Monday, March 10, 2014 - 22:17Hack! USB NeXT Keyboard with an Arduino Micro #ArduinoMicroMonday
On Adafruit Learning System there are a lot of cool tutorials and this particular one is based on the Arduino Micro used to upcycles old Next keyboards:
Ladyada and pt had an old NeXT keyboard with a strong desire to get it running on a modern computer. These keyboards are durable, super clicky, and very satisfying to use! However, they are very old designs, specifically made for NeXT hardware, pre-ADB and pre-USB! That means you can’t just plug the keyboard into an ADB or PS/2 port or PS/2 to USB converter (even though it looks similar). In fact, I have no idea what the protocol or pinout is named, so we’ll just call it “non-ADB NeXT Keyboard”
Click and follow the steps to make your own.
Monday, March 10, 2014 - 16:36Visualizing temperature and humidity with Plotly from a mountain edge
Matt from Plotly team, sent us this cool video about streaming remote temperature + humidity data with an Arduino Uno and visualizing with Plotly from a mountain edge, in Peachland, BC.
The Arduino (We’re using the UNOr3) was connected to wifi tethering from a mobile (through a WIFI Shield), from there it received data from a DHT22 temperature + humidity sensor and streamed to Plotly’s servers, to be visualized. View streamed data: plot.ly/1023/~demos
Enjoy the video and the beautiful visualisations!
Saturday, March 8, 2014 - 10:48Arduino driven floating black ball is the creepiest/coolest thing around
A hovering object that explores and manipulates transitional public spaces with particular acoustic properties. By constantly recording and replaying these ambient sounds, the levitating sphere produces a delayed echo of human activity.
Thursday, March 6, 2014 - 13:08Upcycling Umbrellas into a Blinky Bike Bag with Lilypad
The bike bag is made from umbrella material to make it waterproof, and I made it with safety features using the Lilypad light sensor and LEDs. My husband always forgets his reflectors but with the bikebag always being on the bike, he’ll have no excuse not to be a safe cyclist!
Follow the step-by-step tutorial on her website!
Wednesday, March 5, 2014 - 19:54Touchless rotary encoder from Indonesia
Tuesday, March 4, 2014 - 21:51Arduino Cofounder Has Some Advice For You, Hacker – FastcoLabs
Massimo Banzi shares things he wishes he knew when he was younger – By Ciara Byrne on FastcoLabs
The cofounder of the open source microcontroller Arduino, Massimo Banzi, doesn’t mince words. “Italy is the kind of a country where if you are young, you don’t exist,” he says. “It’s a country run by old farts.” Banzi decided not to accept the status quo.
Arduino was designed in Italy, by virtue of a foolish young Banzi on a quest for love. Today, Arduino is an enormously popular single-board microcontroller used to develop interactive objects.
The Power Of Love
Banzi’s career hasn’t followed a conventional path. “I was always interested in technology but I started using the Internet because I met this American girl when I was like 18,” he says. ”I wanted to write to her and the post would take three weeks. So I started using the Internet because I could email her. There wasn’t even a browser. And that became my career for several years. So every time I get a passion about something I try to do it on the side and it turns into my job. It’s also a curse also because you can never have a hobby.”
Banzi trained as a electrical engineer, but always had an interest in design. Ten years ago he was teaching interaction design at the now defunct Design Institute in Ivrea. Arduino started out as a tool to allow Banzi’s design students, most of whom has no technical background, to use technology in their projects.What do you think?
The Arduino Legacy
Arduinos take inputs from a variety of switches and sensors and can control lights, motors, and other physical outputs.
Microcontrollers are used in all kinds of hacker projects: Musician Imogen Heap’s musical glove and fish on wheels. Banzi estimates that there are now 1.5 million Arduinos in the wild matched by a similar number of clones and variations on the original microcontroller.
Banzi, and therefore ultimately Arduino, was influenced by designers like Germany’s Dieter Rams and Italian Achille Castiglioni. “First of all (Castiglioni) said a designer should never take themselves too seriously so you should just really laugh. A lot of designers, they take themselves very seriously but their output is not as relevant as Castiglioni, who was always laughing and making jokes.” Arduino was actually named after a bar Banzi frequented.
