miracolo-a-milano CasaJasmina @ Fuorisalone 2016. An IoT events agenda

Here we are…it’s the end of March, and for those who are involved in design, this means just one thing: Milan and Salone del Mobile are almost there.

There will be, as usual, more than a thousand of events scheduled around the city, shoes to consume and a lot of concentration, in order to see as much as possible. In all this chaos of events , we propose an agenda of events dedicated to Casa Jasmina, open source, IoT and the smart objects.

So let’s start with Genuino and Casa Jasmina: Casa Jasmina will present at Atelier Clerici, as host of Joseph Grima, GIT-COMMIT. GIT-COMMIT is an interactive exhibition that attempts to open a dialogue on ideas, expectations and critical issues about the “connected living” of the future. GIT-COMMIT will be present from the 12th to the 17th April, on the main floor of Palazzo Clerici, and consists of a web interface which communicates with four small thermal printers. With GIT-COMMIT visitors will be confronted with four questions on the future home via the web page, and each printer will translate their responses in a continual flow chart. GIT-COMMIT has been developed with Genuino MKR1000, a powerful board that combines Genuino Zero features and Wi-Fi shield to create IoT projects.

Made in collaboration with opendeskthe Londonears collective of open design, GIT-COMMIT will see the participation of students of Interaction design Master of SUPSI Lugano and studio Folder. Studio Folder will run a 2 days workshop for SUPSI’s students to investigate feedback gathered previously from the printers, and will present some graphic representation the 15th April at Atelier Clerici.

In addition to having it’s own space with GIT-COMMIT, Casa Jasmina will be present with The Good Home with small workshop to explore openness and privacy in the design of homes connected and the spatial experiences they offer.

Parasite 2.0  at Palazzo Clerici, will present a conversation about the domestic landscape and the idea of a private space in the era of the “sharing economy”where Casa Jasmina is involved. Carlo Ratti will be present at Triennale with Lift-Bit, a smart home furniture piece that will change the idea of interior design.

These and other events are waiting for us in Milan this year, the impression is that we start to talk about IoT even in the classic design places, that designers are increasingly concerned by what is happening on the domestic scene and that people should be more and more involved to understand needs and expectations.

genuino asset (1)

empathy-bomber-backpack-03 A speculative workshop for a speculative future

Last month Casa Jasmina, with the support of Toolbox co-working and Fablab Torino, hosted for the entire February a workshop of School of Ma (School of Machines, Making & Make-Believe). The workshop was run by Sitraka Rakotoniaina and Andrew Friend with a three day participation of Iohanna Nicenboim.

The projects were based on speculative design and the results were presented at Casa Jasmina the 27th of February during our birthday.

But what about the projects? We are presenting in this blog-post two projects based on some speculations on the coming future…

The Empathy Bomber Backpack is a speculative object designed for the extreme activists of a near-future where biological contraband creates a chemical metaphor of the ‘empathy warfare’ that defines our globe today. If today activists use terror to send a blunt and devastating message, the activists of tomorrow have concocted a plan to go straight to the core of their intentions, to enforce genuine understanding through extreme measures. This futuristic Bomber Backpack was designed by Monique Grimord,  interactive designer and social prototyper, with a master in Graphic Design from SCAD, and a background in political science. Monique lives in São Paulo, Brazil, where she invents objects for socio-political storytelling, using design fictions as a method of cultural commentary.

The second speculative project is Growing Trash by Matt Visco, a creative technologist whose work focuses on design interactions aimed at exposing the hidden elements of daily life. Matt’s work manifests itself in both digital and physical objects that contain embedded behaviors. Matt holds a degree in computer science from University of Berkeley, California and is currently working as a freelance developer and designer in Oakland, California.

