Help! Get a signal from Arduino Uno into the computer

Hi,
I'm working on a project for an exhibition were I need to make a switch to act as a key (keyboard) in the computer. I'm a total newbie and have no idea what I'm doing right now with the electronics.
How do I wire the board so it sends a signal to the computer??
Do it send it via the USB-cable or do I need something else to send back the signal?

adelyn85:
Hi,
I'm working on a project for an exhibition were I need to make a switch to act as a key (keyboard) in the computer. I'm a total newbie and have no idea what I'm doing right now with the electronics.

The Arduino Leonardo is designed for exactly this.

http://arduino.cc/en/Reference/MouseKeyboard

All you need is a Leonardo and a switch, nothing more.

That sounds awesome!!

Is there any possibility to do this with Uno by connecting extra stuff to it?

adelyn85:
Is there any possibility to do this with Uno by connecting extra stuff to it?

The Uno acts like a serial port on the PC. If you can make your stuff work with a serial port you can use an Uno, yes.

What have you tried already?
Serial communication is literally among the first examples in the "arduino learn the basics" tutorials on this site. So yes, that's your arduino and your computer passing data to eachother. (if you use this, your bigger challenge will probably be making a pc program that recieves what the arduino sends over the serial port, and that triggers keyboard presses based on this)

And also wondering: how do you end up having to make such a thing for an exhibition if you literally know nothing about it? If electronics is a part of your exhibition, i would hope you've got some experienced people to help you?

racemaniac:
What have you tried already?
Serial communication is literally among the first examples in the "arduino learn the basics" tutorials on this site. So yes, that's your arduino and your computer passing data to eachother. (if you use this, your bigger challenge will probably be making a pc program that recieves what the arduino sends over the serial port, and that triggers keyboard presses based on this)

And also wondering: how do you end up having to make such a thing for an exhibition if you literally know nothing about it? If electronics is a part of your exhibition, i would hope you've got some experienced people to help you?

I've tried the basics with serial communication and that works fine. The problem is that I'm not gonna have the switches on the inboard, but are gonna wire them outside to be able to put different objects on them to turn them on or off. So far I've manage to fix the output with no problems, it's the input to the computer that confuses me. I've got no previous experience with either electronics or programming. I got another guy on the programming part, so it's up to him to solve that part (and no, he doesn't know how to program either).

Yeah, I know, it's crazy! Actually it wasn't a choice I made, but my school. I'm going in a school that teaches learning by doing. So, they thought that a 3 week-project with Arduino was a good idea. And it might be, if I manage to solve it.

Can you give us an idea of what the end goal is? i still don't see where the computer is involved.
If you want a switch to turn on something, you make it switch on the powersupply of that item :p. You don't need an arduino and a computer in between to do that.

And if it's for being able to read several buttons on a computer. if you're not obligated to use an arduino, scrap an old gamepad/joystick, and wire what you want to switch to the contacts of its buttons, and then you've got a little usb device which will be easily readable (it should be easy to find how to write a program that can read joystick buttons).

racemaniac:
And if it’s for being able to read several buttons on a computer. if you’re not obligated to use an arduino, scrap an old gamepad/joystick, and wire what you want to switch to the contacts of its buttons, and then you’ve got a little usb device which will be easily readable (it should be easy to find how to write a program that can read joystick buttons).

This, too.

If it’s just a switch that pretends to be a keypress then get a $5 keyboard and hack it open.

Just wanted to tell you guys that I managed to solve the wiring-thingy an hour ago. Now I'm onto the coding, which seems much more "me". Thank you for all the imput, it has been really helpful!

What did you do to solve the problem?