10 Gift Ideas for the Arduino Tinkerer in Your Life
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Wondering what to get the tinkerer in your life this holiday season? Whether they are a young inventor in training or a lifelong hardware hacker, Arduino boards and accessories make for perfect creative gifts!

In this article we will cover various Arduino-related gift ideas. Whether the person you are buying for is a total beginner, or a seasoned microcontroller expert — there is something here for all ages and levels. If you aren’t sure what an Arduino is, our Arduino introduction What Is Arduino & What Can You Do With It? What Is Arduino & What Can You Do With It? The Arduino is a remarkable little electronics device, but if you've never used one before, just what exactly are they, and what can you do with one? Read More  covers all the basics.

1. Start with a Starter Kit

dfrobot kit

An Arduino is a perfect gift for anyone creative, as they can be used in so many different ways. The simplest way to get someone started is to buy a pre-made starter kit which provides all of the components needed — along with the Arduino board itself. Most starter kits contain similar items, though our starter kit guide should help you pick out which one would make the perfect gift.

Elegoo UNO Project Super Starter Kit with Tutorial for Arduino Elegoo UNO Project Super Starter Kit with Tutorial for Arduino Free PDF tutorial(more than 22 lessons) and clear listing in a nice package Buy Now At Amazon CDN$ 47.21

2. Doing It by the Book

If someone is new to tinkering with microcontrollers, it can sometimes seem a little overwhelming, and while there are many great online beginner tutorials Getting Started With Arduino: A Beginner's Guide Getting Started With Arduino: A Beginner's Guide Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to use hardware and software. It's intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments. Read More , there are also some great books out there too.

The Arduino Project Handbook is a perfect beginner’s guide to all things Arduino. Clear photographs and wiring diagrams take the reader through 25 different projects, and easy to follow steps start with simple projects through to more complex systems. More information can be found in our Arduino project handbook review Arduino Project Handbook Review Arduino Project Handbook Review Read More .

arduino project book featured

Next up we have the near ubiquitous Arduino For Dummies. While it also begins with the very basics, some of the later projects are a little more ambitious. With clear photographs of examples throughout, it’s another great choice for people new to the world of tinkering.

Arduino For Dummies Arduino For Dummies For Dummies Buy Now At Amazon CDN$ 15.77

The third choice here is for the smaller inventor in your life. Sylvia’s Super Awesome Project Book is an Arduino guide aimed at children aged 8–12 years old. Full of great projects, the book also explains the basics of what microcontrollers are, along with vibrant drawings and characters to guide the reader through their early days of building. A book for the future family inventor!

Sylvia's Super-Awesome Project Book: Super-Simple Arduino (Volume 2) Sylvia's Super-Awesome Project Book: Super-Simple Arduino (Volume 2) Buy Now At Amazon CDN$ 13.04

3. Add a Screen to the Mix

A great addition to an Arduino toolkit is a screen to get feedback directly from the board, and there are many display options 6 Displays to Output Data From Your Arduino 6 Displays to Output Data From Your Arduino In this article we will take you through the different types of display available, where to get them, and how to set them up. Read More to choose from. Adding a screen not only lets you get data from your sensors, it opens the Arduino up to becoming a retro gaming machine in its own right! Anyone for Pong Arduino Retro Gaming With an OLED Display Arduino Retro Gaming With an OLED Display Ever wondered just how much work it takes to write your own retro games? How easy is Pong to code for the Arduino? Read More ?

If you want to take it up a notch, Adafruit make a full colour touch screen shield compatible with most full sized Arduino boards. Capable of complex vector graphics, displaying photos, and touchscreen painting amongst many other things, it also has a MicroSD slot to load images directly.

Adafruit stock both resistive and capacitive touch versions at around $35 and $45, respectively. If you aren’t sure which type of screen would work better for you, perhaps our guide on capacitive versus resistive touchscreens What Are the Differences Between Capacitive & Resistive Touchscreens? What Are the Differences Between Capacitive & Resistive Touchscreens? Modern touchscreen devices come in two forms: the capacitative touchscreen and the resistive touchscreen. Here are the pros and cons of each kind. Read More will help you decide.

adafruit resistive touch screen

4. Take the Prototyping up a Notch

Prototyping using a breadboard is perfect for trying new things out and testing that they work, but what happens when you’ve settled on your design and it works? Protoboard is a great stopgap between breadboard prototyping and etching your own printed circuit boards. A protoboard is essentially a circuit board covered in holes with copper contacts, allowing you to solder components directly to it, and use solder or wire to connect up the circuit.

