Benedetta Piantella


A grinning woman looking upwards

I was born and raised in Parma, Italy. I am an artist and designer turned humanitarian technologist, after I helped organize emergency response efforts during the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004 in Sri Lanka. I have taught Lego robotics in NYC and worked for Arduino in Milan and, after receiving my Master's from the Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU in 2008, I worked at Smart Design in NYC producing interactive prototypes for high-end clients. I co-founded GROUND Lab® and more recently T4D Lab®, engineering R&D companies focused on producing sustainable solutions to humanitarian, social, environmental challenges worldwide. I have built partnerships with organizations such as the UN, UNICEF, The Millennium Villages Project and Universities such as NYU, Columbia and Princeton and have designed, prototyped and deployed projects in countries such as Uganda, Kenya, Mali and Tanzania. I have taught at NYU-ITP and NYU-Poly and recently covered the position of Technology Architect for the Earth Institute and the Modi Research Group at Columbia University. I am a frequent lecturer and an Open Source advocate particularly interested in appropriate technologies and local manufacturing. 

Courses Taught:

Design for UNICEF
Introduction to Physical Computing
Networked Sensors for Development
Project Development Studio
Towers of Power