Tag Archives: 8-bit MCU

ATtiny102/104 are self-programmable, 8- and 14-pin tinyAVR MCUs

New tinyAVRs deliver industry’s smallest and lowest power 8-bit MCU on the market today with 1KB Flash.

Making its debut at Embedded World 2016, Atmel has returned to its old-school ways with the world’s highest-performance, low-power, 8-bit microcontrollers boasting 1KB Flash memory. The all-new ATtiny102/104 run up to 12MIPS and integrate features previously only available in larger more expensive MCUs, making them ideal for smaller applications including logic replacement and the latest cost-optimized applications in the consumer, industrial and home automation markets.


The majority of today’s 8-bit market growth is coming from applications that previously only required discrete components. With many of these requiring simple intelligent functions such as timing, motor control or on/off functionality, 8-bit MCUs are becoming an essential feature for the personal healthcare, small kitchen appliance and consumer markets.

The ATtiny102/104 provide all the necessary features to help spur the growth in these applications with its small, cost-optimized low-pincount package with just 1KB of Flash memory. These features include self-programming for firmware upgrades, non-volatile data storage, accurate internal oscillator to provide more reliable motor control, high-speed serial communication with USART, operating voltages ranging from 1.8V to 5.5V 10-bit ADC with internal voltage references, and sleep currents at less than 100nA in power down mode with SRAM retention.

“Atmel has already sold more units of its 8-bit AVR core-based MCUs than the 7.4 billion people on Earth,” says Oyvind Strom, Atmel’s Senior Director of MCUs. “We continue to expand our AVR portfolio with the new ATtiny102/104 8-bit MCUs. These are the first two devices in our new tinyAVR portfolio that are packed with features optimized for tiny, compact MCU systems such as LED lighting, fan control and other small applications.”


Key specs of these tinyAVRs include:

• 1KB Flash / 32bytes SRAM
• 8- and 14-pin packages down to 2mm x 3mm in size
• Up to 12 MIPS at 12MHz
• Self-programmable Flash
• Accurate (±3%) Internal oscillator
• Multiple calibrated internal voltage references (1.1V, 2.2V, 4.3V)
• 10-bytes Unique ID (serial number)
• 10 bit ADC and analog comparator
• 1.8V to 5.5V voltage range
• -40°C to +105°C and -40°C to +125°C temperature ranges

The ATtiny102/104 engineering samples are now available with mass production samples slated for May 2016. The latest tinyAVRs are fully supported by Atmel Studio 7. Additionally, designers have access to the company’s embedded software, including the Atmel Software Framework and application notes, as well as the Atmel Gallery ‘app’ store.

AXIS Gear will make your existing window blinds or shades smart

This easy-to-install device will let you control all your shades with a tap of a finger to save you time and effort.

With seemingly everything in and around our homes becoming connected, it’s hard to envision everyday life without automated window shades and self-adjusting blinds. Well, it looks Toronto-based startup AXIS feels the same way. That’s because the team has unveiled AXIS Gear, a motorized add-on that can make any new and existing window unit smart.


So if you’re tired of constantly having to raise and lower the chain or looped cord, you’re in luck. This intelligent gadget will automatically take care of it all for you at pre-programmed times and even in response to light levels. Beyond that, you’ll be able to regulate your blinds using on-device controls or right from the palm of your hand with its accompanying mobile app.

In terms of hardware, the easy-to-install product consist of an electric motor, a rechargeable LiPo battery, a light sensor, a solar panel, a Bluetooth radio and a microcontroller, all housed inside a sleek wall-mounted box. The Gear’s solar-powered and wireless motor can be attached to the chain or cord of existing window shades. Meanwhile, a suite of sensors will enable you to configure “intelligent scheduling,” such as lifting the shades in the morning and turning down the blinds during the hottest periods of the day to help conserve energy. Looking ahead, the team also hopes to integrate the unit with some of today’s most popular smart home equipment running on ZigBee or Thread protocols and IFTTT so that you can customize your own scenarios that best suit your needs.


