The Making of Arduino [Geek History]

By Jason Fitzpatrick on November 30th, 2011

The open-source Arduino board is the heart of thousands of different DIY projects–it would be easy to think that the Arduino has always been around. The ubiquitous little hobby board, however, is but a scant six years old.

At technology blog IEEESpectrum they delve into the history of the Arduino board and its quiet origins in a small Italian town. Here’s an excerpt from their lengthy write up about the the origin and history of the beloved Arduino:

Arduino is a low-cost microcontroller board that lets even a novice do really amazing things. You can connect an Arduino to all kinds of sensors, lights, motors, and other devices and use easy-to-learn software to program how your creation will behave. You can build an interactive display or a mobile robot and then share your design with the world by posting it on the Net.

Released in 2005 as a modest tool for Banzi’s students at the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea (IDII), Arduino has spawned an international do-it-yourself revolution in electronics. You can buy an Arduino board for just about US $30 or build your own from scratch: All hardware schematics and source code are available for free under public licenses. As a result, Arduino has become the most influential open-source hardware movement of its time.

The little board is now the go-to gear for artists, hobbyists, students, and anyone with a gadgetry dream. More than 250 000 Arduino boards have been sold around the world—and that doesn’t include the reams of clones. “It made it possible for people do things they wouldn’t have done otherwise,” says David A. Mellis, who was a student at IDII before pursuing graduate work at the MIT Media Lab and is the lead software developer of Arduino.

Hit up the link below to read the entire story–including how the Arduinio board came to bear the name of 9th century Italian king.

The Making of Arduino [IEEESpectrum via Wired]

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 11/30/11
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