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A touch adventure for a friend's project

Some days ago I helped a friend and the incredibly inspired artist Andrea Santini to work on a really exciting project for an Italian small company called Arbos, a paper mill based on the idea of paper recycling and environmental sustainability.

In the context of project “MIMESIS” by Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, and also for the thirty years since the foundation of the company, the project brings the idea to develop an interactive paper surface to guide people from Venice to Trentino’s region across the Brenta’s valley, telling the history of paper crafting.


I’ve been called only to help Andrea in the last stages of a big 5 months-long project during which he had designed the entire system.

Switching to the real focus of the project, the goal was to craft 10-11 interactive paper surfaces that could function as an audible guide of the story about paper and print processing along the river Brenta. Using some simple capacitive sensors the paper surface has been transformed into an interactive map.

Circuit and codes previously developed by Andrea were not so difficult to install and run on the platform that he had designed, but the time available to assemble all the tablets and to make sure that all of those were working like a charm was not so much. In addiction a couple of technical setbacks had turned the work into a little challenge for the assembly team.

3 days of tests, productive ideas, crazy developing suggestions for improving the original scheme of all the electrical components of the boards.

3 days of full work were the effort has been completely overcome by the satisfaction of the final result.

3 days of I-don’t-know-how-many-metres-of-molten-tin.

Core of the project was a Bare Conductive Touch Board, a micro-controller really similar to an Arduino UNO but with some proprietary libraries and 12 touch sensitive inputs.

Besides this: a lithium battery, a mini-USB power distribution module, some hand-made touch-contacts, a D-class amplifier, a contact speaker and a couple of switches.

I’ve worked to edit and finalize the audio material (English and Italian version) used in the tablets and as a human welder in the practical processes of the production-line work to build the paper tablets with all their circuitry inside.


It has been such an incredible experience to be able to help someone else in a project, revising some electrical and informatics principles along with circuitry schematics that make these type of creative ideas real and possible to craft.

I was honoured to have taken part in this project, giving a little help.

Hope to have others possibilities like this one in the future.

Thank you Andrea for your kindness, your hospitality and for sharing those working days with me_

Thank you Arbos (in the figures of Sergio, Oriella and Oliver)_

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