Growing Trash aims to provoke these questions in its user. As the can fills, it grows taller to create more space. This encourages the user to be lazy, space becomes seemingly endless and the need to take out the trash disappears. As the trash can growa, taking out the trash becomes more challenging. The user is forced into a conundrum; either submit to complete laziness and let the trash pile up around the can or take initiative and put in the extra work to take out the trash. This object promotes laziness but due to it’s absurdity generates self-awareness and potentially leads to corrective behavior. Unread Cats takes this concept to the digital realm. When a user opens their gmail they are bombarded by videos of cats based on their amount of unread emails. If a user has only one unread email they only receive one cat video, a pleasant addition to checking mail. As the user gets lazier with reading their emails more cats videos appear. This promotes laziness by overwhelming you with funny yet mindless material for you to digest. The user is incentivized to not check their mail and watch cat videos instead. Again this promotes laziness by encouraging the user to watch these videos but in rendering your mail virtually ineffective over time it also creates a self-awareness.

Both Monique and Matt during the four weeks workshop, used all the Fablab‘s facilities and Genuino‘s boards to create the interaction and give life to their projects.

On the same time, Iohanna Nicenboim came as visiting tutor and was guest of Casa Jasmina. We asked Iohanna her experience as designer and as guest of Casa Jasmina, here the entire interview

  • Hi Iohanna! You recently won the Internet of Things People’s Choice Award for the Best Design Fiction Project of 2015/16. Congratulations! Can you tell us about your background and what led you to even becoming interested in the field of IoT?

Hi! Thank you. My background is in Product Design and New Media, so somehow the IoT connects these two. I was always interested in technology, but sometimes found the ‘screen paradigm’ very cold and limited. Thus, researching about Ubiquitous Computing and the IoT was fascinating, as I could finally imagine interactions with technology being part of our everyday life, and especially embedded in the physical world of objects. However, I still think there is a lot of work to do for designers of the IoT: its social aspects are not well explored and there is a gap between user-centered and thing-centered design. Thus, trying to understand this technology’s challenges and possibilities, and especially how we would like to adopt and domesticate it, are my personal interests right now.

  • Tell us more about your winning project Objects of Research. What were you hoping to achieve in creating these objects? In the end, did they meet your expectation?

Objects of Research is a critical design project about the IoT. It focuses on the question: ‘WHO is the OBJECT in the Internet of Things?’ With this question, I suggest that we, humans, might not be the customers or the users of the IoT anymore, but rather the objects. This idea is based on the current trends of quantification, as well as the current models of online services, in which we are the producers of data, which is used by companies and governments. Around this ideas, I explored the scenario in which artefacts in the house could not only collect data, but also use us as subjects (or objects?) of their research. Through four fictional devices, I examined the challenges and risks of adopting the current models of the online services, into our future houses. Thus, my goal was to trigger a critical reflection on what kind of Internet we would like to adopt in Things. I think it is important for designers to address the Internet of Things also critically, as that could help us identify and reflect on some of the challenges we might face in adopting this technology. Thus, my aim with this project was to problematize the IoT, and try to break with the current discourses which are extremely positive, preventing us from understanding its social implications.

  • You came to Torino to visit with students from School of Machines, Making & Make-Believe. What incite did you share and which did you gain?

I know Rachel Uwa for some years and was following the School of Ma since it started. When she told me the premise for her next program in Turin, I thought it was a great opportunity to join. I felt very connected with the starting point for “Coming Soon” which proposed to explore how we could reflect the subtleties and complexities of our human nature in the devices we create. I especially liked that the program was about IoT, but with a focus on culture and ethics. I was also excited to meet the instructors, Sitraka Rakotoniaina and Andrew Friend, and enjoyed sharing a small part of the program with them. The group was really creative and open, and I loved the atmosphere that Rachel and Casa Jasmina provided. It was so much fun to hear about their process and ideas, it was truly inspiring for me!

  • While here, you were hosted by Casa Jasmina. What was that experience like for you?

Living at Casa Jasmina was a very interesting experience for me as a designer, which I would call a “real design fiction” or a “What if? experience .” Since I work in the field of design fiction, I always create making-belive projects, in which I come up with an idea and through videos and images make it credible for others. But being at Casa Jasmina was like embedding myself into the fiction: Every light I turned on, every noise from the heating or move from the wind, made me think, what if things around were connected or alive? How would I like to interact with them? And especially, how would this change my relationship with the house? Additionally, I knew the house was not very technological, but I discovered that exactly that might be its great potential: leaving things open lets us imagine alternative interactions that are very different from the superficial promises of IoT commercials. Instead, the openness allowed me to think how would I like a connected home to be, which is much more important.

