Tag Archives: Arduino Day

Here are some unbelievable projects to help celebrate Arduino Day

With Arduino Day celebrations just about to kick off, let’s take a look at some cool ‘duino projects!

Atmel powers Arduino. Arduino enables Maker. Maker inspires the world. While there are countless creations all over the web, we’ve compiled just a few of the most dynamic and different ‘duino projects from the past couple of months to help celebrate March 28th.

As you can tell, the open-source platform has come a long way since its inception a decade ago. Today, the Arduino family has grown to include more than two dozen low-cost boards, a community with hundreds of thousands of tinkerers and over a million (and counting) Arduino units in the wild.

So without further ado, here’s some of our favorite projects to kickoff Arduino Day festivities!

Unlocking doors by saying ‘open sesame!’


MIT student Dheera Venkatraman has developed a new way for users to wirelessly unlock their doors with simple Google Now-like commands.

Wearing an Enigma machine


Designed by Maker “Asciimation” the Enigma wristwatch is a fully-functional wearable that replicates the original machine, which was used to cipher secret messages in the 20th century.

Changing the TV channel with your mind


Maker Daniel Davis — who runs the website “Tinkernut” — has developed a homemade mind-controlled TV remote using an old Star Wars Force Trainer game and Arduino.

A wearable that lets you bring your teacher anywhere


Like a hawk-eyed professor, this wearable device literally puts a teacher looking over your shoulder.

This book cover judges you instead


Amsterdam creative studio Moore has turned the tables on an old-school idiom using a book sleeve equipped with an integrated camera and facial-recognition technology that scans the face of whoever comes near. If someone conveys too much emotion – whether overexcitement or under-enthusiasm — the book will remain locked.

Stopping cheaters in online video games


To end cheating in online video game tournaments, software engineer David Titarenco developed what he calls Game:ref. Built around an Arduino Mega SDK, the device is capable of identifying mouse-based cheats that are typically seen in FPS, MOBA, RTS and other competitive games, ranging from auto-clicking to aimbots.

Catch ‘em all with help of Arduino


Pepijn de Vos has created a system that acts as a Game Boy, storing a single Pokémon in EEPROM. This enables a user to trade between first-generation games using only a single console, all by themselves.

Tapping out tweets with on an old telegraph


Maker Devon Elliot outfitted an old telegraph sounder seated in a wooden resonator with some modern-day electronics so that it could tap out tweets.

Detecting air pollution with a Steampunk helmet


The Jacobson’s Fabulous Olfactometer is a head-mounted contraption that offers sensory augmentation for the human olfactory system under extreme living conditions of polluted cities.

Controlling electronic devices using cords


Inspired by a water hose, MIT’s Tangible Media Group wants you to control your connected gadgets with their cords. Imagine if tightening a knot could dim a lamp, attaching a clip on a power cord could put a computer to sleep or kinking its wire could power it on/off.

The Internet of Ethical Things?


Created by Simone Rebaudengo and Matthieu Cherubini, Ethical Things is a project that explores the effects of autonomous systems of the future as they head increasingly towards complex algorithms aimed at solving situations requiring some form of moral reasoning.

A smart table that listens and records meetings


As its name implies, the Listening Table combines pervasive data collection and the Internet of Things into a new concept, one in which office furniture can listen and record your conversations, using an array of dynamic microphones. When a meeting concludes, participants can see a high-level summary digest showing all the topics discussed.

Now that’s doing-knit-yourself!


The duo of Varvara Guljajeva and Mar Canet recently debuted the open-source circular knitting machine Circular Knitic. Initially built for a program called DOERS, which was curated by Arduino co-founder David Cuartielles, the DIY device was constructed using a RepRap printer along with some digital fabrication, laser cutting and MakerBeam, and is powered by an Arduino Uno.

Teaching a pup to send selfies


One Maker proved that, by using the combination of an Arduino Yún, Twilio and a big red button, anyone can train their puppy to send selfies.

Visualize your city’s mood through tweets


Maker Chadwick Friedman has devised a 3D-printed Twitter Mood Lamp that, as its name would suggest, changes colors to match the attitude of the city. The project is controlled by an Arduino Yún, which causes the device to emit either red, green, or blue based on whether the mood of the city is perceived to be angry, happy, or sad, respectively.

Tracking activities in lower Earth orbit


Berlin studio Quadrature has developed a custom-built machine, called SATELLITEN, that is capable of keeping tabs on the number of satellite flyovers and plotting them in real-time on a paper map with ink.

