Massimo Banzi is the co-founder of the Arduino project along with David Cuartielles, Tom Igoe, Gianluca Martino, and David A. Mellis. In 2005, Banzi and his team created the Arduino microcontroller to serve the needs of Banzi’s students at the Interaction Design Institute of Ivrea. The students were looking for a cheap microcontroller that could be used to program their projects and at the time the cheapest micro controller on the market sold for around $100. Arduino was created to be open source and available to designers and artists with little to no engineering background.
Banzi is an advocate for open source hardware, as well as an interaction designer, and an educator. Prior to creating the Arduino microcontroller, Banzi worked as a consultant for major clients including Prada, Artemide, Persol, Whirlpool, V&A Museum and Adidas. He also worked as a software architect for clients such as Italia Online, Sapient, Labour Party, BT, MCI WorldCom, SmithKlineBeecham, Storagetek, BSkyB and boo.com.
Arduino is an “open source electronic prototyping platform”. As an open source hardware, Arduino is compatible with Windows, Linux, and Mac as well as other electronics currently on the market. It is also backwards compatible to previous versions of Arduino. Banzi recognizes that Arduino is not the only microcontroller on the market and speaks highly of his competitors while pointing out the differences in intended users. Banzi recognizes that the Arduino user has morphed from a design student to the hobbyist, artist, and designer. The possibilities are limitless with current uses as varied as a device that sends tweets when houseplants need water, to an exhibit on brains at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. In an Ars Technica interview Banzi estimated that 80% of the projects at the Maker Faire used Arduinos in some way.
David Cuartielles, a co-founder of Arduino, works for Medea research platform, is writing his PhD in prototyping tools for education, is supervising the Arduino web-structure, and is teaching university classes.
Tom Igoe is a professor at NYU with a Master’s Degree in Interactive Telecommunication. He is a core partner in Arduino and he is responsible for the direction of the project. He manages the documentation and examples for the project as well as managing the relations between Arduino and the companies that license the brand.
Gianluca Martino oversees production and distribution for Arduino and is focussed on the emerging markets of China, India, and South America.
David Mellis is the lead software developer of Arduino. Mellis is a graduate student at MIT with the High-Low Tech group.
Arduino is a product that was intended for a small audience of design students but found its niche with a much larger audience that continues to grow. The brand has not spread through traditional means, it spread quickly online without any money spent on marketing or advertising. The success of the brand has to do with the variety of applications as well as the relatively quick learning curve. The rise of the mentality of creating for the sake of creating and the Makers Faire community has helped spread the concept of the Arduino and the reasonable price has meant that a variety of people have experimented and played with it.
Brodkin, J. (2013). Arduino creator explains why open source matters in hardware, too. Retrieved from http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2013/10/arduino-creator-explains-why-open-source-matters-in-hardware-too/#p3
Kushner, D. (2011) The Making of Arduino: How five friends engineered a small circuit board that’s taking the DIY world by storm. Retrieved from http://spectrum.ieee.org/geek-life/hands-on/the-making-of-arduino