Just in case you need to sharpen your Arduino trivia skills…
Saturday is Arduino Day, a worldwide celebration of the open-source board along with the countless gizmos and gadgets made with it. Originally envisioned for students and artists to quickly prototype projects, you can now find Arduino powering just about everything from DIY wearables and robots to clever hacks and successfully-funded startups. Yet, before the days of mainstream popularity, the fan-favorite platform had humble beginnings — which you can see from its first iteration below.
As we prepare to “officially” celebrate its 10th anniversary, here are some fun facts that you may not already know…
Atmel could be found at the heart of the earliest boards, including the initial prototype, which was powered by an ATmega8.
Bar-duino? The company was dubbed after a local watering hole where some of its founders used to meet, which happened to be named after Margrave of Ivrea and King of Italy from 1002 to 1014.
Arduino was initially intended to serve as a teaching tool that would introduce students at the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea to the world of electronics and provide them with an easy way to prototype projects.
Co-founder Massimo Banzi did study electrical engineering, but like he recently told ReadWriteWeb, he actually dropped out of college “because it was boring, and he was doing much more exciting stuff outside.”
The Arduino USB board was the first to officially bear the Arduino name in 2005, which would go on to have several revisions including the Extreme, NG, and Diecimila.
Many well-known companies that stemmed from the DIY community first got their start using an Arduino. This long list includes 3DRobotics and MakerBot. In fact, Chris Anderson shared with Forbes in an early interview, “We used the Arduino platform to change something which in this case was a bottom-up approach to the aerospace industry.”
As of last year, there were more than 1.2 million Arduino boards in the wild, not to mention probably just as many counterfeits — up from just 300,000 in 2011.
There were over 217 Kickstarter projects (and counting) built on the Arduino platform in the last 12 months alone.
Every three months, the Arduino.cc website experiences four to five million users, of which three to four are regular visitors.
Arduino has inspired countless young Makers to pursue a career in engineering, some of whom have gone on to launch their own businesses and become crowdfunding successes — all before the age of legally being able to drive. (Way to go, Quin!)
He likes big boards and he cannot lie! Sir Mix-A-Lot himself has given props to to Arduino’s ability to lower the barrier of entry into the electronics space.
Channeling their Maker spirit, a number of major brands have implemented Arduino in an assortment of projects, ranging from Samsung and General Electric, to Dole and Nescafé, to Adidas and Converse.
The boards’ distinctive designs have even been recognized by MoMA, where Arduino is now a permanent fixture in its collection.
Arduino has enabled Makers to conduct experiments spanning from under the sea to out of this atmosphere, all through the use of underwater ROVs and open satellite platforms.
In 2014, more than 240 user groups, Makerspaces, hackerspaces, fab labs, schools, studios and educators throughout Europe, North and South America, Asia, Africa and Australia came together to celebrate the inaugural Arduino Day.
Even Facebook ‘likes’ Arduino! During the F8 Developers Conference, Parse announced a lineup of SDKS for the Internet of Things. The first is an Arduino SDK targeted for the Arduino Yún.
Having been there since its inception, and now looking ahead, we can’t wait to see what’s next for the open-source, Atmel based platform. Happy Arduino Day, Makers!