Advice For Young Technologists
Banzi’s favorite Arduino projects these days come largely from the fashion industry. ”For us wearable is a lot about fashion,” he explains. “An Italian fashion designer made a corset that actually teaches you how to breathe properly. It measures the way you breathe with sensors and then kind of pushes you in different paths. Somebody else made clothing that can adjust your posture when you are using the computer.”
I asked Banzi what advice he would give to his 20-year old self. “Well, it would be mostly about self-confidence,” he said. “Arduino started off because I worked on a number of projects but I never had the will to just go ahead and run with something. I stopped caring about what other people thought or did and I just did my own thing. A number of people in the technology world they sort of insulted me and told me that I was an idiot and I thought ‘Okay, I might be onto something because of all these people telling me that I’m wrong.’“
Banzi is a big believer in following your own path. “When I was was 20 I was much more focused on having a career and following a path and staying with a sort of a system. At some point I stopped caring about that. I changed jobs. I had different experiences. In the end I started doing whatever felt good to me. There’s a friend of mine on Facebook from when I was 15, who is like one year old than me, and he’s followed this very corporate-type path and then I looked at a picture and he looks like he’s 60. So I think at least I kept a little bit younger than him. At least I did whatever I wanted. ”
A favorite of Banzi’s among the current generation of Arduino entrepreneurs is Josef Prusa. “Josef Prusa is a 22-year-old guy from the Czech Republic who is actually the designer of one of the most well-known open source 3-D printers,” he says. “He started off a teenager playing with Arduino and then he started to make a 3-D printer, started to make his own designs. No background in technology. He studied economics. So he dropped out of university because he was not matching what he was doing and he built up this little company and designed these 3-D printers.”
It’s clear that Banzi sees a little of himself in Prusa. “The biggest advice is that if you have to make a huge mistake do it because you decided so,” he concludes, “and not because you followed somebody else’s path. When I made big mistakes like everyone does, at least it was all my fault.”What do you think?
Monday, March 3, 2014 - 20:49Bicolor Square Heart/Valentines Necklace #ArduinoMicroMonday
I use a micro, but just about anything will do. There’s some Sugru on there to keep the sharp bits from catching on clothing/pockets. Usb battery powers the whole thing. It’s pretty bright, definitely not subtle.
Thursday, February 27, 2014 - 18:24WebsocketClient for Intel Galileo + Spacebrew
Spacebrew is “an open, dynamically re-routable software toolkit for choreographing interactive spaces”, basically a way to connect smart objects of any kind using the WebSocket protocol.
Basically, they modified the Arduino WebsocketClient library to use it with Intel Galileo and specifically with Spacebrew:
The received situation was of a version of the Arduino WebsocketClient library: https://github.com/labatrockwell/ArduinoWebsocketClient (oriented to Spacebrew) adapted from: https://github.com/krohling/ArduinoWebsocketClient (implementing the online websocket protocol) neither of them supporting Galileo, an Intel SoC Pentium-based board. It has been revised, modified, and integrated, so that this version runs on Galileo and works for both the connection to a server such as echo.websocket.org and Spacebrew. This version includes extended tracing facilities for debugging (see WebSocketClient.h). The main changes with respect to the previous versions are marked by slash-slash-star-slash-slash.
You can explore the library on Github.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - 19:59The donation robot
Holger from Fablab Düsseldorf writes in about a small robot they prototyped with Arduino Uno, helping them raise some funds for their local space:
We created the idea in our non-commerical FabLab in Düsseldorf, Germany to create a small robot, who makes our vistors and guests aware of placing a small money donation. This robot was required to be transportable, robust and to draw as much attention as possible.
Thus, we included LED-Stripes, servos, sensors and sound to the project. Packed in a very old german vacuum cleaner. The work took about 1 year to construct, print and integrate all 3D-printed parts, wiring and software development with the Arduino Uno. But software development was the minor part, although parallel processing on the Arduino in order to run every component simultaneously required a small trick.
