Firmata is a protocol for communicating with micro-controllers from software on a host computer

There are two main models of usage of Firmata. In one model, the author of the Arduino sketch uses the various methods provided by the Firmata library to selectively send and receive data between the Arduino device and the software running on the host computer.

The second and more common model is to load a general purpose sketch called StandardFirmata on the Arduino board and then use the host computer exclusively to interact with the Arduino board.

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