Much like open source software, Open source hardware is also gaining popularity and the biggest example of one such open source hardware is arduino. Arduino is an open, single board microcontroller system that makes developing projects and prototyping very easy and quick. This happens because of a smart design of the various arduino boards, which allow very quick project development while at the same time offering tremendous flexibility, for the user to work with.
Conventionally for a student to develop a final year project, the student would have to go through the whole development cycle from scratch. That is from schematic design to bread boarding, then PCB design, soldering and if all of this goes well then finally programming. Most often than not when developing even moderately complicated final year projects, students do not have enough time for this whole cycle. This is where arduino fits into the students requirements perfectly. With arduino the students do not have to bother too much with the hardware design and testing etc, they can almost immediately get on with developing the project.
If a student chooses an arduino based final year project, in addition to the ease of implementation the cost of the project also comes down. Because, designing and prototyping in small quantities (as with student projects) can be expensive. Arduino projects can work out much cheaper for such requirements. Since arduino is a relatively new development arduino final year projects are taken up by very few students and this presents an opportunity for the students to try out something new.
Arduino is a new platform for students, because it is also not a part of the curriculum at this point in time. This naturally leads to a little anxiety among students about arduino, but in our experience we have found that students find programming and using the arduino very easy, even when compared to conventional embedded system based projects. We at Ingens recommend final year projects based on arduino very highly, because in addition to the final year project itself the arduino can serve as a platform for even future projects and experimentation. We are also among the earliest adopters of the arduino and are among the first to offer arduino projects in Chennai and India.
Another significant advantage that students have when they take up final year projects in arduino, is the fact that there are different versions of the arduino that can cater to projects of various sizes. Though the default standard for arduino developments seems to be the Arduino Uno, there are other versions also that can be used depending on the requirement. Also there are hosts of readymade add-on boards and interfaces that can make project development even faster and efficient. Needless to say, with so many things going in favor of arduino, there are lots of IEEE papers on arduino that make for excellent starting points for IEEE arduino projects.