  • How do you imagine the future of Casa Jasmina? As a designer what do you expect from the project?

I think the real challenge of the IoT is to go beyond connecting artifacts, and rather imagine which new kinds of objects could exist and which new relationships we could have with and through them. One of the most interesting aspects for me about the IoT is that it can radically impact on the way we perceive objects, our houses, and ourselves. Once our houses get connected to the internet, the idea of home might change dramatically. So I think Casa Jasmina is a great way to explore how people might perceive “home” in the future and what could be the impact of this shift for the design of IoT. Personally, I think it is a great playground for designers, a place to imagine and explore questions in a very free way.

  • At some point, you shared an idea for how the Casa Jasmina space could be divided which was quite interesting. What came of this idea in the end? You will come later, in the summer, for a residency in Casa Jasmina to develop this project. What do you expect from this experience?

Yes, the plan is to come back in the summer to work on an idea I had while I was staying at the house. The idea is based on my experience that there were spaces which seemed more private than others. Some places might like to share informations and some others might need to keep secrets.. as in every house. So my challenge is to reflect the privacy of spaces with design, finding an interesting design language. I want to explore Privacy not as a dichotomy, but as a more complex gradient of personal values. I would like to start this exploration on door-knobs, as I am really interested in the infrastructural elements of the house. I like the tension between the visibility and invisibility of the infrastructures in connected houses, and I think that by drawing attention to the physical infrastructures, people could be more aware of the invisible infrastructures of spaces we inhabit, such as networks.

  • Could you tell to a designer and a normal guest the reason to come and visit Casa Jasmina?

Reasons are many, but among them: to meet the amazing team of Casa Jasmina, to enjoy a nice meal and relax in the bright and beautiful space they have, and to travel in time once you go out of the door: Turin is a magical city where time has stopped, and the future is coming soon 😉 What advice would you give to others thinking to visit Casa Jasmina to help them best utilize their time in the space? Personally, I think it’s good to be there and let the house talk to you. In the Fablab you can build everything, but I think it would be important to understand what are the needs and possibilities of that particular space. My recommendations are: Be ready to be surprised, and to challenge your assumptions of what a Smart Home should be – instead, you can imagine what kind of smart home you would like it to be. I think it would be good to do a short (research) visit and then come back and build your project!

  • What are your upcoming plans? Any new IoT objects on the horizon or what’s next for you?

Right now I am developing some new ideas, which I will show in Milan in the Salone del Mobile as part of the Good Home project. I am also planning a workshop in Berlin around March at Art+Com Explore, and extremely excited about going back to Casa Jasmina in the summer for a residency. 

chargement ATV5  au S5C le 24/03/14 VA219 3…2…1 lift off, house guests in orbit

Casa Jasmina is already in orbit waiting for its special guests.

This is the eleventh consecutive year for the Italian electronic art fair SHARE FESTIVAL. SHARE FESTIVAL is a cross-disciplinary platform for the promotion of contemporary art and culture in all its creative forms.

The headquarter of the 2016 edition of SHARE FESTIVAL will be Casa Jasmina, the perfect place for SHARE that has moved directly into the means of production for Italian digital art and crafts.

Hosted in the post-industrial building that Casa Jasmina shares with Fablab Torino and Officine Arduino, this year edition sounds great with the theme “House guests”. SHARE will take place in May and immediately followed by the Torino Mini Maker Fair with its lively burst of digital.

With a ten days exhibition, Share Festival will show in May the six artworks chosen by its jury from around the world, exhibited at Fablab Torino and Casa Jasmina spaces.

Casa Jasmina will also host a special show of artworks chosen from SeditionArt.com. SeditionArt is a new commercial gallery for code art and media art, where screen display rights to limited-edition electronic works can be privately collected, purchased, and traded online.

