"Arduino started in 2005 as a project for students at the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea in Ivrea, Italy. At that time program students used a ""BASIC Stamp"" at a cost of $100, considered expensive for students. Massimo Banzi, one of the founders, taught at Ivrea. The name ""Arduino"" comes from a bar in Ivrea, where some of the founders of the project used to meet. The bar itself was named after Arduino, Margrave of Ivrea and King of Italy from 1002 to 1014.
Arduino is a single-board microcontroller, intended to make building interactive objects or environments more accessible.The hardware consists of an open-source hardware board designed around an 8-bit Atmel AVR microcontroller, or a 32-bit Atmel ARM. Current models feature a USB interface, 6 analog input pins, as well as 14 digital I/O pins that accommodate various extension boards.
A hardware thesis was contributed for a wiring design by Colombian student Hernando Barragan. After the Wiring platform was complete, researchers worked to make it lighter, less expensive, and available to the open source community. The school eventually closed down, so these researchers, one of them David Cuartielles, promoted the idea.
The current prices run around $30 and related ""clones"" as low as $9. A simple Arduino Mini Pro clone may be had from China for less than $4, post paid. Today Arduino has become one of the leading proudcers of micrcontroller boards. Arduino boards can be purchased pre-assembled or as do-it-yourself kits. Hardware design information is available for those who would like to assemble an Arduino by hand. It was estimated in mid-2011 that over 300,000 official Arduinos had been commercially produced, and in 2013 that 700,000 official boards were in users' hands.
Arduino has since become an example of how, thorugh effective branding and community building operations, an open source business model is effectively viable. Its boards are at the heart of the maker and Fab Lab movements and its systems are now beginning to attract the attention of leading companies worldwide. For Italy, Arduino represents a possible comeback after years of eroding and deteriorating industrial potential. The only possible controversy in this regard being Massimo Banzi's association with Media Tycoon Carlo de Benedetti within the Make in Italy Foundation (which promotes Fab Labs and maker activities in Italy) and thus representing that same establishement that the maker movement seeks to disrupt.