Playing real-world Space Invaders with real-world lasers


Martin Raynsford — who happens to be one of the owners of UK-based laser cutter manufacturer Just Add Sharks — decided to bring the classic game of Space Invaders to life using the hardware of a modified Whitetooth A1 laser cutter along with a laptop keyboard to serve as its gamepad. An Arduino Nano was mounted to a custom 80W laser controller to enable side-to-side movement to help shoot the paper invaders, each clipped to a plate and driven by stepper motors.

Dispensing music with Juice-Box


For a school assignment, Maker Jae-Hwan Jung devised a soda dispenser-styled jukebox in a project he calls Juice-Box. Programmed with an assortment of musical flavors, users can “dispense” tunes in their own cup-shaped MP3 player. Each dispenser denotes a different genre, such as favorites, jazz, hip-hop or the blues.

Sending encrypted messages using social networks


Made by Jochen Maria Weber, Cuckoo is device that uses social media as a means of private communication, and encrypts messages into randomly generated words, meanings and noise in order to scatter them over multiple networks simultaneously.

Get ready for your own robotic sidekick


PLEN2 is a 3D-printable, humanoid robotic kit consisting of a control board, servo motors and other electronic accessories that let Makers of all levels put together themselves. Programmed to mirror its human counterpart, PLEN2 aspires to revolutionize the relationship between homo and robo sapiens.

Time traveling through augmented reality and smell


A researcher employed an Arduino, an Arduino Wi-Fi Shield, a cheap computer fan and Unity3D software to explore the use of augmented reality within archaeological practice. A mobile app reconstructs real-world images by changing in real-time as the user moves about their environment, while a fan emits scents to make it as if you traveled to another time.

This drone attachment can save your life


Launched on Kickstarter by a group of Connecticut high school students, Ryptide is an Arduino-powered drone accessory that can deliver an automatically-inflating life preserver to a swimmer in trouble in seconds.

Using your brain and visual stimuli to play music


In collaboration with researcher Oscar Portolés, digital artist Fèlix Vinyals has developed a hybrid brain computer machine interface installation that allows him to create music and control the lighting during a performance on stage, all through the reading of the electric potential of his brain and visual stimuli.

A Bellagio-like fountain recreated with strings


Replicating the likes of the Bellagio world-renowned display mixed with a 1950s synchronized swimming performance, Paolo Salvagione has whipped up a kinetic sculpture that uses propulsion to elevate a continuous piece of string into the air.

Art Vader?


Crafted by Christopher Connell, this ambient Darth Vader poster wirelessly reacts to music playing in a room with various LED color-changing effects.

Automating your Etch-A-Sketch to recreate famous paintings


Evan Long decided to mod his old Etch-A-Sketch using an Arduino Uno to enable the toy to draw famous pieces of art, including the Mona Lisa. The Maker added 3D-printed custom mounts to its knobs, which housed a pair of two stepper motors and ULN2803 to switch the 12V required for the steppers.

Turning twerking into music


The Booty Drum is a high-tech musical device that, unlike most instruments, isn’t operated by your hands, feet or head for that matter, but by your posterior. This idea is a collaboration between headphone brand AIAIAI, professional dancer Twerk Queen Louise, Branko from Portuguese electronic band Buraka Som Sistema and Dutch design company Owow.

A robot that shovels for you


The next time that you’re expecting 12” of snow, wouldn’t it be nice if there was a machine that could do the tedious task for you — without ever having to step foot outside? Well, a Maker by the name of Boris Landoni has devised just that: a remote-controlled snow plow robot powered by an Arduino Uno.

Right on pointé


Designed by Lesia Trubat, Electronic Traces (E-Traces for short) are a pair of embedded pointé shoes which allow ballerinas to recreate their movements into visual sensations using an accompanying mobile app.

Chameleon-like jacket


Designed by Oslo, Norway design firm Drap go Design, the Interacket is an ATmega328-powered jacket that lets a wearer interact with the objects around them by mimicking their color.

Click your heels three times and call an Uber ride


Designed by Maker DJ Saul, Dorothy is a physical trigger that can turn a dumb ol’ shoe smart. Adhering to the “if this, then that” principle, the Ruby is an Arduino-based device equipped with a Bluetooth chip, accelerometer and coin cell battery, while its housing is 3D-printed. The small gadget can be either slipped into or clipped onto any piece of footwear and connected to a smartphone app that will automatically call a cab or send a message.

This talking fridge can sell itself


In an attempt to provide shoppers with a less intrusive experience, Samsung equipped a number of its refrigerators with Arduino units that were capable of detecting customers and speaking to them in real-time. Whenever movement was sensed by any of the fridge’s interior compartments, the Arduino sensors activated a voice playback and explained the appliance’s features and benefits to the prospective buyer.

