Casa Jasmina is bringing the Internet of Things home


The aim of the project is to combine digital fabrication tools and open-source electronics to create a connected apartment.


During his MakerCon keynote speech last fall, our dear friend Massimo Banzi announced that Arduino was planning to unveil the first-ever open-source apartment. Shortly thereafter, the company’s co-founder officially revealed the launch of the rental property at Maker Faire Rome, aptly named Casa Jasmina. Now, the team has shared that its location will be inaugurated on February 20th, in coordination with the celebration of the office and Fablab Torino’s 3rd birthday!

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In collaboration with futurist Bruce Sterling and Lorenzo Romagnoli, the exciting new project will be located in Arduino’s Torino, Italy headquarters. (Which by the way, did you know was actually an abandoned car factory?) Hosted by Toolbox Coworking, the apartment will serve as a test ground for the latest developments from the Maker community, equipped with furniture from OpenDesk, a plethora of Atmel based devices as well as other hardware creations.

“We will explore the boundaries in the field of open-source, connected home showcasing the best of open-source furnitures, connected objects, and white goods hacks,” Arduino stated in a recent blog. “Shortly [thereafter], anyone will have the opportunity to experience living in a open-source connected home… Casa Jasmina will be available for rent on Airbnb.”

Unlike other so-called “homes of the future,” this Arduino-powered space will be more than a livable showcase. In fact, the inhabitants’ responses to the elements inside will be registered for the project’s research.

Collaborator Bruce Sterling shared his thoughts on the new project by stating that he has known for a long time that the Italian city would become the center of digital manufacturing: “What’s needed is now is not more gadgets… [but to] figure out how to move this from the hobby level to a level of professionalism, and how to establish making with Italian characteristics.”

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When discussing the new domestic Italian landscape, Sterling adds that “the Internet of Things is no longer a theory. It features genuine industrial consortia, proliferating standards, and exciting new capacities in sensors, data, and analytics. The IoT is coming into the home, and that most definitely includes the Italian home.”

The futurist lists goes on to list five basic approaches to this constantly-connected era:

  1. Thing centered: In this model, every object has its own Internet connectivity and they all talk to each other independently. It’s like the old-school Internet, but with things instead of websites.
  2. Gateway centered: There’s a home control box or a router which serves as a boss for all the anarchic things, enforces a standard on them, and protects them from security attacks.
  3. Mobile centered: The real action inside in the operating system of a powerful personal smartphone, which acts as the handheld remote-control for everything.
  4. Cloud centered: The household Internet of Things is run by offshored professionals who have advanced data analytics and can manage all domestic objects and services for a fee.
  5. Industrial fog: Everything is run locally, but with an urban, automated factory-style model that includes building management software and smart city services.

“What’s missing in these five models of the IoT? A user-centered model, a citizen-centered model, an open-source collaborative model. That’s the prospect that interests us at ‘Casa Jasmina,’” he adds. “My role in Casa Jasmina is that of curator. In the blizzard of new things that constitutes the Internet of Things, I have to figure out what belongs on the premises. Casa Jasmina an actual, functional apartment directly above the lasers, routers and 3D printers of the famous Torino FabLab. It will have guests in it; people will sit in the chairs, sleep in the beds. I will personally test every last ‘thing’ that goes in there.”

According to the team, the first household item for the open apartment is a pet iRobot Roomba vacuum cleaner named “Pietro Micca.” This device was selected, not because it’s high-tech but because the Roomba line is 10 years old, well-established and a living reality of domestic home automation.

“That’s what we want to see and display in Casa Jasmina — the ‘normal life’ of about 10 years from now,” the futurist urges.

Arduino says that the first batch of connected things for the apartment will be produced in a workshop, with the support of designer Jesse Howard, on February 22nd and 23rd.

“The workshop is suitable for designers, artists, hackers, and everyone interested in Arduino and open-source design and in order to stress the idea of open design, participants will be asked to reinterpret, modify and redesign an open source lamp proposed by Jesse.”

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The lamp will be embedded with an Arduino Yún (ATmega32U4) that will be used to make it interactive, enabling a user to turn it on or off remotely, change its color, use to visualize data and connect the lamp to another. So, what can we expect to see make its way into the open-source living quarters? As our friends note, the list includes:

  • A terrace garden
  • A study area including a bookshelf, effective task lighting, and cultural materials
  • Artworks including electronic art displays
  • A guide to Torino
  • A functional kitchen
  • Children’s toys and furniture
  • Temperature control, water control, electricity monitors, building-management services
  • Household appliances
  • Party supplies

Interested in learning more? Discover how you can collaborate with the team by visiting its official page. Meanwhile, be sure to tweet all about your ideas using the hashtag #CasaJasmina and check out Arduino’s latest blog update here.

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