AXIS has designed their intelligent system with safety and security in mind. For starters, Gear not only lets you come home at night to much-need privacy knowing all your shades are lowered, it can help give off the impression that you’re home while away. But even more importantly, motorized blinds eliminate the all too common danger of strangulation by preventing the chain/cord from dangling freely so that children, in particular, can have a safe environment to play in.

Interested? Head over to Gear’s Indiegogo campaign, where AXIS is hoping to reach its $100,000 goal. Delivery is expected to get underway in late 2016.

Fun facts: 30 years, 1 company, unlimited possibilities

Boy, where has the time gone? Today, December 5, 2014, marks an extremely special day for us here at Atmel — it is the day we turn 30 as a semiconductor company. Founded in 1984, Atmel began as a company focusing on non-volatile memories. At this time, Atmel’s founder George Perlegos made a breakthrough with the invention of electrically erasable programable read-only memory, or EEPROM.


After 30 years of innovation, Atmel has emerged as a leading solutions-based company delivering secure, connected devices in the era of the Internet of Things. Guess you can say we’ve gotten ‘smarter’ with age! While the company’s influence can’t be underestimated when it comes to enabling Makers, designers and engineers alike, how much of its history do you actually know?

Here are a few interesting facts to get you up to speed on Atmel’s backstory!

Atmel = “Advanced Technology for Memory and Logic.”


Atmel changed headquarters and its logo in 2012. (Previous logo shown below.)


Atmel’s leadership in EEPROM and Flash was put to good use when it developed the first-ever Flash-based MCU in 1993, the AT89LP.


Atmel complemented the ARM7TDMI CPU with a unique set of system peripherals to create the world’s first ARM-based MCU.


Atmel’s SAM9 became the world’s first ARM9-based controllers.


The mXT768E was the industry’s first 32-bit single-chip controller for touchscreens up to 12-inches.


Atmel is also credited for creating the automotive industry’s first touchscreen controller supporting shieldless sensors and gloved operation.


The incredibly-popular AVR 8-bit architecture was introduced in 1997. By 2003, Atmel had already shipped over 500 million of the MCUs.


Atmel can be found at the heart of the the first Arduino prototype.


… And in the earliest MakerBot 3D printers.


… Oh, and some of the first DIY drones, too.


Atmel remains at the forefront of the Maker Movement, having been an avid participant in Maker Faires since their onset.


… Including an appearance at this year’s inaugural White House Maker Faire.


At the moment, there are over 160 Kickstarter projects built around Atmel AVR, not to mention its versatile Atmel | SMART ARM-based MCUs. Specifically, more than 60% have been successfully funded, garnering well over $7 million in pledges.


Atmel brought flexy back with the debut of its XSense touch sensors.


Atmel unveiled the first futuristic touch-centric curved automotive console back at CES 2014.


Oh. My. God. Becky, look… Atmel has even rap-battled with Sir Mix-A-Lot.


Atmel’s ATmega32U4 has transformed a number of ordinary objects into touch interfaces.


The ATtiny20 is so small that it can almost fit inside the ball of a ballpoint pen, or balance precariously on the tip of a matchstick.


Talk about driving the IoT! Earlier this year, Atmel packed its latest solutions onto a 40′ x 85′ mobile trailer and hit the open road. To date, the big rig has traveled over 55,000 miles with 10,000 visitors hopping onboard.

So, as we reminisce about our past, we can’t help but look ahead to the next 30 years! In celebration of this joyous occasion, we’re asking our fans, friends and loyal customers to share their favorite memories and show off their Atmel pride! Learn how to get started here!


And the Simply AVR Design Contest winners are…

Back in March, Atmel launched the second stage of its Simply AVR Design Contest, which encouraged Makers, designers and engineers to develop clever, ground-breaking 8-bit microcontroller-based designs using its highly-popular AVR family. After several months of ideation and submissions, we’re excited to announce that the grand prize winner of the contest is Juan Gonzalez for his IoT ATmega2560-powered robot.


Programmed with Atmel Studio 6.2, the winning IoT project — which garnered nearly 116,000 votes — runs in three modes including Wi-Fi via an Android application, object-tracking mode and MIMIC mode via TCP/IP.

