The Factories Where Arduino is Made

With Massimo Banzi and Davida, I had a tour of each place where the Arduino is made in northern Italy, near where the Olivetti computer company once flourished. We started at the factory that makes the printed circuit board, a fascinating process to see first-hand. Then boards go a short distance to another small factory with pick and place machines. These machines automate placing a set of parts on the board. Then workers place the through-hole components on the board by hand. A tray of boards are heated and then a bath of solder is applied underneath, which is what the photo below shows.

After testing, the boards go to another light industrial office where the software is loaded and then the boards are wrapped up and boxed for shipment. All this takes place in a fairly small town surrounded by the Alps. I took more photos and I hope to write up the process in more detail in the future.

Make@Mack at Oakland’s McClymonds High featured in SF Chronicle


I was happy to see photos from our Make@Mack program in yesterday’s SF Chronicle feature about the West Oakland high school. Congratulations to the Mack team on the profile and to maker Alex Nolan and educator Joel Rosenberg who are organizing the after school making program.

I very much like the idea of community schools.

The Next List – Next Week

Today’s The Next List on CNN was pre-empted by coverage of Whitney Houston’s death.   The producers tell us that the segment of the show that they filmed in Sebastopol will be on next week, same time — 2pm ET / 11 am PT.

When I was a kid, I appeared on an LA TV show but it was pre-empted by John Glenn’s trip into space.   Glenn was the first person to orbit the earth.  I got a bag of Rold-Gold pretzels to take home with me. 

Roadblocks to Student Participation in STEM — “no previous experience”

Two big points in this year’s survey stopped Schuler cold when he read them. First, 60 percent of respondents could name a reason not to go into a science and tech field. “They’re daunted by something,” he says, whether it’s that the path through school seems too hard, they don’t know anybody in those fields to look up to, or another reason. Secondly, Schuler says, nearly a third said they had little to no experience building anything hands-on, whether it’s a digital product like a website or a physical project like piecing together circuit. “These two are connected pretty strongly,” he says. Building cultivates DIY skills and kick-starts a person’s interest in making things.

Those numbers would probably alarm President Obama, who spent a chunk of last night’s State of the Union address hammering the need to enhance American STEM education as a means to boost the economy. Schuler says he was grateful that Obama made such a high-profile argument. “STEM is the foundation of technology, invention, and innovation,” he says.

But, Schuler says, it’s critical to remember that strengthening American STEM education isn’t just about churning out more Ph.D.s. Vocational-technology schools, junior colleges, and other institutions must help students reach their inventive potential, he says. “We need more of the bulk of the U.S. population appreciating STEM and thinking in creative ways.”

via Lyn Gomes