FabLab Torino – The Revolution of the Makers

Enrico Cassinelli —  February 17, 2012

If you are thinking about coworking in Turin, you’d probably like to stop by Toolbox, one of the coolest coworking spaces in town.

And starting from today, you will have one more reason to do so, infact not only Toolbox is opening a brand new open space area associated with a flex desk plan which only costs 100€ a month, but today is launch day for “FabLab Torino”.

FabLab Torino is the continuation of the temporary Stazione Futuro project, the first italian FabLab, that was closed on November 21st 2011, and it is going to be one of the most innovative workplace in Italy.

Toolbox has made available a 200sqm space for free, while renovation costs have been splitted in between Officine Arduino (the company behind FabLab Torino) and Toolbox. .

What’s so special about FabLab Torino?

Behind FabLab Torino is Officine Arduino, and behind Officine Arduino is Massimo Banzi, the inventor of the Arduino processors, an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software, that’s intended to be used by artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments.

Officine is an Italian word that recalls to memory old workshops with sawdust on the floor and smell of burnt electronic in the air, it reminds of hands dirty with grease, and of welders, and goggles, and in this newer kind of Officine represented by FabLab Torino, you will be able to build “almost anything”, as promised by the FabLabs motto.

What’s amazing is that here everything is opensource, from hardware to software. This means that you can download not only the source code used to run the hardware, but also the blueprints themselves, being then able to reproduce the chips on your own.

The approach has already proven to be successful: an ecosystem of add-ons and gadgets for, and based on, the Arduino products is already here (wi-fi boards, touch-screen displays and so on), ready to be used by the lovers of the “MAKE” philosophy.

The Future Is Now

As stated by The Economist, Massimo Banzi may well be the herald of a new Industrial Revolution, the pioneer of a new a approach to manufacturing, that will be no more undertaken by big companies, but it will be brought forward by smaller firms, or even by individuals.

What makes me so happy about the event is that even if no national newspaper or tv show has ever spent a word about Arduino and Banzi, in the foggy and desolated landscape of the Italian economy it’s still possible to find some hidden gems of innovation.

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Enrico Cassinelli