“Atmel AVR MCUs are simple to use, have a robust ecosystem and are extremely flexible, allowing beginner developers to create innovative, out-of-the-box embedded designs beyond traditional applications,” explained Gonzalez.

“The ATmega-powered IoT robot only took me a couple days to put together and I was thrilled when I was notified. Thank you to the Atmel team for enabling me to showcase my design. I will continue to design with AVR MCUs.”


In total, five winners were selected through public voting on the contest site and Facebook; meanwhile, a separate Simply AVR Design Contest was conducted in parallel in China. Runner-ups included:

Sumit Grover, Remote and GSM-based home automation system

Savvas-George Kokkinidis-Loungos, Wireless remote car device using hand movements

Shreyas Gite, Arduino-powered medical scanner to measure body temperature and other vitals

Rahul Kar, Digital Soduku solver

“I’d like to congratulate our winners for the Simply AVR Design Contest,” said Sander Arts, Atmel Vice President of Marketing. “With over 300,000 votes for all five winners, there was clearly a lot of enthusiasm for the second phase of the Simply AVR Contest. All these projects showcased creative, impressive designs that demonstrate the simplicity of Atmel’s AVR MCUs which extend beyond the traditional boundaries. With a community of AVR enthusiasts, we are looking forward to the continuation of this program.”

With another successful challenge in the books, we’re eager to see what the future holds for these Makers’ prototypes. Perhaps, they will follow in the footsteps of previous design contest champion Pamungkas Prawisuda Sumasta, who recently launched a Kickstarter campaign for his team’s Phoenard all-in-one prototyping device.

Those wishing to browse through some of the other submitted creations can head over to the contest’s official gallery here.

Video: Vegard Wollan reflects on life and innovation

In the final segment of my interview with AVR microcontroller creator Vegard Wollan, I asked about his background and innovation at Atmel.

In response to my question of how he views his expertise, Vegard noted that he started out as a computer architect and digital designer. It’s simple to see the ease-of-use DNA in the AVR product line when Vegard then noted that he soon saw himself as someone that could make life easy for embedded designers. I think this focus on the customer pervades all of Atmel to this day.


Vegard Wollan reflects on his history of innovation at Atmel.

I went on to ask Vegard what he does in his spare time. His response? Exercising and boating off the beautiful, dramatic Norwegian coastline. I think physical activity is a key thing. In fact, I wish someone had warned me as a young man that engineering has an occupational hazard. You can make a good living sitting at a desk. This was less true when I was an automotive engineer, as I had to go the experimental garage and walk around Ford’s giant complex in Dearborn, Michigan. Nowadays, we all seem chained to a computer, and stuck in a chair all daylong. So, exercise and boating sounds like a great way to stay active and balance our lives a little bit!

As I pictured Vegard sailing around Norway looking at beautiful sunsets, I wondered if that was inspired him to be so innovative. He responded that the primary source of innovation at Atmel is working with a team of creative innovative people. I think this is true in most human endeavors. When I asked my dad why some restaurants had really good service, he noted that good people like to work with other good people. That is why Vegard is spot-on, and quite humble in noting that innovation comes from a team, not any single person.

Want to learn more about the backstory of AVR? You can tune-in to the entire 14-part series here.

Deadline for Simply AVR Design Contest extended

Back in March, Atmel launched the second stage of its Simply AVR Design Contest, which challenged Makers, designers and engineers to develop clever, ground-breaking microcontroller-based designs using its popular AVR MCUs. After seeing a number of amazing designs come through over the last few months, we have decided to extend the deadline by two weeks — giving Makers inspired from Maker Faire New York and Rome a final chance to submit their 8-bit ideas!


The Simply AVR first prize winner will receive $1,500 in cash, as well as some social media stardom across each of Atmel’s industry-leading channels. Each of the four runner-ups will claim a $500 cash prize, along with some coverage as well. Not too shabby!

