This is the first time that I realized that extra SMD IC near the USB port of the Arduino UNO is actually a fully fledged microcontroller, I thought that it was just a USB to Serial converter. Further research into this chip left me with more questions than answers.
First of all, why did Arduino decide to use the Atmega16U2 as a USB to Serial converter? Couldn't they have gone with an FTDI chip instead? I came across this phrase on Quora "The best part is that you can also program and create your own applications on the 16u2 if you have an In-circuit Serial Programmer". How exactly does this work?
What about the two other set of connectors on the board? (other than the two main rows of headers) The ones labeled ICSP and JP2? Is the JP2 for the 16U2? I read that these could be used for burning the code onto the Atmega328P so that it can be modified, but not overwritten. What are any other uses for the 16U2 on the Arduino UNO?