The Arduino works great as a standalone microcontroller, using its ATmega chip to do everything from complex calculations to simple sensor reads, but its capabilities can be considerably extended by connecting it up to a computer. The problem then lies in how to program the computer, naturally considerably more complex than the Arduino, to do what you need - and that's a problem Paul McWhorter aims to solve with a great selection of free lessons designed to walk you through using an Arduino with a computer running the free Python programming language, brought to our attention by our friends at Adafruit. Starting with the basics - installing Python and the libraries required for Arduino communication - and progressing into everything from creating virtual worlds using an ultrasonic sensor as a 3D scanner to communicating wirelessly via XBee radios, it's a great resource and each lesson includes a supporting YouTube video. For absolute Arduino beginners, Paul has also published 20 Arduino lessons to get you up to speed before taking on Python programming.
We have provided a methodical set of videos and instructional material to teach you how to use the Arduino Microcontroller. We start simple, and take you through things step by step.