If you have heard of Arduino, but still not sure what it means, read on to find out all of the things it can referr to....
Arduino - Software
The Arduino IDE is an Open Source (LGPL) software platform, compatible with a wide variety of microcontrollers from a range of hardware manufacturers.
The IDE is available here, and our extension builds on top of this to integrate into Visual Studio (Community and Professional), to enhance the programming and debugging experience.
As it is an Open Source software project, all specifications are published, allowing 3rd party hardware manufacturers to package their own compatible software for their particular new board. The 3rd Party Hardware Specification can be found here.
Arduino - Hardware
All Arduino boards are produced under the CC BY-SA Licenses, and consist of a Microcontroller (AVR,SAM,SAMD), and supporting circuitry for power, and to provide a USB interface to your PC (in most cases).
The Arduino boards are generally compatible with a similar pin layout, allowing for "Shields" to be moved between different boards, without modification.
Check out the Arduino.cc Shop to see what amazing boards are available...
Arduino - Shields
An Arduino Shield is a circuit board which has been designed to fit onto an Arduino board, using the solderless connectors provided. Most boards make the same pins available as on the Uno, allowing you to upgrade your board, and transfer the shields.
Shields are often stackable, so you can add e.g. an Ethernet Shield to your Arduino Uno, as well as a Relay Shield, giving you a web controlled motor for example.... with very little wiring.
Ethernet Shield v2