Manufacturing and research are part of Italy’s DNA, which explains the popularity and excellence of “Made in Italy” worldwide. In the last couple of decades we’ve seen productions being outsourced from Italy to cheaper locations around the world, in an aim to cut costs. Sadly, what also happened was that we began losing our expertise and, most importantly, jobs, with countless companies in the manufacturing sector being forced to close, unable to compete with other countries’ cheaper production costs.
This is now changing radically and our Friuli Venezia Giulia Region is the perfect example, expressing a strong will to bring back manufacturing where it belongs.
The “ITS Made in FVG” project is a step in fuelling the future by repositioning, communicating and promoting on an international level the identity of our regional manufacturing system. It brings together an excellence in the field of artificial intelligence and sensory computation with a talented young creative, paving the way for a collaboration that allows manufacturing to explore creative paths which hadn’t yet been considered, and creatives to broaden their possibilities in the development of exciting new products implementing the most forward-thinking technology. Basically, what you would call a win-win relationship that pushes innovation forward.
“The Region – ITS initiative – commented Sergio Bolzonello, Vice President of the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region and regional minister for industrial policies, tourism and cooperation – is consistent with the regional strategy that aims at favoring with concrete initiatives a technologically advanced and innovative manufacturing sector, capable of creating added value. The conversation between art and enterprise is a remarkably fecund terrain for the creation of the “innovation” we need: the interaction between diverse production lines is where the spark of genius/innovation is started, and not by chance. Offering services, infrastructures and support to creativity: this is our task in Friuli Venezia Giulia and in this direction we are channeling our energies. Successfully combining aesthetic values and profitable production requires new interpretations and a new fast approach on the LTC and eco-compatible economy scenario. The ITS project in this sense is a case in point: looking to the future and anticipating the un-seen and even the un-imagined is a challenge, and we cannot be caught unprepared”.
Eurotech is a perfect example of the area’s manufacturing excellence. At the forefront of digital technologies evolution, it works towards the not far future when computers will turn into an integral part of our world, an invisible extension of ourselves. This is the promise of pervasive computing “which combines three factors” says Roberto Siagri, Eurotech President & CEO, “the miniaturization of computers, their spread in the real world, and their ability to network and communicate”.
Mr Siagri went on to brilliantly express the underlying concept of the ITS Made in FVG project: “Computers today are sophisticated elements that give human beings the means to augment external reality and their comprehensive presence on the internet. Progress will be such that we will no longer see computers as computers, but as an integral part of our world, as an extension of ourselves. Existing technologies can really change the man/computer relationship, making their co-existence increasingly symbiotic and enabling a new era of sustainable living on planet Earth. In order to fully exploit such potential, we need to close the gap between our human body and the computers. Making computers wearable is a way to achieve that, which requires a focus on aesthetics, ergonomics and user experience rather than on computing and communication power. This is why we established this collaboration with ITS: to explore the merging of digital technologies with both emotions and a sense of usefulness.”
Our recent takes on arguments such as graphene, nanotechnologies and wearable tech can also provide more insight on this extremely interesting topic which promises to change our whole way of relating with machines.
Sustainability could also be greatly improved. “We believe that a way to increase the adoption of sustainable technologies is to present them to potential users through a design that triggers an emotion and conveys a sense of usefulness” says Roberto Siagri. This is why we involved ITS 2015 finalist Bianca Chong in the project. Following a BA in fashion design she obtained an MA degree in Fashion Artifact, to study and explore different possibilities of objects that lie beyond the boundary of fashion accessories and jewelry. Precisely what her ITS collection was about: a series of aesthetically beautiful objects stimulating an interaction with the user through mechanical elements triggered by the action of a finger. By working side by side with Eurotech, Bianca will have the unique opportunity to access their immense scientific and technological know-how in the development of an artistic speculation based on the idea of wearable technology and the internet of things (the idea that all devices around us, from your fridge to your car, your house, your clothes and everything around you is connected and interacting through the internet). Eurotech and other companies in Friuli Venezia Giulia operating at the technological forefront will support Bianca in the production of a prototype that will be presented at ITS 2016.
We are rapidly moving towards a world where advanced technologies intertwine with what we wear and what we do in our everyday life. The “ITS Made in FVG” project is a first step towards an open future where we are going to take for granted incredible technologies being explored and developed right now. Advances in nanotechnology and sensory computation are opening possibilities to creative expression. At the same time creativity is foreseeing new paths for technology to evolve.