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I caught up with Federico Musto, President and CEO of Arduino SRL, at the 2016 Bay Area Maker Faire. Their company is showing off several new boards being prepared for release as early as next month. In partnership with Nordic Semi and ST Microelectronics they have put together some very powerful offerings which we discuss in the video below.

arduino-primo-core-alicepad-star-otto-lcdThe new boards are called Arduino Primo, Arduino Core, Arduino Alicepad, and Arduino Otto.

The first up is the Primo, a board built to adhere to the UNO form factor. This one is packing an interesting punch. The main micro is not an Atmel chip, but a Nordic nRF52832 ARM Cortex-M4F chip. Besides being a significantly fast CPU with floating-point support, the Nordic IC also has built-in Bluetooth LE and NFC capabilities, and the board has a PCB antenna built in.

On an UNO this is where the silicon would end. But on the Primo you get two more controllers: an ESP8266 and an STM32F103. The former is obvious, it brings WiFi to the party (including over-the-air programming). The STM32 chip is there to provide peripheral control and debugging. Debugging is an interesting development and is hard to come by in the Arduino-sphere. This will use the OpenOCD standard, with as the recommended GUI.

The same nRF52 microcontroller is present on the Arduino Core and the Alicepad, which are targeted at wearable electronics. The circular form factor of the Alicepad mimics the familiar sewable form of the Lilypad.

Arduino Star Otto Arduino Star LCD

Arduino’s other offerings are where the horsepower really gets crazy. The Otto board boasts a gigantic STM32F469: a 169-pin ARM Cortex-M4F clocked at 180 MHz. The chip has a ridiculous assortment of built-in peripherals, and you’re not likely to run out of either pins or CPU cycles. It’s also got a hardware graphics accelerator, so it’s no surprise to find that the Otto has a DSI-IF connector on the back that is designed to plug into the LCD screen also being demonstrated at the event: a capacitive touch 480×800 display. The Otto also includes an ESP8266 to provide WiFi (why not, right?).

There are a few question marks in my mind on this one. First off, the Otto and the LCD have a product-family designator of “Star” which will be assigned to all the boards that feature the STM controllers. This seems a bit confusing (Star Otto, Star LCD, etc) but I guess they want to differentiate them from the “normal” Arduini. But are these devices becoming too complex to bear the Arduino name? Maybe, but the UNO is always going to be there for you and the new boards give you access to newer and more powerful features. Whether or not this complexity can be easily harnessed will depend on the software libraries and the IDE. After all, I think Donald Papp made a great point earlier in the week about the value of Arduino comfort in custom electronic work.

The Lawsuits

Finally, I asked Federico if there is any news about the Arduino versus Arduino trademark litigation. He spoke with us almost a year ago on the topic, but he had no new information for us at this point. (The US court case may be ruled on as early as July of this year, so there’s probably not much he could say, but I had to try.)

Federico spoke a little bit about the conflict between the two Arduinos, and said that it was brewing inside the company long before he got there. And it does appear that both companies calling themselves Arduino are trying to outdo each other with new boards and new initiatives, and going in different directions. If there is a bright side, it’s that this competition may end up building us better hardware than a single company would, because both are making bets on what will put them out ahead of the game.

Filed under: Arduino Hacks, cons, Interviews

I caught up with [Massimo Banzi] at the Shenzhen Maker Faire to talk about manufacturing in China, the current and future of Arduino, and how recent events may shape the Open Hardware landscape.

The big news from Arduino at SZMF is a new partnership with Seeed Studio to manufacture theGenuino. This is an official Arduino board manufactured in China for the Chinese market. Knowing that the board is official and connected to the founders is key point to get makers to adopt this hardware. [Massimo] makes a good point about the ideal of “Proudly Made in China” which I could see as a selling point for the burgeoning maker market there. This may be a growing principle in China, but in an ocean of clone boards it sounds like a tough path forward. On the other hand, their booth was mobbed with people putting in new orders.

[Massimo] belives the current Arduino strife has actually served to move the project forward. He cites the schism between and for catalyzing manufacturing partnerships with both Adafruit Industries and Seeed Studios. This has resulted in official Arduino hardware that is not made only in Italy, but made in the region the hardware will be used; NYC for US orders, Shenzhen for China orders.

