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Digital Social Innovation: Zoe Romano talks Arduino

Author: SIE
Published Date: 6 February 2015

Zoe Romano lives in Milano and currently works on Digital Strategy & Wearables at Arduino, an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. She also co-founded Openwear.org, the European pilot project around collaborative fashion and open source branding and Wefab.it, an initiative for the diffusion of open design and digital fabrication in Italy. She's been into media activism and political visual art for the past 10 years, working on precarity, social production, material and immaterial labor in creative and service industries. She recently launched a Fablab in Milan called Wemake, focused on agile fashion, innovative design practices and joined the board of Make in Italy Foundation.


Arduino will be represented on a panel discussion at the upcoming "Shaping the Future of Digital Social Innovation in Europe" event and SIE recently interviewed Zoe on Arduino as part of our special DSI series.


What were Arduino co-founders hoping to achieve when they started Arduino?


Their idea was to develop cheap, easy-to-use electronics components for design students and allow them to prototype interactive devices without having an engineering background.


Arduino has been a massive success. How do you see it continuing to grow and being used?


Arduino became widespread because it started to be used not only within universities and schools but became a major tool for the growing maker scene. It actually lowered the barriers to learning electronics and prototype things with it especially because there is a huge online community of people sharing materials, code and knowledge around it. And the fact of being an open source project, it allowed the most active people and companies to produce derivatives based on Arduino and create a real ecosystem.


How can the European Commission better support digital social innovations like Arduino?


In my opinion, the European Commission would benefit in investing in a grassroots digital innovation ecosystem based on open source technologies, open standards, and distributed data and identity management architectures that can be scaled and supported to compete with big corporate players.


You can hear more on Arduino and DSI on Feb.17th - Register here!