I’m very excited to announce a new release of Experimentor Workbench that now supports serial ports and the Arduino!  I’ve also fixed several very minor bugs, and made the log window remember 1,000 entries, rather than just the previous 100 entries.

The Serial Port

While many modern computers don’t have serial ports any more, older computers (the ones still found in research labs across the continent) do have them, and controlling serial-port hardware from the Arduino is now easy;  check-out the documentation to see just how easy it is.

The Arduino

The Arduino is a wonderful little micro-controller that costs less than $50; here’s my Arduino UNO sitting on my desk hooked into the computer via the USB cable.

The Arduino

From the Arduino website:
[quote style=”1″]Arduino can sense the environment by receiving input from a variety of sensors and can affect its surroundings by controlling lights, motors, and other actuators.[/quote]

The scientific researcher is not limited to using Arduino “shields”; you can wire up just about anything to the Arduino, including existing expensive hardware such as shockers, doors, or food hoppers.

All of this makes the Arduino an ideal low-cost way of allowing Experimentor to sense and affect the environment. Of course, Experimentor will save all the input from the Arduino into the Experimentor database along with all of your other session data.

Adding this new capability to the software should make is much easier to inexpensively and easily hook up your devices to Experimentor Workbench.  You can read more about it here.

Rock-solid Arduino implementation

Implementing Arduino support was tricky, because I found that about every 1,000 commands (sent to the Arduino) there was some data corruption.  So I worked very hard to ensure that commands were not lost and were never corrupted.  This means that if your codes send an “open door” command, or a “raise food-hopper” command, it will be executed correctly by the Arduino.

I hope this helps, and happy experimenting!