HyperDuino and Arduino Comparison

Compared to the current ways of using the Arduino for maker projects, there are two main areas of difference in using the HyperDuino+HyperStudio combination, compared to not having them available.  The first is what the HyperDuino shield (piggy-back board) itself adds to the Arduino, and then what HyperStudio makes possible beyond that.

Do keep in mind though that either one can be used without the other.  That is to say, you can use HyperStudio to make it easier to work with the Arduino without requiring the HyperDuino shield, and you can also use the HyperDuino Shield without requiring HyperStudio.

The HyperDuino Shield - Making Maker Projects Easier

If you read almost any of the introductions to the Arduino, you’ll see that they all require a breadboard, resistors and jumper wires, along with the components like the LEDs and photocells that you’re actually trying to get working.

Here is the simplest breadboard and resistor arrangement for an LED and photocell using the traditional breadboard approach.

For the solar system project that has 12 LEDs and 6 photocell sensors, the required breadboard and resistor setup looks like this:

Which then connects to the solar system model like this:

With the HyperDuino, you totally eliminate the need for the breadboard and resistors, and you can use the included easy-connect/disconnect rainbow cables to make the wiring for your project neat and tidy.

And, you can easily tuck the HyperDuino behind your project to make it completely hidden.

Going Further - HyperDuino as an Experimenter’s Platform

When you’re ready to go beyond just simple LEDs and photocells, you’ll find the HyperDuino makes it easy and convenient to do all sorts of experiments more quickly and in a better-organized fashion.

Whether it’s a simple motor (the HyperDuino includes a ready-made connection for that!), servo, temperature sensor, or many other experiments, you’ll be able to quickly be successful by using the HyperDuino as your primary platform for experiments.  And, the HyperDuino still includes all the standard Arduino digital I/O and Analog pins, so you can still extend it to traditional breadboards whenever you wish.

HyperStudio - The Logic of Programming without needing the Secret Code

HyperStudio, the Macintosh and Windows application, provides the second major advantage for creating interactive maker projects that use the Arduino.

If you do any kind of search for introductory Arduino tutorials, you’ll see that they all (at least those that don’t yet know about HyperStudio and HyperDuino) immediately require that you write coded (“coded” as in not easily readable by someone who doesn’t know the code) instructions that you then have to upload to the Arduino.

If you want to later change what that Arduino can do, you have to upload a new one to your Arduino, which totally erases the one that you had there before. If you had, for example, two rather different Arduino projects and only one Arduino device, you would need to do this erase/re-upload process each and every time you wanted to switch between the two functions.

With HyperStudio, your “program” (and it’s not written in a “code”) is on your laptop or desktop computer as your HyperStudio interactive digital project.  That’s the part that can include the videos and images that explain and control your physical interactive maker project (with the LEDs and sensors).

If you have several different interactive maker projects, there’s no need to re-upload different programs to the Arduino each time.  Just open whatever HyperStudio project you wish, and everything “just works” from there.

The Arduino Development Environment vs. HyperStudio

The most frequently used development tool is the Arduino Development Environment), and this requires learning to create Arduino “sketches” (programs) in a Java-like programming language.

There are also more graphic environments like “Scratch for Arduino”, which use draggable blocks to create the same scripted end-product for the Arduino:

HyperStudio as the introduction to Arduino (and the logic of programming)

HyperStudio is a software product that is very popular in classrooms, and it can be used to control the Arduino board without requiring any written coding.  Learning the logic of programming is different than learning the syntax of coding.

This can be a big advantage when introducing students to the concepts of computer-controlled sensors and actions, without having to get into the intricacies of a programming language.

HyperStudio is a very versatile program, and the “Forever Free” Trial Version is more than adequate to use for student project such as the solar system project shown above.  The “Forever Free” version is limited to 4-card projects, but doesn’t ever expire.  See the HyperStudio Test Drive page for more information about HyperStudio.

The advantage of starting with HyperStudio to explore the Arduino

The Arduino Development Environment way of using the Arduino requires that you learn a programming language, write a program in an editor, upload it to the Arduino, and then let the program operate on the LEDs, motors, servos, and sensors.

If the Arduino detects something, then you also have to write into the program what to do with that. You can activate other lights, or other actions, but that requires an amount of programming skill in the Arduino programming language.

If you’ve made any error in your scripted program that keeps the LEDs and sensors from working as you wished (which might even have been just an incorrect value somewhere), then it is necessary to edit, re-compile and upload to the Arduino.  Each cycle can takes time, and all those revision and upload cycles add up to a lot of work.

On the other hand, if you just want to learn something about basic electronics and create a project that interacts with something happening on the computer, then HyperStudio is a much lower threshold of difficulty to cross to begin making very cool interactive maker projects based on the Arduino.

And, if something doesn’t work the way you wanted the first time, you just change the checkboxes and settings in HyperStudio and immediately test it.  You don’t have to re-upload anything to the Arduino.

Compare the programming script on the left, with the HyperStudio way on the right.

Controlling LEDs and More with HyperStudio

Here is a quick description of how you can control a light, a motor, a servo, or pretty much anything else directly from HyperStudio using the Arduino Setup MBA (“More Button Action”) function.

First, on the HyperDuino board, use the quick-connect wires to connect an LED to the pair of pins marked “LEDS - 13” on the HyperDuino.

HyperDuino with a photocell sensor

The longer lead of the LED should be connected to the wire that goes to the pin closest to the number “13” on the board, but if you get it backwards, don’t worry. Just reverse the LED later if it doesn’t turn on after the next step here.

Next, make a button or any other object in HyperStudio, and go to the Actions tab in the Inspector, and click on “More Button Actions”.

Choose “Arduino Setup” from the list of MBAs:


For pin 13, choose “Output” from the pop-up menu, and “High”. In digital electronics, “high” and “low” are equivalent to “on” and “off”.

That’s it!  When you click on the button or other object, your LED will light up!

(If it didn’t light up, just try reversing which of the colored wires connect to each leg of the LED)

Making things happen on the computer with Arduino inputs

With the Arduino Watcher MBA, any exact input, or combination of inputs, to the Arduino board will cause a button in your project to do whatever sounds, movies, connections to other cards, documents or web-pages, etc. have been set up for that button.

To watch for an action, go to “About this Card” for the first card in your stack, and choose “Arriving at Card”.  In the Actions tab, choose “Arduino Watcher”.


For the interactive models, you watch one of the Analog Inputs for a value that indicates that the photocell has been touched:

Arduino Watcher can watch all the pins for all the buttons all the time, and activates just the right button when a given photocell is touched.

HyperDuino with a photocell sensor

If you have already have HyperStudio, or once you have downloaded the “Forever Free” Limited Version, you can see a demonstration of HyperStudio interacting with the Arduino in this Arduino Test Project.  There is also a more advanced set of demos here, in “HyperStudio + ARDX”.  If you have the HyperDuino, it’s even easier - download and run this HyperDuino Intro project (requires HyperStudio or the Forever Free Limited Version).

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