Our discussion wraps up with a plea from [Massimo] for the Hackaday community to be a little less fickle about projects using Arduino. That one makes me chuckle a bit!

Filed under: Arduino Hacks, Interviews

Arduino Cofounder Has Some Advice For You, Hacker – FastcoLabs

fastcolabs, inspiration, interviews, Massimo Banzi Commenti disabilitati su Arduino Cofounder Has Some Advice For You, Hacker – FastcoLabs 


Massimo Banzi shares things he wishes he knew when he was younger – By Ciara Byrne on FastcoLabs

The cofounder of the open source microcontroller Arduino, Massimo Banzi, doesn’t mince words. “Italy is the kind of a country where if you are young, you don’t exist,” he says. “It’s a country run by old farts.” Banzi decided not to accept the status quo.
Arduino was designed in Italy, by virtue of a foolish young Banzi on a quest for love. Today, Arduino is an enormously popular single-board microcontroller used to develop interactive objects.

The Power Of Love

Banzi’s career hasn’t followed a conventional path. “I was always interested in technology but I started using the Internet because I met this American girl when I was like 18,” he says. ”I wanted to write to her and the post would take three weeks. So I started using the Internet because I could email her. There wasn’t even a browser. And that became my career for several years. So every time I get a passion about something I try to do it on the side and it turns into my job. It’s also a curse also because you can never have a hobby.”
Banzi trained as a electrical engineer, but always had an interest in design. Ten years ago he was teaching interaction design at the now defunct Design Institute in Ivrea. Arduino started out as a tool to allow Banzi’s design students, most of whom has no technical background, to use technology in their projects.What do you think?

 The Arduino Legacy

Arduinos take inputs from a variety of switches and sensors and can control lights, motors, and other physical outputs.
Microcontrollers are used in all kinds of hacker projects: Musician Imogen Heap’s musical glove and fish on wheels. Banzi estimates that there are now 1.5 million Arduinos in the wild matched by a similar number of clones and variations on the original microcontroller.
Banzi, and therefore ultimately Arduino, was influenced by designers like Germany’s Dieter Rams and Italian Achille Castiglioni. “First of all (Castiglioni) said a designer should never take themselves too seriously so you should just really laugh. A lot of designers, they take themselves very seriously but their output is not as relevant as Castiglioni, who was always laughing and making jokes.” Arduino was actually named after a bar Banzi frequented.

Advice For Young Technologists

Banzi’s favorite Arduino projects these days come largely from the fashion industry. ”For us wearable is a lot about fashion,” he explains. “An Italian fashion designer made a corset that actually teaches you how to breathe properly. It measures the way you breathe with sensors and then kind of pushes you in different paths. Somebody else made clothing that can adjust your posture when you are using the computer.”

I asked Banzi what advice he would give to his 20-year old self. “Well, it would be mostly about self-confidence,” he said. “Arduino started off because I worked on a number of projects but I never had the will to just go ahead and run with something. I stopped caring about what other people thought or did and I just did my own thing. A number of people in the technology world they sort of insulted me and told me that I was an idiot and I thought ‘Okay, I might be onto something because of all these people telling me that I’m wrong.’“
Banzi is a big believer in following your own path. “When I was was 20 I was much more focused on having a career and following a path and staying with a sort of a system. At some point I stopped caring about that. I changed jobs. I had different experiences. In the end I started doing whatever felt good to me. There’s a friend of mine on Facebook from when I was 15, who is like one year old than me, and he’s followed this very corporate-type path and then I looked at a picture and he looks like he’s 60. So I think at least I kept a little bit younger than him. At least I did whatever I wanted. ”

A favorite of Banzi’s among the current generation of Arduino entrepreneurs is Josef Prusa. “Josef Prusa is a 22-year-old guy from the Czech Republic who is actually the designer of one of the most well-known open source 3-D printers,” he says. “He started off a teenager playing with Arduino and then he started to make a 3-D printer, started to make his own designs. No background in technology. He studied economics. So he dropped out of university because he was not matching what he was doing and he built up this little company and designed these 3-D printers.”
It’s clear that Banzi sees a little of himself in Prusa. “The biggest advice is that if you have to make a huge mistake do it because you decided so,” he concludes, “and not because you followed somebody else’s path. When I made big mistakes like everyone does, at least it was all my fault.”What do you think?

Originally posted on FastcoLabs

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