The Ping))) is ultrasonic range finder that is pretty easy to use in an Arduino project. In my case, I’m using it to monitor the water level in a sump pump. I have an Arduino Uno R3 (with Ethernet Shield) connected to a Ping))) and a TMP36 temperature sensor that is perched above my sump pump. Every 2 minutes the Uno will send out a ping, and figure out the distance to the water below. The TMP36 is used to account for the air temperature in the speed of sound calculations.
If you’re looking to get into Arduino, and you’re a programmer, the first thing that will jump out at you is the Arduino IDE. It’s best described as “spartan” (to say the least). As I’m used to full featured IDE’s I started looking for a replacement to the default Arduino IDE.
There are extensions to use Visual Studio, but that means me starting up a VM to run Windows which I don’t really want to do for Arduino development. There is a another IDE which looks promising called Maria Mole - but it’s Windows only so not really a contender for me. I need something for OS X. I looked at setting up Eclipse as my default IDE, but ran into some issues with that. Nothing to major, but as I don’t like Eclipse in the first place I wasn’t to motivated to sort things out, so I abandoned Eclipse as an IDE choice.
The next thing I tried was Sublime Text. There is an Ardunio plugin called Stino that turns Sublime into a not bad IDE. In terms of writing your programs, Stino can pretty much do everything the Arduino IDE can do: compile programs, upload them to your Arduino board, import libraries, etc.