Wikipedia Says,
Arduino is an open-source single-board microcontroller, descendant of the open-source Wiring platform, designed to make the process of using electronics in multidisciplinary projects more accessible. The hardware consists of a simple open hardware design for the Arduino board with an Atmel AVR processor and on-board I/O support. The software consists of a standard programming language compiler and the boot loader that runs on the board. Arduino hardware is programmed using a Wiring-based language (syntax + libraries), similar to C++ with some simplifications and modifications, and a Processing-based IDE. Currently shipping versions can be purchased pre-assembled; hardware design information is available for those who would like to assemble an Arduino by hand. Additionally, variations of the Italian-made Arduino—with varying levels of compatibility—have been released by third parties, some of them are programmed using the arduino software.  

Arduino main page says,
Arduino is a tool for making computers that can sense and control more of the physical world than your desktop computer. It's an open-source physical computing platform based on a simple microcontroller board, and a development environment for writing software for the board. Arduino can be used to develop interactive objects, taking inputs from a variety of switches or sensors, and controlling a variety of lights, motors, and other physical outputs. Arduino projects can be stand-alone, or they can be communicate with software running on your computer (e.g. Flash, Processing, MaxMSP.) The boards can be assembled by hand or purchased preassembled; the open-source IDE can be downloaded for free. The Arduino programming language is an implementation of Wiring, a similar physical computing platform, which is based on the Processing multimedia programming environment.

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