For the electronic geeks, the Arduino is a tiny, handy and inexpensive control board that's powerful enough to allow its users to make it do a variety of things. The Bartendro, for example, is a modular cocktail dispensing robot that runs on Arduino.
Italian magazine domus went to visit the factory in Italy where the boards are made -- iconically, the same factory that gave birth to Olivetti -- and reveals how "a genuine and innovative 'made in Italy' product is rendered possible by exploring old and new business models.".
In the foothills of the Graeae [Alps], one of the project's co-founders Gianluca Martino guides us through the various facilities, starting with Smart Projects, a company he helped establish that is involved in the creation and design of the well-known blue microprocessors. Martino explains that Arduino does not produce anything under that name but is supported by a series of outside companies that have the necessary skills to absorb the brand's manufacturing needs. So it's not surprising to find that some of the components are assembled by the same company that produces the circuits for headlights of well-known German cars.
After a brief introduction, we are taken a few kilometres away to System Elettronica, where the circuits are printed. The company's proud owner, Ludovico Apruzzese, greets us and takes us on the grand tour. The company is small but well organized. All the machines are made exclusively in Italy, as are the products and the interiors painted in the red-white-and-green of the Italian flag. Apruzzese is keen to stress the importance that design played in Arduino's success. For the first time, a microprocessor became an independent product instead of something to hide away in a box. The color choice, the design, the graphics, and the packaging by Turin-based Todo helped create a highly recognizable icon.
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