For this edition SHARE decided to invite as jury members two special guests: Cap. Samantha Cristoforetti and Paola Antonelli

Captain Samantha Cristoforetti is an European Space Agency astronaut, engineer and design enthusiast. Paola Antonelli, born in Sardegna, is the Senior Curator of the Department of Architecture & Design as well as the Director of R&D at MoMA New York. Paola Antonelli was responsible for adding video games, the Arduino control board and innovative 3DPrinted objects to the NY MoMA’s permanent design collection.

The jury is completed by Chiara Garibaldi, the SHARE Festival director, Jasmina Tesanovic, widely known as “the Jasmina of Casa Jasmina,” and American author Bruce Sterling, curator of the event.

For the meeting of the jury the 4th March a public appearance of Samantha Cristoforetti and Paola Antonelli is scheduled. Around 17:30 pm they will show up for a public talk at Toolbox coworking.

We have few free places to attende the talk the 4th of March, we will open this Eventbrite link at 12:00 the 2nd of March. Please follow the link and be sure to reserve you place.

If you can’t reserve it come to join us, it will be a room 42 m from the live room, where we will follow all together the talk.

See you the 4th of March!!



IMG_1832 (1) A midwinter night’s Meetup…connected devices and future

Last night from 6:30 pm Turin GMT (we love Turin), Casa Jasmina organized a Meetup at Toolbox’s entrance hall, to reflect and talk about the state of art of connected devices and design fiction.

The panel, presented by Rachel Uwa from SchoolofMaaa, was part of a one month workshop hosted by Casa Jasmina and Toolbox coworking, with a provocative title: “Coming Soon”.

What exactly is coming soon? This was the main question of the panel.

The first speaker was Regine Debatty, editor of the famous blog “we make money not art”. She talked about the “Geological materiality of the Internet of Things”.

Ranging from the extraction of minerals to the production of artifacts, from the mass distribution to Amazon’s workers conditions; how Pink Floyd should say, she highlighted the dark side of the IoT, reflecting about who finally is the machine. Humans or things?

Same questions but from consumers’s point of view for the presentation of Iohanna Nicenboim, whose projects are in this moment at Casa Jasmina.

Iohanna, who won this year the IoT Awards as Best design fiction objects, on her projects reflects on: “what are the implications of giving objects more power?”

Last but not least, the presentation of Andrew Friends and Sitraka Rakotoniaina, tutors of the SchoolofMaaa’s workshop.

They presented their design fiction projects, based on interaction between reality and imagination, increasing the experience and underlining the power of creativity.

The Meetup ended with some questions on the aesthetics of new devices and their future potentialities.

This was the second Meetup organized by Casa Jasmina and with  many participants was the second in a long series.

This is the link to watch the video.

iotawards-winner-01-945x500 copy Best IoT open source project 2016

The Academy awards night is coming and is a perfect moment to be nominated and to win a prize. Casa Jasmina (without any golden statuette) won its prize yesterday: the Internet of Things Awards as best IoT open source project chosen by the editors.

The Open Source award honors projects that bring those values to the Internet of Things, either by incorporating open source technology or by making public the details of their own designs and software”, this is the idea of the IoT awards organization in which Casa Jasmina completely believes.

The open source movement is for Arduino and consequently for Casa Jasmina, the core of internet in terms of hardware, software and protocols that compose the global communication infrastructure, and in this way the power of collaborative development is the main focus of Casa Jasmina idea.

As a futuristic Wunderkammer, Casa Jasmina will collect and share artificialia to present in a open way system what and how the IoT concepts will change the daily home life.

Winning this competition is for Casa Jasmina the acknowledgement  of a project that take on to transform into reality a series of reflections around IoT and open source. Casa Jasmina is really proud to have been selected between 21 projects, because this represent the attention we are trying to attract.

There is still a lot of work, Casa Jasmina is working hard to reach the goal; it’s not simple but awards like this give hope to the project, and show the interest that exists on these issues.