These are the components in action:
- Controller: Arduino Uno R3
- Software: Standard Processing and standard libraries
- Audio: VLSI VS1000 Audio Module incl. our own firmware that lets the Arduino control the board
- Distancesensor: HC-SR04 embedded in a modelled nose of FIMO
- 4 LED stripes (2 RGB on the backside)
- 6 power-LEDs for the top
- 1 servo for moving the top
- 1 Servo for moving the bill-mouth
- 3 distance sensors for bill and coin detection
- 1 switch for muting the audio module and 1 reset button
Tuesday, February 25, 2014 - 12:58An electronic diesel engine controlled with Arduino Mega
A few years ago Sven and Juho started working on the same type of project without knowing about each other and only by a coincidence their paths crossed. They wrote me about their cool story and the successful experiment of upgrading a diesel engine using Arduino Mega:
There’s a prettty large community out there in the car/motorsports hobbyist world that loves their vehicle but the engine is getting old, worn out and maybe even too bad to renovate. What people do is to take the engine from a newer car with a modern direct injected diesel engine, with all the cables, sensors and motor controller (the ECU) and adapt it to their beloved old car. This is exactly what is going on with the VW buses (called vanagons in the US) where the diesel engines from the beginning is a bit on the small side and 20 years later their performance is not much better than a garden tractor. A “new” electronically controlled engine is used to replace the old worn out engine, and with that follows better power, less pollution and way better fuel economy.
BUT, this takes time and is a complex project. You have to adapt the cablage, install the ECU (the motor controller) and must be sure that all the peripheral sensors sitting all around the engine is brought over to the new car and is working. You might also have to adapt the instrument cluster behind the steering wheel to make all the warning lights and gauges to work again.
The idea with the Arduino controller is to take the ENGINE ONLY and then let the Arduino manage the engine with the sensors that is on the engine itself. By doing this, the motor swap is reduced to a weekend project and everything in the bus is working as it was before. No instruments modification, no need for external valves and sensors, no adapted cablage. Just the Arduino.
You can find the whole documentations and the details of the project on Juho’s website.
Monday, February 24, 2014 - 23:00Prototyping a pressure sensor with Arduino Micro #ArduinoMicroMonday
John Thomson managed to build a pressure sensor to behave like a switch, when it’s in an idle state the LED is off, if you apply some pressure, light goes on:
The pressure pad doesn’t just work straight out the box – it requires a little bit of craft. What I’ve done is sandwich a pressure sensitive conductive sheet – known as Velostat – between two pieces of felt. I then stitched some conductive thread through each piece of felt – this applies a current to the pad and when the sandwich is put together, the circuit is complete. The Velostat acts like a resistor – the value changes when pressure is applied. It’s then just a case of writing out code that tells the LED to come on when the pressure reading goes over a certain threshold.
Thursday, February 20, 2014 - 14:54You can’t touch this!
“You can’t touch this” is the project submitted by Stefano Guglielmetti for the Connected Home Project Contest by Make Magazine. It’s composed by a movement sensor (PIR) plus a camera and an Arduino Yún. When the sensor perceive a movement, Arduino plays a sound, takes a picture and sends you an email:
The purpose is clear. You don’t want your kids to steal your food from the cupboard, or from the fridge, or someone to open your locket, or you want to take pictures to your pet stealing food, or you are Dwight Schrute and you want to finally unmask the coworker that puts your stuff into jelly… so you hide the device into the cupboard/fridge/locket, and when the device detects some movement, it will take a picture and post it right to your email! And if you use IFTTT, then you can automatically post the picture of the thief to Facebook, Twitter and show the thief’s face to the entire world!
The project is very simple, it doesn’t require any soldering/electronics skills and it can be assembled in minutes.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014 - 22:01Arduino Tour 2014: le nuove tappe di Rimini e Pula #Italy
L‘Arduino Tour torna nel 2014 con due tappe ’on the beach‘: Rimini e Pula. Le due location ospiteranno nelle prossime settimane due workshop dedicati all’alfabeto di Arduino e alle wearable technologies.
- L’appuntamento di Rimini si terrà sabato 22 febbraio negli spazi del nuovissimo MakerRn Lab di Rimini, dove Zoe Romano e Riccardo Marchesi di Plug&Wear introdurranno in otto ore di workshop il mondo dei wearables. Nella prima parte della giornata ci si avvicinerà a livello teorico alle applicazioni wearable, mentre nella seconda i parteciperanno produrranno un piccolo progetto con un sensore tessile. Appassionati di moda, design e smanettoni sono benvenuti, non è infatti richiesta alcuna conoscenza di programmazione o di taglio e cucito. Qui trovi i dettagli per prenotare uno degli ultimi posti ancora disponibili!