So, why AVR? Atmel’s 8-bit microcontrollers offer Makers ease-of-use, low power consumption, and high level of integration all at their fingertips. Based on a single-cycle RISC engine that combines a rich instruction set, the incredibly-popular MCUs deliver close to 1 MIPS per megahertz and are optimized for minimum code size and maximum computing performance. Ideal for a broad range of applications — including industrial control, ZigBee and RF, medical and utility metering, communication gateways, sensor control, white goods and portable battery-powered products — AVR accelerates the time it takes to bring an idea to life.

Looking for some last-minute inspiration? This video from Analog Aficionado Paul Rako may help do the trick.

Whether you’re in the process of completing or still brainstorming your next design, don’t forget to enter your project today! Deadline is October 17, 2014.

Vegard Wollan on AVR Freaks and early data books

In the fourth episode of my interview with Vegard Wollan, the co-inventor of the AVR MCU alluded to the passionate following that Atmel and its 8-bit chip have developed.

I can personally attest to this. When one of my pals said he was “going off the reservation” to solve an AVR problem, I thought he meant he was going to use a certain competitor’s microcontroller. Turns out, he was simply referring that he was headed to Atmel’s AVR Freaks forum to get an answer, rather than put in a support ticket or use our knowledge base. What delighted me was when he said, “I would rather jump off a bridge than use a [competitor] part.” Simple as that.

Atmel recently rolled out a redesigned site for the die-hard community, which incorporates both feedback and testing provided by the users themselves. Aside from the new look, the site will utilize a much more robust infrastructure and web technologies to provide users with an enhanced experience. (For those seeking an avid community built around the Atmel | SMART ARM-based products, you can check out AT91.com.)

What I loved about the interview is how Vegard explained it was his college experience that convinced him of the value of a strong user community. We all remember those 3:00am dorm sessions where we would discuss the meaning of life. Vegard noted that Atmel would provide servers and gifts and anything else we could do to support the user community.

The co-inventor also brought along a few copies of the first AVR data book. I was amused to see this post on the AVR Freaks forum, by a user that did not know what a “data book” was. Boy, that makes me feel old! See sonny, back when the Earth was still cooling and dinosaurs roamed the fields, engineers didn’t do everything at their fingertip on the intertube. Companies, much like Atmel, would take all their datasheets and bind them up in this thing called a printed book. I have to admit, it was a great day when I tossed my 500 pounds of databooks in the dumpster. Bless the Internet, it made life so much better.


Vegard Wollan holds up the draft version of the May 1995 AVR databook.

Of course, that draft was only a checkplot for the real book. The video also shows Vegard holding up the final version of the AVR databook that us old-timers so frequently depended on. How we would have killed for the modern microcontroller selector guide!


Here, Vegard Wollan holds up the actual printed data book from May 1995, the first release of the famous AVR microcontroller to the world. They had to make some changes so this databook has parts listed that Atmel never actually produced, and was missing some other parts. Those 4-months printed book lead times were a killer for everybody.

So there you have it, folks. With billions of chips in the wild, a following of over 290,000 AVR Freaks and nearly 100,000 forum posts around the topic annually, it’s safe to say we’ve come a long way since the earliest days of the 8-bit microcontroller. If you’re not already a member of the growing AVR Freaks community, be sure to head on over to the newly-updated site and join today!

HackADay features Atmel-powered Phoenard

Back in February, Pamungkas Sumasta’s Phoenard won Atmel’s AVR Hero design challenge.

According to Sumasta, Atmel’s 8-bit AVR MCUs provide “the best small footprint controllers available in the market – especially when they are coupled with Arduino support.”

Recently, the Phoenard was featured on HackADay, along with a short video interview shot at Atmel’s Maker Faire Bay Area (2014) booth.

“We really like the form-factor but its hackability is where it really shines. Sumasta showed off the menu system which is quite snappy and makes it simple for you to add your own applications,” writes HackADay’s Mike Szczys.

“Software isn’t the only thing you can customize, as there’s a connector at the bottom of the phone. Sumasta showed off a breadboard attachment which was hosting LEDs of various colors. Their intensity can be altered using a simple slider app on the touchscreen.”