So thank you all

regine001 Design talk: connected devices, design fictions and future possibilities

As part of the School of Machines, Making & Make-Believe’s four-week ‘Coming Soon’ program being held in collaboration with Officine Arduino, Casa Jasmina, and FabLab Torino, an informal panel and open discussion will take place at Casa Jasmina.

We will discuss about: speculative futures, connected devices and realizing designed fictions. 

Special guests include Regine Debatty, curator, critic, and blogger of the illustrious website We Make Money Not Art, and Berlin-based designer and researcher, Iohanna Nicenboim, whose focus is on creating meaningful interactions with emerging technologies.

Leading the discussion will be the instructors of the ‘Coming Soon’ program, Andrew Friend and Sitraka Rakotoniaina, a London-based collaborative duo specialised in designing objects, artefacts and devices as a form of storytelling to question and excite. Together they exam relationships between the known and unknown, the real and imagined in the individual quest to harness the sublime.

About our guests

Sitraka Rakotoniaina born in Madagascar and raised in Paris, currently lives and works in London. He is an Artist and Designer whose body of works ranges from fictional science experiments to speculative objects and devices. His work explores our relation to science and technology, encompassing cultural and social implications, as well as the beliefs and values intrinsic to their development. With a focus on the possibility of transforming individual sensory experiences, Sitraka often uses the human body as vehicle to trigger people’s imagination. He ‘crafts’ narratives through the conception and fabrication of objects and uses their ‘aesthetic’ qualities and theatricality as the foundations enabling a physical form of storytelling. Sitraka studied Industrial Design and Graphic Design/Multimedia in Paris, and graduated from the Design Interactions course at the Royal College of Art. He has worked as an independent Interaction Designer since 2006 and is currently represented by Nexus Interactive Arts as a Director on their roster. His work has been shown internationally including venues such as the Victoria and Albert Museum, Venice Architecture Biennale, Saint-Etienne design Biennial, the Art Center College of Design. And recognised through awards and publications including D&AD, we-make-money-not-art, Axis Magazine, See Yourself Sensing by Madeline Schwartzman, Design and Violence by the MoMA, etc.
Exif_JPEG_PICTUREAndrew Friend is an artist and designer who’s work explores experience, and the relationship between people, landscape, and their desires. He is interested in the extraordinary, fantastic and desirable (or indeed undesirable) experiences and outcomes that may result from these interactions. His work spans a range of media, through narrative and drawings to large scale physical objects designed to promote, facilitate, and question these experiences, examining relationships between the known and unknown, the real and imagined in the individual quest to harness the sublime. His work has been exhibited and published internationally at institutions including The National Museum of China, Beijing, Welcome Collection, London, & Art Centre, Los Angeles, USA, in 2015 he was awarded the Arte Laguna Prize, (Land art division), Venice Italy. Andrew is currently studio leader and associate lecturer in the department of Spatial Practices, Central St Martins, University of the Arts London.
regine-debattyRégine Debatty is a writer, curator and critic, and founder of we-make-money-not-art.com. Régine is known for her writings on the intersection between art, science, technology, and social issues. She writes and lectures internationally about the way artists, hackers and designers use technology as a medium for critical discussion. From 2012 to 2014 Régine ran the weekly art and science programme #A.I.L. (Artists in Laboratories) on Resonance104.4 fm in London. She is also the co-author of the ‘sprint book’, New Art/Science Affinities, published by Carnegie Mellon University and is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Art in London.
Iohanna (1)Iohanna Nicenboim is a Berlin based designer and researcher, focused on creating poetical interactions with technology. Inspired by complex socio-technical systems and scientific imaginary, she creates speculative futures and alternative presents in different scales and formats: from generative food installations to narrative connected devices. Her practice overlaps design, science and data, showing a critical and provocative approach towards technology and the way it relates to society. Her recent work is concerned with the social and ethical aspects of the Internet of Things, investigating what our role as humans in the connected home would be, suggesting we may become the objects of the systems we have created. In this way, Iohanna encourages a critical reflection on the models of the Internet and the use of data in our daily lives. She is currently a teacher at Node Center, part of the organisation team of Retune Conference, and a reviewer for TEI16: Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interaction conference. Aside from various workshops and residencies, her work has been featured in international festivals, such as FutureEverything, and books like DataFlow.
IMG_8526 copy Poster-telling about Casa Jasmina

We are really happy that Cristina Zilio worked with Casa Jasmina for her graduation project!

