Can You Program Arduino with Rust?


can-arduino-be-programed-with-rust

When getting into the programming world to develop my Arduino projects, the last thing I heard was from RUST. One of the advantages of RUST is that it has memory efficiency and does not require garbage collection of data space at runtime, which seems to be of benefit for the kind of projects I was into and led me to think of the possibilities to program Arduino with RUST.

So, can you program Arduino with Rust? Yes, you can program Arduino with RUST and enjoy its benefits of memory-safety, concurrency, reliability, and speed for your projects. RUST can only compile to the ARM-Architectural devices and despite Arduino boards aren’t based on the ARM chip, the AVR-RUST Team agreement and relationship has made it possible for both to be compatible.

But, is it RUST easy to learn? Yes, if you already use C++ to do your Arduino projects, the switch seems even more streamlined and smooth. You’ll enjoy creating exciting projects with Arduino, once you know the basics of RUST.

About Arduino

Arduino is a microcontroller that provides a bridge to connect hardware and software. The basic idea and performance of an Arduino board are to take input signals (be it code, from the environment, etc.) and convert them into output signals (responses and actions).

One can do all this by programming Arduino through its software Arduino IDE and modifying its hardware (the Arduino board), as needed.

Nowadays, due to its accessible prices and open source philosophy, Arduino gives access and an opportunity to many people around the world (from students to established engineers) for experimenting, explore new frontiers and even showcase base ideas, gadgets, and useful projects.

But, let’s dive deep into what is the relationship of Rust with Arduino, without bringing too much tech, of course.

About RUST

A Programming Language

While RUST is not the name you often hear even if you are into reading some of the tech-papers or news articles, it is a powerful language. The advantage of RUST is that it has memory efficiency and does not require garbage collection of data space at runtime.

Hence, being memory efficient, RUST offers memory-safety. While you can benefit from this principle RUST has, there are other features you enjoy going with RUST also.

The incredible user-friendly environment and easy to understand error throwing messages of Rust make life easier.

RUST is more like the IOS version of the software; while C and C++ act more like Android and are open to being hacked and lack privacy factors, RUST offers the programmers safety of memory and thread.

Another feature that RUST brings is that it is an excellent language for embedded systems, which means it can quickly and efficiently work with other hardware devices and tech-architectures.

A Cross-Compiler

RUST is a cross compiler meaning that writing code, or instructions, on the architecture provided by RUST, you can enable, or generate, code for another architecture. This feature makes RUST flexible while still safe because of its memory-safety principle.

AVR-Rust Relationship

As said above, the cross-compiling feature of RUST makes it possible to run instruction on another compiler running on a different CPU or architecture.

While the technical relationship of AVR and RUST is not official, because of the team efforts of RUST working with AVR environment, this has become possible.

Something to keep in mind about AVR and RUST!

RUST does not support all architects; it can only compile to the ARM-Architectural devices and hardware.

The Embedded Device Working Group has maintained and established some rules and policies—just like the SI Units for measurements—which brings different devices built on some basic principles for the sake of integration of various hardware, software, and interface.

Arduino board is not based on the ARM chip; it’s based on the famous chip ATMega328; this chip is an 8-bit AVR.

For the rules of the game, Arduino should not work with RUST, but it does because of the AVR-RUST Team agreement and relationship.

How do They Work With Each Other?

To mediate between the “chip” and the drivers, the AVR-RUST team built AVR-HAL, which enables the to-and-fro work motion.

Why AVR have any relationship with RUST at all?

The main reason for such a relationship is because of what RUST offers. It has the features of low-level languages, for example, C and C++, but it provides the high-end outcomes of high-level languages. 

With this main feature and philosophy on which RUST was built in 2006 by Graydon Hoare, and when Mozilla officially announced it in 2010, it offers speed, concurrency, and safety. From a safety perspective, it means that it doesn’t leave a lot of footprints.

This philosophy enables a behavioral pattern in the developers and a bright future in their relationship.

