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Hi, using an Arduino would be great while beginning the actual hardware implementation of a robot running ROS. You can write a ROS node running in arduino, subscribing and publishing topics from and to the other nodes running on a computer.

The rosserial package helps a lot in accomplishing this. The arduino will be connected to a USB port of the computer and all the motors, sensors and such stuff can be interfaced with arduino. I am a beginner in ROS and presently working on a personal robot named chippu as a hobby project. More details, including all the codes can be had from my blog