I played around with the TI MSP430 LaunchPad for a while, since it is only $4.30, but it's not quite as beginner-friendly as the Arduino
. I eventually settled on the Arduino-compatible Teensy
for its low price ($16) and small size.
For testing I used the TI Light Probe , since it was handy and I could test the sensor output by pointing it at the window or covering it with my hand, but this should work with any analog Vernier sensors
You'll also need some short wires and perhaps a breadboard. A BT631A
jack also makes things easier.