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10 life-changing inventions that are Italian

What do you know of the Italian inventions from the last 50-years that changed our lives forever? Did you know that it was two Italians that made the Wii possible? Well, here are 10 of the most remarkable modern Italian inventions of the last 50-years.

We’re actually looking at the inventions of the last 51-years, inspired by the ‘Make In Italy’exhibition that opened this week at Milan’s Museo Nazionale di Scienza E Tecnologia Da Vinci. Running from May 19 – August 16 2015, visitors are invited to explore 50 years of invention, innovation and life changing discovers made by Italians that have helped shape the world we live in today, from technology that made the Nintendo Wii possible, to the good old prepaid payphone cards that are almost long forgotten.

Want to know what else the Italians have given the modern world in the last 50 years? Here are 10 inventions that have had a life changing impact on the world.

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Olivetti Programma 101 – 1964 Pier Giorgio Perotto

Top 10 Modern Italian inventions including bio-on plastic and the first personal computer

While working for the Italian manufacturer Olivetti, Perotto led a design team that went on to build the world’s first personal computer, the Programma 101. The idea was first conceived in 1958 but it wasn’t until 1964 that the Programma 101, renamed ‘Perottina’, was completed, going to the World Fair in New York as a prototype. It went on to sell 40,000 units and is now known as ‘the machine that changed the world’. In its day it sold for $3,200 and though technically only capable of basic arithmetic functions it caught the imagination of the world and changed everything… literally.

 

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Olivetti Valentine – 1969 Ettore Sottsass and Perry King

Top 10 Modern Italian inventions including bio-on plastic and the first personal computer

Yes, another Olivetti innovation first here, and this time a meeting of Italian and British minds (yet we can claim its Italian seeing as its manufacture was). The Valentine is celebrated as the typewriter to succeed where many many others have failed, an amalgamation of functionality and design. Although it was not a commercial success, it is a collectable item. It came in various colours but it was the lipstick red edition that has become a collectable, thanks to its design focus, and its marketing aimed at emotional connections to users, something which hadn’t been done before.

 

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Intel 4004 microprocessor – 1971 Federico Faggin

Top 10 Modern Italian inventions including bio-on plastic and the first personal computer

Those familiar with the story of Oliver Twist will no doubt get a little kick out of Vicenza born Federico Faggin’s surname but this Faggin just so happens to be the man that led the 4004 (MCS-4) Project and group at Intel and made the first commercially available microprocessor in 1971. His efforts changed the way that digital data was processed, reducing the need for huge racks of circuit boards to do so. Today microprocessors are used in basically everything electrical that needs to read digital data.

 

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Prepaid Phone Card – 1996 Mauro Sentinelli

Top 10 Modern Italian inventions including bio-on plastic and the first personal computer

With the size and cost of mobile phones being larger than life, Telecoms expert Mauro Sentinelli came up with a simple solution, the calling card called the TIMcard, a prepaid card that could be used on the move. Its success was immeasurable and swiftly went around the world.

 

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Common Rail – 1997 Fiat

Top 10 Modern Italian inventions including bio-on plastic and the first personal computer

Now found in everything from cars to submarines, the common rail system is a direct fuel injection system that was introduced in 1997 by Fiat for diesel engines. This meant lower power consumption, less noise, benefits of impact on the environment and lower emissions. This technology has since been adopted by most major automotive groups around the world.

 

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Cyberhand – 2005 Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna di Pisa

Top 10 Modern Italian inventions including bio-on plastic and the first personal computer

This mayor breakthrough was a team effort by big-thinkers at Sant’Anna’s in Pisa. This cybernetic hand communicate with the patient’s nervous system and accurately perceives the characteristics of the object being touched. This is all made possible thanks to the fully-sensitized five-fingered hand and the innovations garnered the school and the projects coordinator the first prize at the Well Tech Awards 2005.

 

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iCub – 2005 RobotCub Consortium and Italian Institute of Technology

Top 10 Modern Italian inventions including bio-on plastic and the first personal computer

Do you remember this little guy? Designed by RobotCub Consortium and built by the Italian Institute of Technology, this one-metre high humanoid robot simulates a 3-year old child. Yes, this little guy can walk, touch, recognize, talk and display facial expressions, and was created to study the mechanisms of human cognition. The name is an acronym standing for Cognitive Universal Body, the ‘I’ just makes it sound cooler.

 

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Three-Axis Accelerometer Board 2006 – Benedetto Vigna and Bruno Murari

Top 10 Modern Italian inventions including bio-on plastic and the first personal computer

Ever wondered how the Wii remote works? Or who your smartphone knows when your tilting a car or character in a game application? Well, it’s all thanks to the Three-Axis Accelerometer Board developed at STMicroeclectonics in Cornaredo, Milan. Unveiled in 2006, smartphones and gaming haven’t been the same since, replacing buttons with touch and gesture. The board is capable of detecting changes in gravity, shock, force, movement, and direction, meaning that the devices it is put into are able to pick up these various elements and convert them into something else. Amazing.

 

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Bio-On – 2007 Marco Astorri and Guy Cicognani

Top 10 Modern Italian inventions including bio-on plastic and the first personal computer

This is the kind of story I like. Two friends, who were bored of polluting the world and the vile destruction that plastic inflicted upon almost everything. And so they decide to do a little bit of research and testing and invent a plastic that can dissolve within 40 in water and leave little behind except sugar… what is this magic?? Of course the story behind it is much more technical but that’s the gist of things and, so, they’ve invented the plastic of the future. But the best thing is that the future is now.

 

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Arduino Materia 101 – 2010 Massimo Banzi Arduino

Top 10 Modern Italian inventions including bio-on plastic and the first personal computer

A team led by Massimo Banzi Arduino created the Arduino Materia 101, the first 3D printer signed by the card manufacturer of rapid prototyping world’s most famous and produced and developed with the Italian Sharebot. Available in both kit that already assembled, is the philosophy of Arduino for printing three-dimensional: simple, low cost and editable.

 

Source: Swide, by: Ben Taylor