When ‘duino found Nemo


Dutch design group Studio Diip modded an existing tank with wheels and sensors that would allow its inhabitant to operate the vehicle by swimming in a specific direction. The project, dubbed Fish on Wheels, is an attempt to “liberate fish all over the world.”

Color-changing fabrics react to heat and sound


Judit Eszter Karpati, a Budapest-based textile designer, wanted to further blur the fading boundaries between the digital realm and physical world. To do so, the Maker created an e-textile that alters its patterns based on its surroundings, which is made possible by an Arduino board, a 12V power supply and nearly 20 custom PCBs.

An interactive fabric you’ll want to touch


The brainchild of Esteban de la Torre and Judit Eszter Karpati, OCHO TONOS is an audible textile interface for multi-sensorial interaction, involving both touch and sound. The objective of the project was to create a soundscape through sensor technology inviting audiophiles to perform and explore with reactive textile elements.

Re-imagining the radio interface


Audio broadcasting radios have been around since the 1920s. In fact, their control interface share many similarities — knobs, sliders and switches — with those designed by our ancestors nearly 100 years ago. Seeking to redefine the entire radio control experience, Carnegie Mellon University design student Yaakov Lyubetsky built a fully-functional prototype of an Experimental Form Radio using an Arduino Uno.

Wake up and smell the coffee


For a majority of us, mornings just aren’t complete without your daily cup ‘o joe. Now, what if your instant coffee literally woke you up? Nestlé teamed with Mexcio City-based agency Publicis Mexico and Los Angeles studio NOTlabs to debut the Alarm Cap — a limited-edition, 3D-printed lid powered by an Arduino. The unique design is comprised of seven distinct alarm sounds, including a bird song, that are played in tandem with a gently pulsing light. To switch off the alarm, the user opens the lid and is greeted with the invigorating smell of Nescafé coffee.

This washing machine orders detergent when you’re out


Cloudwash — designed by the folks at Berg — is a prototype washing machine (based on a standard Zanussi model) connected to a web platform. The team created the futuristic device to explore how the ever-growing Internet of Things would change the appliances most commonly found in our homes, and to discover what new, innovative features would be made possible.

A floating orb captures and replays ambient noise


Created by Francesco Tacchini, Julinka Ebhardt and Will Yates-Johnson, 

Space Replay is a giant ball that constantly records and replays the sounds of public spaces, creating a delayed echo of human activity. To make the floating orb, the Maker trio used a latex balloon filled with enough helium to be able to lift a battery-powered, an Arduino, an Adafruit Wave Shield and a small speaker.

Samsung is making your bike smarter


Designed by Italian frame-builder Giovanni Pelizzoli and student Alice Biotti, the Samsung Smart Bike is built around an aluminum frame that boasts curved tubes to soak up vibrations from riding on rough city streets. The frame is also equipped with a battery, an Arduino board, as well as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth modules.

Designing your own pair of Google Glass


13-year-old Clay Haight designed something not many kids would have even imagined, particularly at that age: a Google Glass-inspired, intelligent pair of glasses. The young Maker used the sensors on the Arduino Esploraand an Arduino LCD screen, before piecing it all together on a 3D-printed frame.

This robot wants to add AI to everyday household objects


Sure, robotic concepts are dime a dozen these days. The question is, however, how close are we to an era of ubiquitous multi-function droids? According to Flower Robotics, soon. In an effort to lower the barriers for development and adoption of in-house robots, the Tokyo-based design studio launched a futuristic, Arduino-based device that they call Patin.

Saying ‘I Love You’ with the IoT


Israeli design student Daniel Sher has developed a trilogy of creations that can transmit silent gestures between loved ones. Using an Arduino for all three devices, the Maker utilized the Internet of Things to establish a new way for loved ones to communicate from afar. The Maker incorporated a series of sensors and wires that allowed various physical traits to be measured and relayed across long distances.

Free beer for your timesheet 


Let’s face it, no one enjoys filling out timesheets — yet they are imperative in order to get paid. That’s why Minneapolis ad agency Colle + McVoy has devised a new way to not only get employees to fill out their time cards, but to reward them with some draft beer. Dubbed TapServer, the multi-keg beer deployment system combines RFID tags and some custom-written software to seamlessly sync with the agency’s time-keeping application. On the hardware side, the program is comprised of several Arduino Uno boards, a Node-based server, solenoids and a Raspberry Pi.

