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FabLab Torino, Casa Jasmina & Arduino

OpenSource, IoT, Design Thinking?

We hear this words all the time, but what do they actual mean and how will they influence our daily live and those of our families. This and other concepts are what Casa Jasmina is all about.

A while ago, in April, Joerg Blumtritt, an old BarCamp friend of mine from my early Days of Web 2.0, contacted me and asked me about my involvement at the Make Munich DIY Fair. We’ve met and he told me about a thing called Casa Jasmina, an OpenSource apartment in Turin, Italy, which was founded by Massimo Banzi and is curated by Bruce Sterling and his wife Jasmina Tesanovic (jepp, she’s the name patron).

Now what is an OpenSource apartment, do I hear you say?

  • A real-world testbed for hacks, experiments and innovative IoT and digital fabrication projects.

  • A curated space for public exposure of excellent artifacts and best practices.

  • A guest-house for occasional visitors to Toolbox, Officine Arduino and Fablab Torino.

    from the About page of Casa Jasmina

The whole thing first was announced at MakerCon in September 2014, you can find the whole interview with Massimo on the Makezine.

It sounded damn interesting and after seeing the video Bruce Sterling did, Joerg and I got to work. Our goal was to fork Casa Jasmina to Munich, setting up our own german engineered, Rams-designed Utopia of IoT things.

Why do we want to do that? Because Munich is going crazy right now in Terms of new Hardware/IoT Startups, MakerSpaces set up by the Tech universities and although they have some connections to each other, we still think they are missing the central focus to revolve around to get from nice to epic and from epic to stuff people actually will use in their daily lifes.

For this we would need money & support of the bavarian government, so we sat down and wrote a manifesto for them and Joerg made some appointments to convince them to a short trip to Casa Jasmina.

Only a few weeks later I found myself standing in a large & open, freshly renovated three room apartment, accompanied by a delegation from the bavarian government, my fellow Make Germany Founders Martin and Jenny, Joerg, Arduino employee & FabLab Turin Handyman (his words) Lorenzo and Jasmina herself.

Visiting Casa Jasmina

We got the full tour of the Casa, the FabLab Turin (which deserves an post for it’s own, because it’s freggin huge & amazing), the Toolbox CoWorking space, a wonderful introduction into the IoT Manifesto & the thoughts behind Casa Jasmina and got down to business.

Jasmina at Casa Jasmina
Jasmina at Casa Jasmina

Visiting Casa Jasmina

Casa Jasmina is, right now, a freshly renovated flat with some IoT devices, a small art exhibition, a modular kitchen, a lot of OpenDesk furniture, a set of AKERKit garden tools and that’s about it.

Oh and a strong Wifi Connection of course ^_^

But the potential of a space that will openly recommend it’s inhabitants to modify it is, as every Hacker/MakerSpace member knows, unlimited.

Everything that’ll annoy you or that you ever wanted to change in your own home but weren’t allowed to, everything that don’t fit your needs, can, will and should eventually be modified.

Reasons why I think Casa Jasmina should be forked a 1000 times

Right now we don’t have IoT – what we do have are 100s of small proprietary (in German Insel Lösungen) for 100s of different devices which may or may not talk to each other. We have some SmartHouse concepts by one or maybe two different manufacturers but that’s not how life usually works. Yes one might have three devices at home talking to each other (Apple) but that is in a household with at least 15-20 devices. Next question would also be, should they talk to each other? What is won when the washing machine can tell the toaster that it’s done? Also, as Peter from ThingsCon in Berlin puts it so nicely

A connected home (like an urban environment) will need to signify the ground rules: Are sensors monitoring your movements? Cameras? Is sound being recorded? Will your devices work or be blocked? What happens to data relating to you once you leave?

And, most important thing of all – will it be secure? Jeep just showed what can happen if not. Think about a WWW-connected oven and you get an idea of the potential harm IoT can do.

A glimpse into the potential

Peter, Alexandra and Michelle where the first guests and they did a wonderful job, installed a SCRUM Board for Maker projects and wrote down some ideas for future residents.

Of course all of it can be found on GitHub and is OpenSource.

Conclusion

To quote Peter

Let a thousand casas bloom

Only by trying, failing and retrying we will see if IoT has a future.

Btw – Casa Jasmina will be on AirBNB soon and I strongly recommend you to visit it, if you get the chance. If you want to fork your own, let us know. I can also connect you with Massimo, Bruce and Jasmina or anyone else involved, if you need some help.

Ah and the fork for Munich? We are not there yet, but we do have a Maker Exchange program now that we’ll announce soon. From Bavaria to Turin and vice versa. Hurray!

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