Massimo Banzi co-founded Arduino, which makes affordable open-source microcontrollers for interactive projects, from art installations to an automatic plant waterer.

Why you should listen

Computer-based interactivity used to be beyond the reach of most artists, designers, and other electronics amateurs who wanted to make their work respond to light, sound and other stimulus by moving, beeping, tweeting. Then, in 2005, Italian engineer Massimo Banzi and his team created the Arduino microcontroller, a small, cheap programmable computer, bringing interactive technology to the masses.

With a variety of sensors, the Arduino is versatile and easy to use. Since its inception, the device has popped up in projects as varied as an exhibit on brains at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, to a DIY kit that sends a Tweet when your houseplant needs water.

What others say

“Most open-source projects start from a frustration. Arduino was born when Banzi's design students complained about not being able to find a microcontroller for their robotic projects.” — WIREDItalia

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