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Taking Next Steps with Arduino:
These are fun and engaging gifts that go beyond blinking an LED. All of these open endless possibilities for creating useful and fun projects with Arduino.  

Want to give a gift that gets the pulse racing? Go for the
Pulse Sensor AMPED for Arduino, $25. Gently place the sensor on any area of skin and it will transmit pulse data to your Arduino for processing. The included sample processing/Arduino code lets you visualize pulse data on your computer. It’s a simple, non-invasive, inexpensive way to incorporate biofeedback into your projects. I used this to make an LED lamp that subtly changed color in response to the heart rate of the person holding the lamp.

A prototyping shield, $16.95, makes it easy to build circuits for Arduino. You can add a mini breadboard for soldlerless tinkering or connect components directly to the board for finished projects. I use these for circuits that I have transferred from solderless breadboards when I want something more permanent.

With lots of easy to connect sensors, the Arduino Compatible Electronic Brick Starter Kit, $49.99, is a great next-level Arduino gift. Just add an Arduino board and you can experiment with lots of sensors – no soldering required. This is a plug-and-play solution to get going with Arduino for people that don’t want to solder or mess around with breadboards.

The Ultimate Microcontroller Pack, $120, will keep you in stock with over 100 of the most commonly used components.

Michael Margolis

Author of the Arduino Cookbook and Make an Arduino-Controlled Robot


  1. If the Elev-8 quadcopter is too rich for your blood, check out the Holiday 2012 Gift Guide: Aerial Drones for a range of possibilities. http://blog.makezine.com/slideshow/aerial-drone-gift-guide/

    1. Michael Margolis says:

      Thanks Andrew. That budget tricopter looks like bags of fun for those that enjoy building from scratch. The link to the template does not work but the template can be found here: http://rcexplorer.se/projects/2010/03/the-tricopter-v1-and-v1-5/ (note that the tricopter in that link is based on the same template but uses different components).

2012 Holiday Gift Guide: Arduino