- La tappa sarda dell’Arduino Tour toccherà mercoledì 26 febbraio la sede dello IED di Cagliari (Viale Trento 39, h. 17) con un’introduzione alla scheda Arduino curata da Mirco Piccin e aperta a tutti. Tra giovedì 27 e venerdì 28 febbraio, il team Arduino si sposterà invece con Davide Gomba a Pula negli spazi del Parco Tecnologico della Sardegna, dove il Fablab di Sardegna Ricerche ospiterà le 16 ore di workshop vero e proprio. Al termine del percorso, i partecipanti avranno per competenze per mettere a punto mini-progetti, da implementare poi in autonomia a casa. Prenota la tua partecipazione qui!
Tuesday, February 18, 2014 - 15:14Could your skin act as an interface?
Kinisi by Katia Vega is a project combining FX makeup and electronic sensors. It’s prototyped using Arduino Uno and creates interactions with a smile, a wink, raising eyebrows and closing lips. As you can see in the video below, each movement of the muscles can trigger different light patterns.
Larca Meicap, a special effects makeup artist, combined her FX makeup materials with our sensors for precisely applying them on specific muscles. LEDs were also hidden on the skin and hair. Digital signals collected by the sensors are sent to a microcontroller that activates a light sequence on Kinisi’s face and hair.
I am glad the video was filmed at Aluzcine by the cinematographer Cesar Fajardo and his team, and under the direction of Juan Carlos Yanaura. Also a special music track was composed for this video by Maribel Tafur.
Monday, February 17, 2014 - 22:08Arduino Micro USB IR Remote Adapter Board #ArduinoMicroMonday
Steve Yoshida is a systems engineer and worked on a project involving Arduino Micro and Infrared remote adapter:
My new Arduino sat on the shelf for a few weeks before I came up with a quick project that I wanted to use it for. I use XBMC a lot on both PC and Raspberry Pi and wanted a quick way to get IR keyboard inputs from a remote. I had used the IR library for Arduino in the past so I was already pretty familiar with the hardware and code involved. What made the Arduino Micro ideal for this project was the keyboard emulation supported by the board and also its compact size…
Take a look at the complete post on his blog with more pics and the sketch.
Thursday, February 13, 2014 - 22:2629th of March: A celebration of 10 years of Arduino and its worldwide community
Arduino Day is a worldwide celebration of Arduino’s first 10 years. It’s 24 hours full of events – both official and independent, anywhere around the world – where people interested in Arduino can meet, share their experiences, and learn more.
Arduino invites Arduino user groups, makerspaces, hackerspaces, fablabs, associations, studios, educators, beginners and pro to take part to a day of celebration.
Every Arduino Day event is modular. All over the world, organizers can plan different types of activities according to different audiences and skills.
You can attend any event or organize one for your community.
It doesn’t matter whether you are an expert or a newbie, an engineer, designer, crafter or maker: Arduino Day is open to anyone who wants to celebrate Arduino and all the things that have been done (or can be done!) with it.
The events set up by independent organizers will offer different types of activities, tailored to local audiences all over the world.
- Fill out this online form to submit your proposal.
- Once your idea is approved, a pin marking the spot of your event will be added to the map on the Arduino Day website.
You’ll also receive a confirmation email with a link to download your Digital Kit, which includes:
- Official Arduino Day posters
- Event flyer
- Official signage system
- And a 10% discount code for the Arduino Store
The call will close 15th March 2014. Ready to join us? Follow this hashtag #ArduinoD14 and use it to promote your event!
Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - 13:24DIY IWBs for Officine Arduino 2nd Birthday
Arduino has a little (yet effective) bit in Turin, and that’s Officine Arduino. We opened this place two years ago to offer a shelter to the Arduinians in northern Italy and host a makerspace, for their creations. We witnessed (and joined) the foundation of the Torino Fablab, an association offering the very same machines to anybody interested about the maker movement in Turin. On top of that, the all ardu-maker-fab-co-creative space is hosted in Toolbox Coworking.
