Throughout the computer chapters of the book we have included listings for the Arduino versions of the programs. In this section we will deal with the Arduino all by itself. Specifically, we will use the Arduino Nano, currently the tiniest (and least expensive) Arduino version that still has USB connectivity for easy programming.
The photo above shows the Arduino Nano next to the USB cable used to program it. Pins have been soldered to the underside so the computer can be inserted into a solderless breadboard. Another set of six pins has been soldered to the top to bring out some of the communication pins (for fast serial connections).
While the pre-soldered Arduino with a cable is available, a cheaper form is the computer board sold with the pins, which you can solder yourself, if you are using a solderless breadboard. This gives you the option of building your project by soldering wires directly to the board, and not using the solderless breadboard.
You can buy the soldered version with the cable as your first Arduino Nano, and use that cable to program the cheaper unsoldered versions later.
To program the Arduino, you will need to download the Arduino software. There are versions for Windows, Mac, and Linux (so you can even run it on the $35 Raspberry Pi).