Italian Makers make a splash in New York at the Maker Faire

Maria Teresa Cometto —  September 22, 2014 — Leave a comment

Last weekend the Maker Faire was a lot of fun! Lots of robots, drones and crazy shows. Such as the Coke & Mentos: see here the video.

The best surprise for me was finding a group of Italian makers with their own space: “Makers Italia”. The mission from Italy was organized by the Italian Trade Commission, which is the governmental agency aimed to help Italian exports. It was the very first time that Italian makers got an official recognition: that’s a positive sign that the Renzi government pay attention to innovators and startups as the engine of growth.


(on the left) Matteo Picariello, the Italian trade commissioner in Chicago

By the way, last weekend the Italian Prime Minister took other two important steps: first, he went to the Silicon Valley to learn how that technology ecosystem works; second, he appointed Riccardo Luna as the Italian “Digital Champion”, which is something like the U.S. Chief Technology Officer. Riccardo is not only a good friend, but he is really a champion in promoting the startup and maker community in Italy (see his blogs Che Futuro and StartupItalia!). So, that’s good news: go Riccardo!


The new Italian Digital Champion Riccardo Luna (on the right) with Massimo Banzi, ceo and co-founder of Arduino

“We selected ten companies with  the help of the Roma Makers network, it’s an experiment, we’ll see how it works”, explained to me Matteo Picariello, the Italian trade commissioner in Chicago, the office that takes care of the machinery industry. Do you know that this industry is the leader in Italian exports to the US, much ahead of fashion, wine and food? Italians are great makers and innovators indeed. As you can understand if you browse the website of the companies that came to the Faire in Queens: here.


Marco Rizzuto, ceo of FabTotum

Fabtotum for example makes very innovative 3D printers: “multi-purpose personal fabrication devices” that use both subtractive and additive manufacturing. CRP Technology does 3D printing for companies ranging from the aerospace industry to the automotive and motorsport sectors. And Smart-I makes intelligent systems for smart cities.

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 Stewart Davis, director of operations of CRP USA

As usual, the “King” of the Faire was Massimo Banzi, the co-founder of Arduino (you know that Arduino was an Italian king, don’t you?). Massimo gave a terrific speech, explaining his new initiatives. The most amazing: the opening of an “Arduino Apartment” in Turin, were the “Internet Of Things” (IOT) will be designed “not by a bunch of white nerd engineers, but by we the people” – explains Massimo -, with the help of Arduino, which is “an open-source electronics platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software;   intended for anyone making interactive projects.” The Arduino apt will be totally interactive: the smart appliances and pieces of furniture will be created by people living there. In fact the apt will be rented on Airbnb, and the nearby FabLab will make with 3D printer what the people ask for. The American writer Bruce Sterling, who lives in Turin, will blog once a week about the whole experiment. Isn’t it fascinating? I’m planning already to spend one week there…

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Massimo Banzi shows the new Arduino with wi-fi, developed in collaboration with Intel

Gran finale: one of the most exciting new things made with 3D printing was a whole car! The Strati, designed by the Italian designer Michele Anoé, and built by the U.S. company Local Motors. Very cool!

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The Strati

Maria Teresa Cometto