It’s tough to weight all the efforts and failures and successes we reached in these two years. We’ve seen the birth of Verkstad Arduino, the Swedish Arduino Office which is sharing the same principles we’ve been looking for in conceiving this place: mixing the company approach and the horizontal, informal one of makerspaces and coworking spaces (aka collaboration spaces).
I love the way Arduino Team dealt with the growing of the project: create different little places rather than having a huge one.
On top of that, Officine Arduino wouldn’t have been so without the help of Smartprojects (one of the main producers of Arduino). A selfless and generous helping hand towards us and towards italian makers in general. They lended us their lasercutter for 2 years, now that we are setted up they are going to lend the very same lasercut to another newborn fablab! This is the picture I took when I broght the lasercut back last week.
Last year we celebrated our birthday with Josef Prusa and the building of ten reprap 3d printers. This year we want to dedicate our birthday to education, so we are going to host and build Interactive digital writeboards during the week end, following the Wiildos opensource project, with Pietro Pilolli (project host with Matteo Ruffoni e Massimo Bosetti).
Friday is important for yet another reason: Toolbox is going to host the press conference of the newborn italian maker association, inwhich Massimo plays the role of president: Make in Italy Cdb Onlus. If you are a journalist or maker you can enroll here to join the press conference.
tl;dr: we are partying this upcoming friday, if you pass by let us know, FB Event. Interested in building your own Interactive Open Source Digital Writeboard? Join the Make In Italy Cdb Onlus Press conference here.
Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - 15:34Time to “Hack the Arduino Robot” – second phase
RobotChallenge staff updated us with some numbers regarding the “Hack the Arduino Robot” competition launched at the end of January and sponsored by RS Components. They received 58 submissions from 20 different countries of the world! 10 projects were then selected by an international Jury composed by David Cuartielles (Arduino), David Tarrant (RS Components, Design Spark), Karim Jafarmadar (INNOC) and Pavel Petrovic (Robotika.sk).
Now it’s time for the second phase. They are going to receive an Arduino Robot each, implement the project they submitted and publish the results (including a short video) by the 23rd of February.
The 10 projects selected are the following:
- OFF RObot / John Rees
“I plan to design and 3D-print different legs for the robot, so that it can be placed in a dock and the rotation of the wheels can enable it to ‘walk’. The primary goal would be to design and print a spider-legs (octopod) or beetle-legs (hexapod) attachment, enabling the robot able to travel on uneven surfaces such as grass. After this has been tested and is functional I would like to add sensors to the legs to enable me to design optimal walking attachments with maximal efficiency, as well as explore the use sensors on the feet to measure things such as such as moisture/temperature/rigidity of the surface and potentially adjust the walk cycle to suit the conditions.”
- An under floor doctor / Naoki Fujihara
“My proposal is using an Arduino robot as an extermination of harmful insects machine for house. In Japan, there are white ants or rats under floor of houses . These under floor sometimes unsanitary but workers have to into there and exterminate them. I want to solve this real life problem. My idea is mounting on some items on an Arduino robot as follows: a camera for catching situation in real-time and a function to put pest poison or traps on a appropriate place. And some sensors that can measure humidity whether the under floor condition is a room for improvement. With an Arduino robot’s smallness and mobility, this idea can be a good solution.”
- EnergyBot / Alex Shaw
“The Energy saver robot will travel round its location detecting the number of lights that are on and windows that are open and rooms that are unused, temperature, drafts, cold spots, carbon monoxide, co2 or other hazardous substances. Energybot will tweets/message to the owner to remind them to be more energy efficient and of any impending dangers. It also records data to allow the user to find out how efficient and safe each area is over time. Energybot helps to keep running costs low and automates the experience of chasing my family to shut the window!. Energybot keeps an eye on heating efficiency, average temperature, energy consumption by room and helps me to maximise the usage of my energy.”
- RoboPet / Roberto Riggio
“Pets often feel alone at home when their guardians are out for work. RoboPet is a robot companion for pets. It is able to play sounds either pre-recorder or directly streamed from the guardian smartphone. The guardian can control the robot remotely using a simple web browser or a smartphone. RoboPet is also equipped with a camera and a laser pointer to interact with the pet.”
