In the last chapter, we documented our project with Fritzing, then moved it from the breadboard onto a protoboard, learning basic soldering skills in the process. The protoboard we used matched the form factor and footprint of our solderless breadboard, making the transfer process easy with a one-to-one match between the pads and traces on the protoboard and the connections present in the solderless breadboard.
We now have a prototype that matches our Fritzing diagram. This prototype solves some of our problems. (We no longer have a bunch of parts that can easily become dislodged from our solderless breadboard.) We can still make this prototype better, though.
It would be nice if we could eliminate the wires connecting the two circuit boards by using a protoboard that plugs directly into the Arduino. It would also be nice if that circuit board had a socket where we could plug in an XBee wireless module.
Fortunately, a solution exists that achieves all of these goals, and makes our prototype cleaner and more simple in the process.
For some simple projects, the basic protoboard might be sufficient to create a nicely designed and rugged prototype. But for many Arduino projects, the ideal protoboard would have just the right pins and holes to plug into an Arduino. Fortunately, such boards are widely available and very affordable. These boards are called Arduino Proto Shields (see Figure 6-1).
They are ...