Our Motion Activated Christmas Wreath Upgrade Your Christmas Wreath With a Motion Activated LED Matrix Upgrade Your Christmas Wreath With a Motion Activated LED Matrix This DIY Christmas wreath uses an Arduino and LED matrix to produce an amazing light-up display that'll impress your friends and family. Read More uses protoboard for its main circuit, and the majority of DIY projects take place on the handy, holey boards!

A packet of small yet practical boards are available on AliExpress, or if time is of the essence and you need it quicker, Amazon sell protoboard bundles for between $5 and $10.

Uxcell a14041800ux1143 25Pcs Double Sided Protoboard Prototyping Pcb Board 4cm x 6cm Uxcell a14041800ux1143 25Pcs Double Sided Protoboard Prototyping Pcb Board 4cm x 6cm Product name: double-sided PCB board;Hole DIA.(Each): 1mm Buy Now At Amazon

If you are worried about what size Protoboard to buy — why not let the receiver choose? Sparkfun sell a snappable protoboard which allows the user to cut the board down to whatever size — or shape — they desire. While a little more expensive than the other boards listed, the flexibility these boards give make them unique, and the board can be broken into various pieces to suit different projects.

5. Remote Control Car Kit

Remote control cars are the ultimate toy, and lovers of these pint sized racers spend hours upon hours tweaking and tuning them. Why not take that process even further and let your loved one build their own? There are many pre-made kits available for building a mini zoom machine from scratch, which as well as a cool learning process results in a fully functional remote controlled car in return for the hard work put in!

10 Gift Ideas for the Arduino Tinkerer in Your Life RC ADEEPT 670

The Adeept Smart Car Kit provides the building blocks for a car which can be either remote controlled, or left in an automatic mode which avoids objects in its path using its front mounted distance sensor. The kit also comes with pre-prepared code so it is perfect for beginners, though more experienced DIY-nicks can get involved and create their very own programming too. Who knows, maybe your home will house a truly smart car this Christmas!

Adeept Smart Car Kit for Arduino, Remote Control Car based on NRF24L01 2.4G Wireless, Robot Starter Kit, Arduino Robotics Model, Arduino Learning Kit with PDF Guidebook/Tutorial Adeept Smart Car Kit for Arduino, Remote Control Car based on NRF24L01 2.4G Wireless, Robot Starter Kit, Arduino Robotics Model, Arduino Learning Kit with PDF Guidebook/Tutorial The smart car kit is designed based on Arduino UNO R3 and Nano. This is a complete and fun Arduino learning kit. We carefully prepared a detailed guidebook/tutorial(PDF), the guidebook contains complete circuit diagrams and assembly steps, according to our tutorial, you will be able to easily build your own intelligent remote control car. Buy Now At Amazon CDN$ 109.99

6. Robots!

For many people, robots are the coolest things in the world, and these people are clearly correct. There are many great robot building kits to choose from, with an incredible amount of variety. In this instance, we recommend the Makeblock Ultimate Robot kit.

Makeblock 90040 Ultimate 2.0 - 10-in-1 Robot Kit Makeblock 90040 Ultimate 2.0 - 10-in-1 Robot Kit Ten building forms will meet all your need for different application scenes - Robotic Arm Tank, Robotic Bartender, etc. Buy Now At Amazon CDN$ 415.88

Compatible with both Arduino and Raspberry Pi (we also have some fantastic gift ideas for Pi users too), it’s a very comprehensive kit allowing many different types of robots to be built. From remote controlled cars, to camera wielding tanks, to a drink pouring robot butler — this kit has the motors, sensors, and everything in between a person needs to get into robotics.

7. Make It Wireless!

Arduino boards come in many shapes and sizes Arduino Buying Guide: Which Board Should You Get? Arduino Buying Guide: Which Board Should You Get? There are so many different kinds of Arduino boards out there, you'd be forgiven for being confused. Which should you buy for your project? Let us help, with this Arduino buying guide! Read More now, though one thing many of them lack is the ability to communicate wirelessly. Happily, there is a very cheap solution to get Arduino boards to talk to one another — wireless transceiver modules.