This underlying philosophy of RUST starts—or will begin—a behavioral effect in the developers and programmers.

When developers feel safe with the hardware and software, and knows them to be reliable, they try to try more experiments and developments by using them.

The safety and reliability of RUST, plus aesthetics, flexibility, and security of Arduino, asked for such a relationship between these two.


With this relationship, the future of robotics and technical projects is something the RUST team can be a part of.

Why the Basic Features of RUST Offer Bright Future for Embedded Programming?

Embedded programming is not a piece of cake. It is hard because of the programming architectures of previously used programming languages invited a lot of compiler-crashes, errors, buffers, and virus-attacks. These types of nuisances occurred due to random memory allocation of C and C++ languages.

Moreover, the safety of memory is something not guaranteed by the C-family. Because of these problems, programmers and developers could not unleash a lot of functions and features. With RUST landing in the programming world, developers can feel free to try new grounds of features and functionalities.

One other feature of RUST is that it brings concurrency. Multitasking because of the programming structure of RUST is now possible.

Benefits of Rust

We have established in this article that RUST provides:

  • Memory-Safety
  • Concurrency
  • Reliability
  • Speed
  • Great future for Robotics

These features make the AVR-RUST relationship meaningful, advantageous and offer a bright future for robot-posterity that will be run from Arduino and built from RUST.

How Can Arduino Take Advantage of the Memory-Safety Offered by RUST?

Imagine you create a variable and store some value in it. Now that variable is built and has some value in it. RUST keeps track of this ownership; in other words, it knows that you’re the owner of this code or instructions.

If you try to compile the same code elsewhere, RUST will not be allowed to do so. Meaning if you’re working on a robot with Arduino as the microcontroller and using RUST, you can have peace of mind about the safety of your project, because only you can use this code of instructions and no one can steal it form you.

In other words, it solves the long-unsolved problem of code-piracy!

Some Basic, Yet Significant Questions.

Can you program Arduino with Rust?The answer is yes, and a great future is likely possible because of the incredible safety and reliability features of Rust programming language
Is Rust challenging to learn? Should I do projects (Robots and whatnot) on my Arduino with Rust?The answer is a big yes, you should learn Rust as soon as possible as it holds the future of robotics. With Rust and Arduino, you can accomplish great ground-breaking projects.

Learning Rust for Arduino

For programming, you’ll have to learn a very user-friendly low-level language programming syntax, which isn’t very difficult because a lot of the Rust syntax world is like that of the C-language family.

If you already use C++ to do projects on Arduino, the switch seems even more streamlined and smooth. You’ll enjoy creating exciting projects with Arduino, once you know the basics of Rust.

Conclusion

It is now clearly established that programming Arduino with Rust is not only possible, but together both are creating the possibility of a great and bright future, which was not possible with using previous programming languages.

As a project-maker or even Arduino-lover, learning Rust now would prove to be a very significant and timely decision. Programming with Rust is easy, and yet it can affect your project positively.

You can download the IDE compatibility files and start working for the basic and simple projects on Arduino as a start.

More to Come

With time, Rust and Arduino are likely to become go together. Rust is going to become “smoother” for the Arduino family and environment.

Developers and project-makers who love doing projects on Arduino will find great comfort working with Rust and Arduino at the same time in the year to come.

For your project safety and reliability, mastering RUST for your Arduino projects will be a great decision.

Still hungry for more info on this topic? Check these:

  1. The AVR-Rust project (github.com).
  2. Rust on Arduino (jonah.name).
  3. Rust on an Arduino Uno, Part 2 (jakegoulding.com).
  4. Programming with Rust (hackaday.com).
  5. Why Rust is the future of robotics (medium.com).

Francis Preneur

Hi there! I am Francis, a passionate physician, and entrepreneur who loves helping people to find high-quality products, services, and info that bring them solutions. I love Capoeira, Triathlon, Health Sciences, Tech, and Robotics.

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