With the goal of narrating the all Casa Jasmina project, she designed 5 posters explaining key aspects of 5 emblematic projects hosted inside Casa Jasmina.
One poster is about the smart Thermostat, another one tell a story about the night lamp by Alessandra Deschamps-Sonsino.
Then there is a poster about the ethical fan by Simone Rebaudengo and Matthieu Cherubini, one about the Opendesk table ad the last one about the kitchen.

One of the poster has been silk-printed with the precious help of the PrintClub.
All the posters will be hang and showed up on Casa Jasmina.

Check them out!


schoolofma Call for Applications| Coming Soon : Fabrication, Internet of Things, and Design Fiction

Program dates: 1 February – 28 February 2016

Special Holiday application deadline: 26 December 2015

Regular application deadline: 1 January 2016



Can we create connected devices which reflect the subtleties and complexities of our human nature? Can we fabricate objects that lead to the creation of new cultural norms? What is the role of ethics in the creation of a new connected world?

In this four-week program* Coming Soon, led by Andrew Friend and Sitraka Rakotoniaina stemming from the RCA in London, the School of Machines, Making & Make-Believe, using a hands-on approach, will investigate the creative and expressive possibilities of Internet of Things technologies, electronics and sensors, and gain a foundation in digital fabrication and design fiction methodologies.

Inhabiting a fictional narrative, students will dream up inventive ideas for new smart objects and with the aid of our instructors and other professionals, learn the proper tools and processes needed to create and communicate their own vision of the future.

Starting with basic prototyping through to advanced fabrication techniques, making use of the latest digital fabrication tools within the Officine Arduino community facilities, we will work through the entire process of design from initial narrative and conception through rough prototyping. At program’s end, we will present a fully documented performance and exhibition of our final objects in Casa Jasmina, the connected home of the future conceived by science fiction writer Bruce Sterling and Massimo Banzi, co-founder of the Arduino project.

The infiltration of smart devices into our lives is coming soon. Currently, corporations and even governments are investing billions to fund research and manufacture up-and-coming networked objects designed to “make our lives easier”. But what are the implications of this?

Throughout the program, we will collectively construct the mythologies and belief systems we inhabit, as a means to speculate around the possible impacts contemporary exploration may have on future society.

*This is a special program in partnership with Officine Arduino, Fablab Torino, and Casa Jasmina and will take place at their facilities in Turin, Italy.

Visit our website to learn more and submit an application: http://schoolofma.org

Twitter |  https://twitter.com/schoolofmaaa

Facebook |  https://www.facebook.com/schoolofmachines

056c026d-1c66-4d42-9fae-a8e96df290c5-1020x911 Ada Lovelace @IoWomenT

Who is Ada?

   Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace, is no longer who she once was, 200 years ago. Time changes all famous people, especially cult personalities.  Ada has become a modern icon for the digitizing world of science and literature.
    For women, so commonly invisible in their daily lives, the path to fame is, as a rule, transgressing rules. Whenever visible, they are mostly notorious. In reading history we can scarcely see what famous women actually did with their lives.  It is their misdeed, or some failure to perform, that we can generally see.
    This applies especially to heroines and celebrities: women placed on a pedestal have a hard time climbing off it to relate their actual experience.   Invisibility is a woman’s permanent condition, a method of survival, a gender’s way of life: like in the Purloined Letter story by Edgar Allan Poe, a hidden message is concealed by its very display.
     Ada is our heritage souvenir, 200 years after her birthday. She is heavier than a gold medal, more mysterious than Nefertiti, a thought experimenter whose fantasy calculations have transformed the world like the work of Einstein. General computation is a stark reality, a revolutionary insight which took its own time to arrive after its conception by a woman.
    Who else would think up such an unlikely thing, other than Ada Lovelace, the daughter of the poet Byron? It’s the proper work of a poet to give names to the unseen things in the world.  And yet, living as a woman of science is not so easy as conceiving, thinking, writing, calculating, publishing.  In those 200 years — or 36 years less, since Ada died young — the role of women in science has become more complex, not simpler.
     In Ada’s day, women, when rarely accepted into the narrow circles of scientific societies, were accepted as popularizers, as teachers, as sympathetic advocates. Women of science were legitimated in that sociable way, intuitive, visionary and romantic, but were still superfluous in the serious male work of science and progress.  A female propagandist can only be a source of wary respect when she becomes dangerous politically.
    In our own time, I see Adas every day, in my life in technology art. I have outlived Ada, so I see what professional life is like for women who live in, or are placed on the fringes of, technology.  Talented, geeky, bright, yet held back by the structures of a boys’ camaraderie when it comes to technological products: boys and their toys.
    These talented women, as geekettes, as crazed women, as eccentric females, prefer to stay back, to conceal themselves, if they cannot perform in their own way, to their own ends.  They do not know how to bargain with their creativity in the mainstreams of science or art. Their ideas are still intuitive and visionary, as Ada’s ideas were, when compared to the engineering plans of her colleague Charles Babbage.
    Babbage was her good friend and they had a successful collaboration. They complemented each other and yet today, his work holds little mystery, while hers still does. Because there are yardsticks for measuring his scientific output — he tried to build a costly machine for a government, and he failed — but no yardstick for hers. She is in the domain of courtly fantasy for male authors, and a matter of hope and trust for women scientists.
    Feminists  analyze Ada’s famously absent father and her strongly biased mother, her constrained and yet  peaceful private life as wife and mother. Her sexual life which ended in uterine fatal sickness: so feminine, so incurable, even today. Her uterus exploded from too much mathematics! Her contemporary misogynist doctor allegedly claimed that of her illness, and certainly it was common enough at that time to think that scientific knowledge was too much for female frailty to bear.
    She bled to her death at the same age as her father, Lord Byron, who was bled to his death by incompetent doctors while struck with fever in Greece. Only, Lord Byron was courting his own death by fighting a foolish war, as an aggressive proud bossy male, while obedient Ada bore her children while diligently doing her calculus.
    How did Ada escape her father’s shadow, his scandalous absence from her life, her mother’s clutching, overbearing presence?  Through rigid lessons of hard science and flights of creative fantasy.  Through computation: an endless perspective of thinking, creating, coding! A programmable machine that weaves numbers, with an intelligence that was artificial because it was a woman’s intelligence.
    People like to indulge themselves in quarreling over the proper division of intellectual spoils between Lovelace, Babbage, Menabrea and others.  The truth is that the Difference Engine was an abject failure, the Analytical Engine could not succeed even though Ada bravely offered to finance the machine.  So her great idea of general-purpose computation remained dormant for many decades.  Many women enter science only to find frustration.  “A serious injustice and a scandalous waste of talent,” as Máire Geoghagan-Quinn, the European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, recently said about the stifled role of European women in science, innovation and research.
    If Ada had never existed, we would have had to invent her, but she did exist, and it’s her modern myth as a digital heroine that we have invented.   Certainly she was never “digital” even for a moment, but we are still standing on the shoulders of this attractively gowned and vivacious Victorian society hostess.
