Vegard Wollan reflects on AVR and Arduino

In this segment of my chat with Vegard Wollan, the co-inventor of the AVR explores the symmetry between the highly-popular microcontroller and the Arduino development board.

Personally, one of the great moments was when Vegard revealed that the entire AVR product line was meant from the start to be easy-to-use. This began with the instruction set, the architecture and continues to this day with things like Atmel Studio 6 integrated development environment (IDE), Atmel Spaces collaborative workspace, and Atmel Gallery, the place where you can find thousands of code samples and tutorials.


Vegard Wollan gestures to the AVR schematics as he explains to Paul Rako how ease of use was a primary design goal from the start.

So it is only natural that Arduino was built on this foundation to make their great ecosystem of development boards and their wonderful IDE. You can see Vegard truly appreciates and respects how Massimo Banzi made the entry into AVR programming even easier for both technical and non-technical folks alike.

Today, AVR 8-bit MCUs (as well as Atmel 32-bit ARM®-based MCUs) power a variety of Arduino’s easy-to-use boards including:

  • Arduino Uno: The most “standard” board currently available, the Uno is based on the ATmega328
  • Arduino Yún: The Yún is a microcontroller board based on the ATmega32u4 (datasheet) and the Atheros AR9331.
  • Arduino Nano: The Nano is a small, complete, and breadboard-friendly board based on the ATmega328.
  • Arduino Mega 2560: The version of the Mega released with the Uno, this version features the ATmega2560, which has twice the memory, and uses the ATmega 8U2 for USB-to-serial communication.
  • Arduino Leonardo: Based on the ATmega32u4, the Leonardo is a low-cost Arduino board, featuring the same shape and connectors as the Uno board but with a simpler circuit.
  • Arduino Micro: The Micro is based on the ATmega32u4, developed in conjunction with Adafruit.
  • Arduino Esplora: Derived from the Arduino Leonardo, the Esplora is a ready-to-use, easy-to-hold controller based on the ATmega32u4.
  • Arduino LilyPad: Powered by an ATmega32u4, the LilyPad is designed for wearables and e-textiles, allowing for the board to be sewn into fabric and similarly mounted power supplies, sensors and actuators with conductive thread.
  • Arduino Due: Based on an Atmel ARM Cortex®-M3 processor-based MCU — also known as the SAM3 MCU — the Due board is ideal for home automation projects and can run up to 96MHz.
  • Arduino Wi-Fi Shield: Built for Wi-Fi applications, the Arduino Wi-Fi shield is powered by the Atmel AVR UC3 MCU and an H&D wireless module, and provides developers a powerful Wi-Fi interface.
  • Arduino Zero: The board is powered by an Atmel SAM D21 MCU, which features a 32-bit ARM Cortex® M0+ core.

If you haven’t had the chance to tune-in to all of Vegard’s 1:1 interviews with the Atmel Analog Aficionado, you can check ’em out here.

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