Massimo Banzi: How Arduino is Open-Sourcing Imagination

“You don’t need anyone’s permission to make something great.” These are the words of Massimo Banzi, Italian engineer and co-inventor of Arduino, an open-source microcontroller that’s propelled thousands of people around the world into using data science to become inventors themselves. These affordable open-source microcontrollers help artists, designers, and other electronics amateurs embed interactive technology into their creative projects.

With applications that include brain exhibits at the American Museum of Natural History, a DIY kit that will send a Tweet when the houseplants need water, and customized Geiger counters to measure radiation in Japan, Banzi’s Arduino is expanding imagination and making an interactive difference across the globe. Digital manufacturing has introduced the Third Industrial Revolution, but Massimo says there’s another revolution occurring within open-source hardware and the maker’s movement.

Arduino is part of this open-source revolution, which was created by Massimo’s team at the Design Institute Ivrea. Massimo and his team of data science masters teach interactive design, which involves taking a design from the simple shape of an object and developing an interactive version of it. His team wanted to take this concept one step further and design objects that interact with human beings, through the use of a tool that would be simple for anyone to use, and that’s how Arduino was born. With this capability, amateur inventors can build the things they need that they can’t find on the market to “scratch [their] own itch,” as Massimo puts it. Since Arduino’s hardware, software, documentation, and hands-on teaching methodology are all open-source, anyone can go online and download it to create something that meets their needs. Watch his TED Talk: How Arduino is Open-Sourcing Imagination.