Tag Archives: Massimo Banzi

GSWA 2: The Arduino Way

The second chapter of Getting Started with Arduino is entitled “The Arduino Way.” It briefly explains that the “Arduino Philosophy” is based on the following:

  • Prototyping. Making actual, physical objects that do things in the fastest and most efficient way possible.
  • Tinkering. Playing without a goal, especially with old or broken electronics, is time well spent.
  • Patching. Making connections between different modules to direct data and control behavior. Robert Moog‘s early analogue synthesizers are mentioned as a prime example. (I like the cover of Switched on Bach in this respect.) Max, Pure Data, and VVVV are all mentioned as programming languages that make patching their primary visual metaphor.
  • Circuit Bending. The creative short-circuiting of electronics – especially toys that talk or make sounds – to create music.
  • Keyboard Hacks. Sort of the same idea but playing with the insides of a keyboard to make it do different things.
  • We Love Junk! Because you can take it apart and do things with it. That’s why I haven’t thrown away my old hard drives or mystery power adapters yet.
  • Hacking Toys. Lots of electronics in kids’ toys to manipulate. The author (Massimo Banzi) recommends the PDF booklet “Low Tech Sensors and Actuators.”
  • Collaboration. There is, in fact, an Arduino community and they tend to post questions and answers and generally help each other. One interesting place for this is the “Arduino Playground” at playground.arduino.cc.

And that’s it. Of course, any time somebody talks about their “philosophy,” I always think of the choreographer Mark Morris. As the story goes, when he was being interviewed to be the artistic director of the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels, Belgium, he was asked about his philosophy of dance. He replied: “My philosophy of dance? I make it up. You watch it. End of philosophy.” (And you’ll be glad to know that he got the job, too!)


  • Getting Started with Arduino, 2e, Ch. 2: The Arduino Way (0 exercises)
  • Sketches (i.e., code) can be downloaded from http://db.tt/f6x9Q4NA
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Arduino, Ardweeny, Aardvark…

To round out my set of current independent studies projects (as the Jitter project has to wait until later in the semester), here’s my initial report on my experiments with the Arduino circuit board, as supervised by University of Utah Sculpture professor Paul Stout. (Hi, Paul!) For this course I’m going to go through the little book Getting Started with Arduino (second edition) by co-founder Massimo Banzi. This one’s going to be a little trickier because I have to actually make things. (I’ve got my set of parts and some tools but I still need to get a soldering iron ASAP.)

One of the things I loved as I started re-reading this book (as I already read the first edition all the way through) is that Massimo refers to a modular circuit set by Industrial Design great Dieter Rams. I found the Lectron set that he mentioned online at a page celebrating Dieter’s work called Das Programm. Neat!

I also found some other great resources for learning Arduino, such as the Arduino Playground, an Arduino category at Instructables, and a similar category at the fabulous Makezine site. (And, by the way, the “Ardweeny” from this post’s title is an actual product, just a tiny circuit board.) Lots of good things in store!


  • Getting Started with Arduino, Ch. 0: Preface (0 exercises)
  • Getting Started with Arduino, Ch. 1: Introduction (0 exercises)
  • Getting Started with Arduino, Ch. 2: The Arduino Way (0 exercises)
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