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Massimo Banzi: How Arduino Is Open-Sourcing Imagination

Massimo Banzi: How Arduino is open-sourcing imagination

Massimo Banzi helped invent the Arduino, a tiny, easy-to-use open-source microcontroller that's inspired thousands of people around the world to make the coolest things they can imagine -- from toys to satellite gear. Because, as he says, "You don't need anyone's permission to make something great."

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I remember seeing this on a short piece they ran on the Discovery Channel during their program ads, a group of women in Sweden had designed a system where they could use a digital pen to draw in 3D space in front of them, which was motion captured - they'd literally draw a chair or a vase or something in mid-air, and the result was captured and sent to the printer. Awesome stuff.. I wonder if this is what people felt when they saw the first dot matrix printers?

Who wants Pie?

Raspberry Pi, that is. The just-launched do it yourself all-in-one PC / development board that can be had for $25-$35? It doesn't quite have the scene that arduino does yet but it's definitely going places. It's been delayed months but I finally got mine.


Working for Liberty, Freedom and Prosperity in the Constitution State.

One problem

with these kinds of products (the ARM/Linux sort, not the Arduino) that always seems to come up is that you can't get all of the hardware docs so you can't actually code to the bare metal.

E.g., from here:

"To get the full SoC documentation you would need to sign an NDA with Broadcom, who make the chip and sell it to us. But you would also need to provide a business model and estimate of how many chips you are going to sell."

If you are a hobbyist who wants to program the hardware you purchased, tough luck. Broadcom will not be talking to you.

This (and the massive flexibility FPGAs provide) is why I've gone down the FPGA path and basically written-off more traditional computing platforms.

There's plenty of hobbyists

There's plenty of hobbyists working with the Pi, not having broadcom's docs isn't necessarily a deal breaker. But yes, it's not fully open, your point is taken. I have great faith in the abilities of the OSS community however. I've personally set up many a wireless card or printer that was reverse engineered to work with linux without manufacturer support. And for $25 it can't be beat, I think it will have a bright future.

Working for Liberty, Freedom and Prosperity in the Constitution State.

Just to be clear,

my issue is that "you can't actually code to the bare metal". I.e., I'm not interested in using Linux (or any OS I've ever seen). I just want to take the hardware and load my bits on it to make it do exactly what I want without some 3rd party (like an OS) getting in the way. (In my experience with embedded systems, an OS only has a few purposes: Make your system require more memory. Make your system run slower and erratically. Make your system buggy. Prevent you from doing things the hardware supports but the OS does not. Make creation of your system more complicated. Make analysis of your system for correctness effectively impossible.)

"I have great faith in the abilities of the OSS community however."

Having examined such code (and having had to debug Linux kernel problems on the job), let's just say I have a different opinion of their "abilities".

Linux may be a solution for many people. (Or they may at least believe it is.) It's just not for me.

The Arduino is cool

but its The Open-Source Community that's even cooler! Sharing and Contributing to make something better for everyone on earth is something I'v been fighting for a looonnnggg time. Its Unbelievable to think that moment has just begun!!

His name is Edward Snowden

What is Capitalism?

Technology is Liberty's greatest ally

Technology is Liberty's greatest ally, and proof that free markets will always (eventually) topple monopolies, even those protected by government.

** PCs / the Internet broke the "Information Monopoly" of universities & gov't-run libraries.
** BitTorrent / P2P broke the Copyright Monopoly
** Bitcoin is breaking the Fiat Monetary Monopoly
** 3D Printers will eventually break the Production (Intellectual Property) Monopoly... ironic that the longest standing fixture in economics (the production industry) will be the last to go.

The only real weapon tyrants have against us freedom-lovers is to shut down the internet, which is why fighting SOPA/PIPA/ACTA and their reincarnations of the **UTMOST** importance... even above that of getting Ron Paul elected.

It's also why we must figure out how to create a "Bit ISP" (a.k.a. Mesh ISP)... an anonymous and secure P2P network of users who create our own user-owned road to the internet. Only then will there be nothing left but the use of deadly force to stop us. Let's pray that by that point we can print our own weapons and body armor.


This is really cool.

We have what is called a maker space in my city, where local artists and engineers get together an make random cool stuff, all the while sharing tools and materials. It's a sort of collective but I think it is something that the ROn Paul movement would really benefit from. Check out your local maker space or hack shop and get involved!



destructive patent and copyright laws

destructive patent and copyright laws.

It has been argued that rapid advancement of the humane race stopped with the introduction and enforcement for proprietary rights.

Really? Why have the greatest

Really? Why have the greatest technological advances taken place during an age of enforcement of property rights?

Good Question, but...

It's important to remember that correlation and causation are not the same thing. It could be possible that we didn't live up to our potential; that much more was possible. Certainly obscene amounts of resources and talent have been diverted by the state.

Bravo for promoting this TED video on DP.

This is awesome!

What a great idea!

~Your perception becomes your reality~

Arduinos are awesome

I have worked extensively with Arduinos, and can vouch for how they've tremendously lowered the barrier to entry in this field. It's FANTASTIC. I'm working on a wearable input device based on this technology (the Keyglove).

I can only agree with this!

I can only agree with this! :)

Yesterday I also mentioned a few links in a post about food self-sufficiency by growing your all own vegetables.

You can use Arduinos to monitor greenhouses and/or hydroponic systems.

Please see:

There are also projects like 'garduino' (garden + arduino), bitponics, arduinoponics, etc.

So much inspiration for great projects! :D


I feed on this stuff... If you guys like talks like this go to TED.com they have a lot of insightful information. I go there regularly and its really great stuff :D

I've seen the kits at Radio Shack

but haven't gotten interested enough to get one (yet).

reedr3v's picture

Open source spontaneous order