Do-it-yourself programming is an essential part of any maker-oriented technology. But in the past a maker’s creative control was limited to the freedom that open-source software provided. Unless you were handy with a soldering gun, any given project might contain proprietary materials with inaccessible code because open-source hardware didn’t exist. Then in 2005, Massimo Banzi changed the game when he developed Arduino, a single-board open-source microcontroller that allows programming flexibility across a range of different projects.
As Arduino’s popularity has risen, so has the demand for more open-source hardware. In an interview with Ars Technica, Banzi explained why open-source matters in hardware as well as software. Just take this example from a recent story in WIRED on Jordan Penchas; a 13-year old boy from Houston who enjoys playing video games and experimenting with electronics.
When his friend gave him an Arduino Uno, he ingeniously used it to modify the gaming experience for his Nintendo Wii. WIRED reported that his work on Arduino will soon take an even bigger engineering leap next year using ArduLab—a space science kit employing Arduino technology that allows young programmers to remotely conduct a range of experiments on the International Space Station.
Banzi attended this year’s World Maker Faire to discuss the latest developments from Arduino, including projects that include open-source robotics and cloud technology.