, and Timing, provides the first few keys to improve our C code, especially by using functions. We learn how to produce reusable and efficient programming structures.

Chapter 5, Sensing with Digital Inputs, introduces digital inputs to Arduino. We will learn how to use them and understand their inputs and outputs. We will also see how Arduino uses electricity and pulses to communicate with everything.

Chapter 6, Sensing the World—Feeling with Analog Inputs, describes the analog inputs of Arduino through different concrete examples and compares them to digital pins. Max 6 frameworks are introduced in this chapter as one of the ideal companions for Arduino.

Chapter 7, Talking over Serial, introduces the communication concept, especially by teaching about Serial communication. We will learn how to use the Serial communication console as a powerful debugging tool.

Chapter 8, Designing Visual Output Feedback, talks about the outputs of Arduino and how we can use them to design visual feedback systems by using LEDs and their systems. It introduces the powerful PWM concept and talks about LCD displays too.

Chapter 9, Making Things Move and Creating Sounds, shows how we can use the Arduino's outputs for movement-related projects. We talk about motors and movement and also about air vibration and sound design. We describe some basics about digital sound, MIDI, and the OSC protocol, and have fun with a very nice PCM library providing the feature of reading digitally encoded sound files from Arduino itself.

Chapter 10, Some Advanced Techniques, delivers many advanced concepts, from data storage on EEPROM units, and communication between multiple Arduino boards, to the use of GPS modules. We will also learn how to use our Arduino board with batteries, play with LCD displays, and use the VGA shield to plug the microcontroller to a typical computer screen.

Chapter 11, Networking, introduces the network concepts we need to understand in order to use our Arduino on Ethernet, wired or wireless networks. We will also use a powerful library that provides us a way to tweet messages directly by pushing a button on our Arduino, without using any computer.

Chapter 12, Playing with the Max 6 Framework, teaches some tips and techniques we can use with the Max 6 graphical programming framework. We will completely describe the use of the Serial object and how to parse and select data coming from Arduino to the computer. We will design a small sound-level meter using both real LEDs and Max 6 and finish by designing a Pitch shift sound effect controlled by our own hand and a distance sensor.

Chapter 13, Improving Your C Programming and Creating Libraries, is the most advanced chapter of the book. It describes some advanced C concepts that can be used to make our code reusable, more efficient, and optimized, through some nice and interesting real-world examples.

Appendix provides us with details of data types in C programming language, operator precedence in C and C++, important Math functions, Taylor series for calculation optimizations, an ASCII table, instructions for installing a library, and a list of components' distributors.

Appendix can be downloaded from

What you need for this book

If you want to take benefits of each example in this book, the following software is required:

  • The Arduino environment (free, This is required for all operations related to Arduino programming.

  • Fritzing (free, This is an open source environment that helps us design circuits.

  • Processing (free, This is an open source framework for rapid prototyping using Java. Some examples use it as a communication partner for our Arduino boards.

  • The Max 6 framework (trial version of 30 days, This framework is a huge environment that is used in this book too.

Some other libraries are also used in this book. Every time they are needed, the example description explains where to download them from and how to install them on our computer.

Who this book is for

This book is for people who want to master do-it-yourself electronic hardware making with Arduino boards. It teaches everything we need to know to program firmware using C and how to connect the Arduino to the physical world, in great depth. From interactive-design art school students to pure hobbyists, from interactive installation designers to people wanting to learn electronics by entering a huge and growing community of physical computing programmers, this book will help everyone interested in learning new ways used to design smart objects, talking objects, efficient devices, and autonomous or connected reactive gears.

This book opens new vistas of learning-by-making, which will change readers' lives.


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exten => s,1,Dial(Zap/1|30)
exten => s,2,Voicemail(u100)
exten => s,102,Voicemail(b100)
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exten => s,1,Dial(Zap/1|30)
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exten => s,102,Voicemail(b100)
exten => i,1,Voicemail(s0)

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