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Instead of having a computer that talks thru the Arduino to a chip for programming, instead the Arduino itself programs the chip. This means you can program chips without having a computer involved. The good news about this technique is that it is incredibly fast, you can program chips 10x faster than with a computer and without having to type anything in.
If you end up buying a pick and place to assemble PCBs (or even if you're doing it by hand) you'll need to test out your boards! If you have an assembler do it for you, its still probably a good idea to have a jig you can give them. A good jig will tell you whats going right and whats going wrong. In this tutorial I will show how I designed a very basic jig with a "tested good" audible indicator. The board its testing is very simple but the basic premise can be expanded to large projects with ease.