Since the development of Arduino, the world of microcontrollers was revolutionized. Its portability, flexibility and simplicity made it famous and a must-have for electronics hobbyists and students. Learning microcontrollers and their applications were easier and efficient because of Arduino. Thousands of tutorials and projects are published online using different variations of Arduino such as Mega, Uno and Nano.
However, the birth of other microcontrollers became a threat. More people are using alternatives such as Raspberry Pi and MSP430. These microcontrollers have qualities that Arduino does not have, or even have better specifications and performance. Experts are concerned about Arduino's established dominance in the microcontrollers industry.
One of its greatest competitors is Raspberry Pi. A total of 10 million Raspberry Pi units were sold in 4 years, since it was released and became commercially available in 2012. Most devices and projects are already equipped with Raspberry Pi, instead of Arduino. Its supercomputer performance makes it desirable for more advanced applications.
About 300,000 units of Arduino are sold each year. When the time comes and it becomes obsolete, millions of boards will become electronic waste. They might not be at their end-of-life, but their usage will significantly decrease. Consumers and users must find a way to properly dispose their boards, especially those that are still installed in a project or device.
Arduino boards store data. Before worrying about how to completely dispose its hardware, users should focus on deleting and making back up storages for data stored inside their boards. The delete command, even if we use shift delete, does not completely delete the data. It is still inside the device, but the OS cannot find its location. It is overwritten by new data. This is the reason why data recovery tools exist.
There are a lot of effective data erasure techniques. Physically destroying the device will surely destroy the data that comes with it, but it also destroys the electronic parts that can still be reused for more purposes. Moreover, the device is just unusable, but the data is still there. Should there be advanced technology that can retrieve data from destroyed devices, your data is in danger.
If we want to erase software data, we need another software program to do it. Special software can be used to overwrite existing data with random combinations of 1s and 0s. Each sector of the hardware will be overwritten for 2 to 3 times to ensure that the existing data is completely deleted beyond recovery. The more data is overwritten, the higher the level of security.
Arduino units, like any other electronics, have memory chips that contain metals such as gold, iron, lead, mercury and cadmium. Once the boards have undergone electronic recycling, these metals will be extracted by a large machine, through the process of shredding. Once recovered, these metals are valuable and can be used for other commercial purposes. Another method that can be used is dismantling. Through dismantling, smaller components are recovered that can be easily used again for other electronic purposes.
The availability of Arduino is not certain, and with the increase of alternatives for microcontrollers threatens the mark it has embedded in the industry.