Arduino Creator Massimo Banzi

Keep It Simple

Article from Issue 214/2018

Arduino's cofounder describes the quest for simplicity.

I am a massive fan of Arduino. Every year, during Christmas and Halloween, I build some exciting projects for outdoor display. All my projects are powered by Arduino and Raspberry Pi boards. Even my fully open source Original Prusa MK2 3D printer is powered by an Arduino board. When I found that Massimo Banzi, the Arduino project's cofounder, was at the same event I was attending, I reached out to him, and we sat down for an hour-long interview.

Banzi also teaches interaction design at many universities in Europe. That's how Arduino started. Back in 2002, Banzi went to teach at a design school in Northwest Italy called the Interaction Design Institute. The objective of teaching was to apply design principles to the way we interact with things made of digital technologies. It's no longer about rotating dials and pushing buttons. It's about sensors, web interfaces, and touch screens. It could be a challenge to borrow and bring ideas from the physical world into a digital world. As a result, some of these things can be really easy, simple, and pleasurable to use, and some can be very annoying.

"We try to make it simple and easy for people to use things that we design using modern technologies. We worked at trying to figure out how to make electronics simple enough that anyone could pick it up in a few weeks and use it as a creative tool," he said. "I had been working on a number of projects to achieve that, and the last project summarized all of that research. That project was Arduino."


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