Learning Is Healthy: The Italian Cultural Institute Presents 50 Years of Italian Breakthroughs


Join Me Opening Night at The Italian Cultural Institute of New York

The Italian Cultural Institute of New York Presents MAKE IN ITALY

50 Years Of Italian Breakthroughs: From The First PC To The First Space-Bound Espresso Machine 
Exhibition: Open to the public from November 13th – 25th, 2015
Monday – Friday 10am to 5pm
The Italian Cultural Institute
686 Park Avenue, New York, NY
Did you know the first personal computer was invented by an Italian? Make in Italy – The Exhibition, is an event focused on showcasing cutting-edge products, conceived and developed in Italy or by Italians, throughout the last half century. The exhibition takes its cue from 1965, when a prototype of the Olivetti Programma 101, considered the first personal computer, was presented at the World’s Fair in New York.

The exhibition is arranged by decades, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s and 2010s, and depicts each of them through objects – from typewriters to microprocessors, from the first personal computer to an Espresso machine that works in space. Historical documents, photos and other images will also be displayed to illustrate the social and economical background of the different periods.
Exhibition Highlights
The documentary, “Programma 101: Memory of the Future” by Alessandro Bernard and Paolo Ceretto, will be available for viewing to all guests of the exhibit

“I dreamt of a friendly machine, that anyone could use, would cost little, and would be similar in size to the other office products people were already familiar with.”

This was the revolutionary vision of P101’s inventor, Pier Giorgio Perotto. The first “personal computer” was not conceived in the garage of Steve Jobs, but 12 years before that in a villa in Pisa, in the suburb of Barbaricina by Olivetti, an Italian manufacturer of typewriters. The P101’s design was innovative – in line with company founder Adriano Olivetti’s philosophy: “Design is the spirit of a product.” The design of the P101 was well completed at the end of 1964 and the revolutionary machine was presented in New York in October ’65. The US market bought almost all of the 44,000 P101s made by Olivetti at $3,200 a piece. Hewlett-Packard alone bought a hundred P101s and copied the more innovative features, such as the magnetic card, for its own devices. 
The Intel 4004 was the first commercially available microprocessor, or “computer on a chip” in history. Developed in 1971 by Federico Faggin, a physicist working in Silicon Valley. At Fairchild, he invented the Silicon Gate Technology (SGT), which was crucial for the manufacturing of smaller, more reliable logic circuits. Then at Intel, Faggin used his SGT technology to create the microchip. Today microprocessors are used in everything, from the smallest embedded systems and smartphones to the largest supercomputers.
Last May, the first “made-for-space coffee” was tasted onboard the International Space Station (ISS) by Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti. This was made possible by ISSpresso, the first ever system for brewing espresso in extreme conditions, i.e. outer space. Crewmembers on long-duration space missions frequently miss the comforts of home, from favorite meals to a fresh cup of coffee. ISSpresso is an espresso maker for the International Space Station (ISS) that can be used to make tea, coffee, broth, or other hot beverages. Created by David Avino, founder of Argotec, an engineering and aerospace software company, specializing in astronauts’ training, and Lavazza, the family-owned leading brand in Italy, and a coffee manufacturer since 1895.The technology developed to provide food and beverages in a microgravity environment not only improves options for orbiting crewmembers, but could also lead to new or improved products for earthlings.
Inspired by the philosophy behind the P101- personal computer, Arduino is an open-source prototyping platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software. Arduino reads inputs – for example your finger on a button  – and turns them into outputs – like activating a motor. Created in 2005 by Massimo Banzi, and his four partners, for students of the Interaction Design Institute as an easy tool for fast prototyping for those without a background in electronics and programming. The name comes from the Antica Caffetteria Arduino, the cafe’ where Banzi and his partners spent many nights discussing the project. Now a worldwide community of students, hobbyists, artists, programmers, and professionals Makers use Arduino. 
Olivetti, the company that gave us the first personal computer, is reinventing itself, embracing the revolution of digital manufacturing and the digital philosophy of sharing and collaboration. Last month the company announced the launch of its first 3D printer, aimed at the small to medium companies that need a faster and cheaper way to make prototypes and develop new products.  The Olivetti 3D-S2 will be manufactured entirely in Italy, in the Canavese area, and all the technology used will be Italian. Developed jointly with Gimax, the Prato-based leader in industrial automation, the printer uses the potential of Arduino, the open source hardware and software platform which has revolutionized the world of manufacturing, from Ivrea, Italy.

Additional Information:

Opening Night Exhibit: November 12, 2015 at 6pm 
Panel Discussion, What’s Next for Italian Creativity in Technology? Moderated by Maria Teresa Cometto and Riccardo Luna, with:
  • Massimo Banzi, co-founder of the Arduino Project
  • David Avino, founder of Argotec
  • Riccardo Delleani, CEO at Olivetti
  • Alessandro Piol, co-founder at AlphaPrime Ventures

The Exhibition is a project by the Make in Italy Foundation cdb,
made possible through the generosity of Peter S. Kalikow in collaboration with: Lavazza, Olivetti, and with the Consulate General of Italy in New York, the Italian Heritage & Culture Committee of New York.