Available in packets of 10 (or less), they free the Arduino from needing to be attached to a computer. This allows the board to be left in place to do specific tasks such as watering your plants, or to create wireless joysticks for your creations, or even, create your own DIY smart home system.

While these modules are fantastic value, to give them as a gift you would have to know that the recipient already owns several microcontrollers to use them with. There is however a new kid on the block; the NodeMCU Meet the Arduino Killer: ESP8266 Meet the Arduino Killer: ESP8266 What if I told you a there's an Arduino-compatible dev board with built-in Wi-Fi for less than $10? Well, there is. Read More .

The NodeMCU (also known as the ESP8266) is fully Arduino compatible, and comes with Wi-Fi connectivity built in. It’s small enough to use in almost any project, and cheap enough to buy several of for connected projects. We used one to create our Wi-Fi controlled PC case lighting system.

HiLetgo New Version NodeMCU LUA WiFi Internet ESP8266 Development Board HiLetgo New Version NodeMCU LUA WiFi Internet ESP8266 Development Board HiLetgo NodeMCU LUA WiFi Internet ESP8266 Development Board Buy Now At Amazon CDN$ 41.73

8. DIY Smart Home Kit

Home automation, or smart homes, are gaining in popularity, with devices appearing both in hardware stores worldwide, and in popular culture on TV shows such as Mr. Robot How to Get a Smart Home Like in Mr Robot How to Get a Smart Home Like in Mr Robot Let's take a look a look at the smart home hardware featured scene-by-scene in a Mr. Robot tv episode, and see what we can figure out. Read More . One of the strengths of microcontrollers such as the Arduino is that they allow us to create DIY smart home systems DIY Smart Lock with Arduino and RFID DIY Smart Lock with Arduino and RFID Here's how to build a simple RFID-based smart lock using an Arduino as the backbone and a few cheap components. Read More , but for a much lower cost.

At its simplest a home automation setup requires a relay to allow control over larger powered items (such as lights, wall switches and appliances), and a way of accessing these things via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. For under $20 you can buy both a relay module and a Bluetooth transceiver which can be accessed from a smartphone to control almost anything.

SainSmart 4-Channel Relay Module SainSmart 4-Channel Relay Module 5V 4-Channel Relay interface board, and each one needs 15-20mA Driver Current Buy Now At Amazon CDN$ 10.99

9. Making It from Scratch

While most of these ideas have been for beginners, what would be a good gift for someone who has already been working with Arduino for some time? Building an Arduino from scratch is a great project, and much cheaper than you’d imagine.

photo finished

There are many benefits to building a “DIYduino”, as well as gaining a deeper understanding of how the platform works, you can design the board any shape you like, and integrate parts of your system directly into the board rather than having separate modules. Our DIY Arduino guide Don't Spend Money On An Arduino - Build Your Own For Much Less Don't Spend Money On An Arduino - Build Your Own For Much Less I love my Arduinos. At any point, I have quite a few projects on the go - prototyping is just so easy with them. But sometimes, I want to keep the project functional without buying... Read More outlines all the parts you need along with how to put it all together to create a totally unique Arduino.

10. You’ve Got the Skills, Now Show Them!

Finally, if you know someone is already working with Arduino, why not let them show it off? As well as a huge range of components and development boards, the Arduino store has T-shirts, mugs, and buttons for sale at a variety of prices. The perfect gift for the Arduino lover in your life!

This guide should help you choose a gift for any curious mind, and allow you to give the gift of creativity to someone this holiday season! Arduinos are a great learning resource, and anyone can get started with a simple Christmas ornament An Arduino Project: How To Make Flashy Christmas Lights Ornaments An Arduino Project: How To Make Flashy Christmas Lights Ornaments This is the next part in our learning Arduino series, and this time we’ll be learning about and using Arrays to make a little Christmas tree ornament with various flashing sequences. This would be an... Read More straight away.

Are you planning on buying something Arduino related for a loved one? Are you an Arduino user yourself and know exactly what you’d love to receive? Let us know your ideas for Arduino based gifts in the comment section below!

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