Lunch with Arduino co-founder Massimo Banzi

Massimo Banzi, the co-founder of the Arduino project, was in San Francisco today after spending the weekend at FOO Camp, and he dropped by for lunch with me at Wired. As you know we're huge Arduino fans, so this was a rare treat to learn more about how the project works and where it's going. We, along with Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino, his business manager at his IT consultancy, tinker.it, happily chatted for a couple hours. Here, from memory, are a few of the tidbits I gleaned.

  • The Arduino roadmap includes new boards with speciality functions, including GPS, ethernet, ZigBee wireless, and cellular wireless.
  • The next generation of Arduino core boards will include Atmel's AtMega line with 64 I/O pins and 256k of memory.
  • After that, the project will move to Atmel's 32-bit line of chips.
  • People are considering implementing a proper debugger on the current Arduino platform, which would be great
  • Arduino could be ported to the ARM chips pretty easily, although there are no plans to do so at the moment
  • The project pays its bills by charging a license fee for officially certified third-party Arduino boards, such as the Arduino Nano
  • People think Arduino was named after a 15th century Italian king. It's actually named after the pub where the founders first started planning the project.
  • Projects such as our own ArduPilot and BlimpDuino, which use derivatives of the Arduino name, are generally fine, but should be sold as "Arduino compatible" rather than called Arduino boards.
  • Massimo and I talked a lot about what the breakout product would be for open source hardware in general and the Arduino project specifically. Odds are that it's no one product, but instead speciality products in different industrial verticals. But we agreed the most fertile ground for open source hardware is in the emerging GPS+wireless space: location-aware, net-connected sensing devices, or what Bruce Sterling calls "spimes" (a neologism combining "space" and "time").
  • Finally, he left me with a gift: one of the last remaining blank boards from the first version of Arduino, back in 2005. Only a few hundred were made. Here's a picture:

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3D Robotics
Comment by Jordi Muñoz on July 15, 2008 at 10:54pm
=) nice board!,
Comment by Ram Narula on August 8, 2009 at 1:33pm
Nice article, if you have a chance you should check out Xduino project as it enables Arduino programming commands + extended commands on ARM Cortex-M3 STM32 72MHz 512kb FLASH 64kb RAM boards (Xduino version 0.31). All Arduino commands are supported except only one command (analogReference) as the board used for testing does not have Vref pin. Xduino site is at www.xduino.com

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