The microcontroller unit (MCU) is the ultimate electronics tinker-toy, and in this book you’re going to see
how to tinker away with it to your heart’s delight! My intended audience for this book is those who like to learn
hands-on. Learning by doing and seeing has always been my preferred way to learn: If it’s yours too, let’s take the
ride together. For those who like to understand the “why” first of all, the book also includes some background
material that explains why using microcontrollers in everyday situations can be such a powerful concept.
Over the past decade, there has been a prolific increase in the research, development
and commercialisation of Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) and their associated technologies
(see Figure 1). This rise has been a result of a number of contributing factors,
including continued miniaturisation (leading towards an era of truly ‘pervasive’ and
‘invisible’ computing); low-power circuits, devices and computation (for example, the
ultra-low-power sleep states now found in microcontrollers); and efficient short-range
communication (such as ZigBee and Bluetooth).