Spend any time at all around creative-minded techies, and you'll likely hear about Arduino. Whether you're making a simple motion sensor or a fully internet-controlled robot, Arduino is the platform of choice. If you're just diving in, we can't think of a better entry point than the Arduino Uno Ultimate Starter Kit & Course Bundle.
First, and most importantly, the kit gives you an Arduino-compatible Vilros Uno board, along with the manual you need to connect it to whatever mad science you're bound to dream up. You'll get a master class in the possibilities of this open-source platform, too. "Crazy About Arduino" is a triple-tiered workshop that will take you from the broad-strokes concept for your project to the skills needed to set up servers and connect your device to the internet. To supplement that, "Arduino Zero to Hero" shines the spotlight on the components that connect to the platform: Breadboards, resistors, LEDs and more.
You'll get lifetime access to all these resources and info, but that's no reason not to start soon: Right now, the Arduino Uno Ultimate Starter Kit & Course Bundle is on sale at $51.99.