     If Ada were alive today, I would certainly invite her to visit our “Internet of Women Things” group. IoWomenT is a recent attempt related to Casa Jasmina, a smart home of the future in Turin.  I’m sure that the Countess of Lovelace would be quite helpful to an open-source effort, since she always was a friend to scientific enlightenment, and never one to rudely quarrel over worldly reputation or commercial advantage.
     One of our goals is to create at least one connected smart IoT “Thing” from a woman’s point of view. Some thing that has never existed, something that women need, dream about and yet have never managed to technically manufacture. The open source Maker movement should certainly be capable of this: An Ada IoT object.
     But what is it, what could it be?  A sentimental memento? 3 d printed sculpture of her brain (Babbage’s brain was pickled, and is still available)?  A analog brass computer-generated piece of music, because Ada doted on music?  How could we, as modern women, act in her  spirit, and not as the myth would have it?
     Many things impress me about the mysterious Countess of Lovelace (who probably wouldn’t much like our impertinence in always calling her “Ada”). Her father, George Gordon, Lord Byron, I love in my own way (because I had a father story too). Also her feminist struggle with her authoritarian, invasive mother (same here again).  People dwell on her arranged marriage and her supposed lovers (I don’t trust the gossip).  Almost every woman can relate some similar problems and that’s fine, nobody is perfect, not even an aristocratic woman scientist.
     What excites me about Ada is her lateral way of thinking, deducing, calculating. Because that imaginative freedom, the cognitive leaps to a good conclusion, are obvious from her surviving letters and notes.  This is just what society still needs today from women.  We never have enough of it: female genius rising from the cradle of constraint.
      So I would invite her ladyship, the countess and scientist, to our IoWT workshop. Dressed contemporarily, to the extent she could manage (after all she is 143 years older than us, and given to corsets) she could participate in our open source CasaJasmina brainstorming, where we honk like geese in the fog. Listening politely, till she stands up screaming in her ladylike manner: I’ve got it! I know what we need to do!
     Then she tells us her vision… And we just make it!
11760299_10153301170597819_3998969923994740710_n Good Night Lamp
A lamp gives us light, for reading, for a romantic mood, for a cosy corner, for bright playful fun, for a Christmas tree…  A lamp is decorative but functional: people are fussy about their lamps.
Lamps are household objects that can make a marriage tremble: My mother’s lamp must be set here, it’s part of my identity, my patrimony!  But it’s old and hideous, it scarcely works, it makes me nervous!
Then the lamp is shoved out of the common space, a dusty memento, banished into a private corner like an unwanted child.
When my daughter was five she discovered a lamp I had stored away in the cellar. I had used this lamp when breast feeding her, during the long nights of wailing infancy, and never again.
The forgotten lamp shed a dim yellow light  and was made of a kind of rubber.  A trashing child could not shatter it as the mother struggled to restore a child to sleep.  This five year old had not seen this lamp since the age of nine months, and yet, unerringly, she took it back to the windowsill where it had once stood. She had to stand on tiptoe to restore it to its proper place, and she was adamant in wanting it exactly THERE.
She had no words to offer, just a big emotional wave of happiness, which of course I could not deny her. Although the lamp was ugly and had no more use for nursing, I saw it rooted at its window sill as if it was a tree of life, our life.  Our common life, a link, a line, a thread of time, a memory of mother’s milk, the first food of life, of mothers and child’ s bonding… name it.  So the lamp remained there until the child grew, we left the flat, we the country, and we finally cut the electric umbilical cord.
This experience drastically changed my concept of lamps. I lost all interest in buying entirely new lamps.  I only wanted old lamps that already had a story, a light to cast on my soul, not only my spaces.  Rather demanding and irrational of me.
Then  Alessandra Deschamps-Sonsino gave us a lamp as a housewarming present for Casa Jasmina.  This connected house lamp (for actually there are two) is shaped like two houses: a large house and a smaller house, or a mother unit and child unit.
    These two lamps, connected by wireless data signals, are known as the “Good Night Lamp.” If the mother lamp is switched on, the child lamp would also spontaneously light up, even if it is standing on the other side of the planet.  The smaller lamp has no switch.  It glows only when when the mother lamp is also glowing.
    This is a silent message of reassurance, like a never ending umbilical cord between mother and child.   It doesn’t interrupt or demand attention, action, or speech, like an SMS ping, email or phone call.   It merely glows when the other glows, no matter what the time zone or location, conveying silent emotion to whomever is on the other side of the bonding line. It’s even possible to have one mother unit and several smaller ones.
    This seems to me the right level of intelligence for a “smart lamp.”  A lamp doesn’t need to be so “smart” that it lectures the fridge and the toaster — better that it should have the right shape, size and glow, and that it should cast the light I once saw when I was awake during long nights, holding my baby wrapped in a cosmos of motherly worry and bliss.