- AWBB – ArduWellBeingBot / Florent Brodziak
“This small autonomous robot, free to move itself in a place is able to measure surrounding environment quality. It can track humidity, temperature, ambient noise and light, Air quality in the way to map and classify this place as a pleasant or nasty for humans. All the data can be consulted via internet on a map indicating the place location and a note. This robot could be used for example in public places (Mall, Railway Station , Airport, Park…) where people needs or want to stay for a moment. It will allow people to find the best place for them, for their health and it will imply more place’s responsible to improve the environment quality.”
- Eyeduino / Eduard Petrenko
“Let your Arduino robot see the world! An idea is to capture low-resolution image (estimation is 32×32 black&white) from analog camera using some kind of video sync separator like Texas Instruments LM1881 and some comparator schema. We plan to use prototype regions on the robot’s control plate to mount the schema. Modern technical vision approach requires more powerful CPU and much more memory for image processing, but for some tasks low resolution seems to be enough. We plan to demonstrate this by exercises like dotted line following and “cockroach hunting” – following some little movement changing target. We expect this approach to be an effective introduction step into technical vision in robotics.”
- Nemo / Rajan Ayyappan
“I would build a Hide and Seek Robot: We create a set of hiding places, draw lines and feed the location data into the robot. At the start of the game, you close your eyes and count up to 20. The robot will go and hide somewhere. You will start a timer on the robot as you finish 20. You have to find the robot and stop the timer within a certain period to win that round. The game makes robots look more human. It will be a teaching aid and we could add sensory experience to influence the robot in selection of hiding place. This data could be analyzed for insight into decision making process.”
- PendelBot / Dieter Schön
“The PendelBot has oversized wheels (diameter ~30-40cm), so that the Robot in between them acts as a pendulum. A battery pack underneath the motor board ensures that the center of weight is extentric. When the motors accelerate the wheels, the torque turns the chassis in the opposite direction. An acceleration sensor will limit the angle of the chassis to 90°. The robot can be remotely controlled via bluetooth by an app on an android device. This app uses yaw and pitch angles of the device to control the robots speed and direction. This setup can work as pendulum or inverted pendulum (thus posing as a mini segway(c)).”
- Battery robot / Sebastian Groza
“Arduino robot will be used as a core for a used battery collector system (robot). Robot can be mount on top of a usual battery collector container and will have a receptacle for used batteries. Arduino robot is used to sort the batteries by size, AA, AAA and others. AA and AAA batteries will be harvested for remaining power with a step-up converter. Recovered energy is used for charging a backup accumulator, power a LED banner or even charging the robot. After complete depletion, batteries are dumped in collector container along with other battery types.”
- Garment Transporter / Jacob Glueck
“A couple of years ago, I built an Arduino-powered shirt-folding machine which folds clothes. Using the Arduino robot from the RobotChallenge, I will build a device to remove folded clothes from the machine and to stack them. My idea is special because it will involve two Arduinos (the Arduino Uno in the shirt folder, and the Arduino robot) which will have to communicate, and because it will be very useful. The robot will solve the real life problem of laundry folding by making the task easier and faster and by doing so nicely; the robot will use a custom-designed gripper to transport garments while keeping them perfectly folded.”
Two projects will receive an award donated by RS Components:
- Best project & documentation Award
- Community Award.
Check this PDF to discover the details and the cool prizes are visible in the pic below!
Monday, February 10, 2014 - 22:14GPS Powered LED Speedometer #ArduinoMicroMonday
Monday, February 10, 2014 - 09:52Making is Best When it’s Done Together
This month I’d like to talk about the idea of making together and what it means for Arduino. The whole idea of being a maker involves concepts of collaboration, community, and working with other people. It’s very hard to be a maker and be by yourself locked in a room or even in a lab. It’s really something that involves a lot of collaborations at different levels.
Many people today know what Arduino is, but very few know about two projects I did before Arduino. They were my first attempts to solve the problems my students had in prototyping with electronics. I consider them “creative failures.” As makers, we welcome failure as a way to understand how to do it better the next time.
Those initial projects I prototyped were not working so well because the technology was not really good but mostly because when I developed these things I did them by myself. I didn’t involve other people and I was very inefficient in trying to get them to work properly. They solved a number of problems my students had, but they didn’t really get a lot of momentum.
