If you're working with python and considering some hardware integration, you may find the following python library by Tristan Hearn of interest. His Python Arduino Command API is a light-weight Python library for communicating with Arduino microcontroller boards from a connected computer using standard serial I/O, either physically or wirelessly. It is written using a custom protocol, similar to Firmata - and allows a user to quickly prototype programs for Arduino using Python code, or to simply read, control, troubleshoot or experiment with hardware connected to an Arduino board without ever having to recompile and reload sketches to the board itself.
At the current time only digital I/O, analogue I/O and servos are supported however more functions are planned to be added in the future. You can download the library from theproject github. And for more, we're on twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.
If you're new to Arduino, the first step is a solid board for your projects - our Freetronics Eleven - the Arduino-Uno compatible with low-profile USB socket, onboard prototyping space and easy to view LEDs: