Arduino is an open-source physical computing platform based on a simple i/o board and a development environment that implements the Processing/Wiring language. Arduino can be used to develop stand-alone interactive objects or can be connected to software on your computer (e.g. Flash, Processing, MaxMSP). The open-source IDE can be downloaded for free (currently for Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux).
The Leonardo is Arduino's first development board to use one microcontroller with built-in USB. Using the ATmega32U4 as its sole microcontroller allows it to be cheaper and simpler. Also, because the 32U4 is handling the USB directly, code libraries are available which allow the board to emulate a computer keyboard, mouse, and more using the USB-HID protocol!
It has 20 digital input/output pins (of which 7 can be used as PWM outputs and 12 as analog inputs), a 16 MHz crystal oscillator, a micro USB connection, a power jack, an ICSP header, and a reset button. It contains everything needed to support the microcontroller; simply connect it to a computer with a USB cable or power it with a AC-to-DC adapter or battery to get started.
Features of the new Leonardo R3
- The Leonardo differs from all preceding boards in that the ATmega32u4 has built-in USB communication, eliminating the need for a secondary USB processor.
- The Leonardo can appear to a connected computer as a mouse and keyboard, in addition to a virtual (CDC) serial / COM port
Frequently Asked Questions:
- Are these 100% compatible with the "normal" Arduino's?
Yes, they really are 100% completely compatible with "normal" Arduino's. Build quality looks the same and everything (studio, library, tools, etc) just works. You may read the reviews.
- What if I'm still concerned about this being named as "Arduino Compatible"?
If still in doubt, please buy from Arduino's official dealer channels. Yes they are more expensive. We use these internally ourselves for various electronic projects and find them to be 100% decent (again, check reviews). That said, we do not make these and we are providing all the information we know.