Ten years ago I started teaching at Interaction Design Institute in Ivrea (unfortunately it doesn’t exist anymore) where the Olivetti company used to be. In the picture below you can see their building and it’s not hard to notice it was created with a “design” approach. Olivetti was one of the first companies in the world to really apply design to everything: from their typewriters, to their buildings and to their posters, etc. Mr. Olivetti had that idea factories should have paintings on the walls because workers should be surrounded by beauty and knowledge. It was part of a bigger approach putting people at the center. It was in this context at the institute where we developed a number of projects before we came out with Arduino in the shape you know it now.
If you peel back the surface, underneath Arduino project you can find a lot of collaboration. On one side you can see a selection of pretty amazing open source software contributing to what Arduino has become. I’m talking about GCC, processing, wiring, AVR, and all the other contributions from the community. On the other side, I started to involve specific people.
I met David Cuartielles when he was researching in Ivrea and we started to talk about things we wanted to see in the platform to help our students getting started with electronics. Slowly we also got in touch with other people: Tom Igoe, a professor at ITP in New York with great experience; David Mellis, an amazing software developer who joined Ivrea from MIT; and Gianluca Martino, an electronics engineer who knows every company involved in electronics in the area. He’s now taking care of the manufacturing.
I gathered all these people one-by-one because we wanted to make an open project based on collaboration. All the founders brought their own experience into Arduino and later what became really important was the Arduino community. At the moment there is a community much larger than number of official Arduino boards we have sold. There are more than 180,000 people subscribed to the forum and more than 4 million monthly page views to the website with visitors spending about five minutes on each visit.
Arduino was born out of different contributions and it taught us to follow this path with most of our products. We started collaborating with other people and companies of the open source community, extending our role as makers into ideas and projects becoming products. Recently, we told you the story of the Arduino robot and an example of collaboration.
For example, some years ago, with Adafruit we developed the Arduino Micro packing all of the power of the Arduino Leonardo in a smaller board. We met with Limor and Phil sharing a lot of ideas and more projects are coming up in the next months.
At some point we also worked with Telefonica, a global mobile operator, to make the Arduino Gsm Shield. The technology of the shield is basic but we worked really hard to develop the API to use the module very easily. What’s important about these collaborations is not the technology but other things like lowering the barriers to access a sim card and allowing people to activate it very simply, just with a credit card. The value we created was about opening up a collaboration and making a big company like Telefonica aware of the impact of a product like this in the maker community.
A similar thing, but with a smaller company, happened for Arduino Yún. DogHunter, based in Taiwan, designed the board together with us. The factory we usually work with in Europe didn’t have the experience to work with wi-fi technology so we teamed up with a factory in Taiwan which had an experience with millions of access points. Arduino Yún became the first official board made in Asia.
In the first half of 2014 we are going to release the Arduino TRE. It’s a combination of a Beaglebone and an Arduino plus a number of things designed to make it very convenient for people to get started. We worked with Texas Instruments and especially Beagleboard, which shares with us a series of commitments to open source hardware and similar goals and ideas, like the desire for simplicity and ease of use.
Once again we realized how easier it is to find someone who can give you a cheaper piece of hardware, but in the long run, even if it’s harder to find someone who shares the same set of values, it’s well worth it.
We believe in the open source movement and everyone should be really aware that it can develop successfully if everyone takes from it, but especially if people and companies contribute back. That’s why it’s important to highlight who creates a positive loop and nurture knowledge sharing and collaboration.
Even if there is the perception the maker movement is much more U.S.-centric, with a lot of visibility for American makers, events, and companies, we believed that we could do something to improve the relations among the movement here in Europe and activate more positive loops.
We realized that one of the issues was about language. Many European makers are very active in their local community, but they don’t Speak English. That’s why we decided to invest time and resources to create an European Maker Faire in Rome, inviting people from all over the continent. It was not easy to organize it, but I can say that it was an incredible success with more than 35,000 participants. It proved that in Europe people want to get together, know each other and cross the boundaries of the over 27 countries with different languages.
Maker Faire is not an event that has to do strictly with people making hardware. For me it’s much more important because it opens up channels of communication between makers and the concept of making together. We are happy to show what makers can do and how they could collaborate toward a future of great open source projects and, later, bringing benefit to communities around the world.