A modern-day message in a bottle


Created by ECAL graduate David Colombini, Attachment is an Arduino Mega-powered poetic machine that enables you to send text, images or videos into the air using a biodegradable balloon with the intention of “rediscovering expectation, the random, and the unexpected” uncommonly found in current means of communication.

Backpack destroys personal data 


The backpack — which was originally designed as an Art Center College of Design project — intercepts data that’s about to go to the cloud and ‘vaporizes’ it at the same time, creating both a real and symbolic shield. The backpack includes an ‘inhaler’ device that attaches to your hand and triggers it either when someone gets too close to the inhaler’s proximity sensor or when you breathe into it.

Taste the music on the radio


Can music be translated from something we hear into something we can taste? A group of students believed so, and decided to find out. Beatballs is a project created by 54 students from the Interactive Art Director program at Hyper Island in Stockholm who developed a code that translates specific songs into different meatball recipes based on tempo, cadence, mood, key, and other tuneful attributes. The team also devised a prototype of a machine made with Arduino and recycled objects.

Turning air pollution into art


Media artist Dmitry Morozov — more commonly known as ::vtol:: — found a way to turn offensive pollution into enticing art through a portable, Bluetooth-connected device entitled Digioxide. In an attempt to raise public awareness of the environmental pollution by artistic means, the Maker’s wireless creation uses a set of sensors to measure the presence of gases such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, methane, and even dust in the air, which are translated into volts. An Arduino algorithmically then converts those volts into various shapes and colors.

Lamp changes color with your mood


The Mood Lamp is an Arduino-based project created by Italian developer Vittorio Cuculo. The hacked IKEA lamp adjusts its lighting output based on the facial expression of a user.

A shape-shifting, morphing table


MIT’s Tangible Media Group launched a shapeshifting display that lets users interact with digital information in a tangible way. inFORM is equipped with 900 individually actuated white polystyrene pins that make up the surface in an array of 30 x 30 pixels. The interactive piece can display 3D information in real-time and in a more accurate and interactive manner compared to the flat rendering often created by computer user interface.

A kinetic-audio installation


In collaboration with FutureEverything and Moscow’s Laboratoria Art & Science Space, media artist Dmitry Morozov has designed a kinetic audio installation that emits quantum entanglement-inspired sounds.

Putting a unique spin on political debates


This interactive installation by Maker Georgios Cherouvim features a real-life demonstration of a vocal debate between two characters. Instead of a productive dialogue promoting their ideas on a range of issues from voting and local government to war and taxes, the “politicians” share a constant yet indecipherable argument with one another, causing the viewers to lose interest in the conversation and politics all together.

This wireless iPhone charger is a work of art 


Developed as part of a diploma project by a University of Contemporary Design and Applied Arts (ECAL) student, Spira is a magnetic docking station that wirelessly restores power to an iPhone while turning the device into a decorative wall clock. Utilizing a blend of wood, metal and plastic, the Maker sought to devise an ambient frame that would enable a magnetized iPhone case to hang decoratively on the wall thereby giving it a “place of honor in the home atmosphere.”

Etching graffiti for those in the distant future


As we look into the future, have you ever considered how you might communicate with your distant offspring — say 50,000 years from now? Well, German artist Lorenz Potthast has. The Maker has created what he calls a “positive vandalism machine,” for communicating with next generations. The Petroglyphomat is a portable, computer-operated milling cutter that can pass along messages by etching them into ancient monuments.

Long exposure photos reveal invisible motions in sports


Canadian photographer Stephen Orlando has introduced a new way to visualize action sports through the use of LED lights and an Arduino. The technique reveals beautiful light trails, which are not artificially created using applications like Photopshop, and represents the actual paths of familiar objects.

This lamp mimics thunderstorms


Richard Clarkson has created Cloud, an interactive lamp and speaker system out of an Arduino, fluffy cotton and cloth cord. According to the designer, the installation acts as both a semi-immersive lightning experience — or as a speaker with visual feedback — to mimic a thunderstorm in both appearance and entertainment.

Experiencing the Northern Lights with Arduino


Many travelers consider the Northern Lights to be a mysterious phenomenon that is nearly impossible to explain to someone unless they have experienced it as well. French graphic designer Bertrand Lanthiez wished to bring that indescribable occurrence to the masses.

Brightening the Japanese waterfront 


GwaGwa — a creative duo comprised of Makers Masamichi and Kozue Shimada — is known for a number of their innovative installation, hand drawing and stop motion animations. Most recently, the team was commissioned by Smart Illumination Yokohama 2014 to design “Colors of the Wind Way” along the Japanese city’s waterfront.

This talking foundation wants you to drink more H2O


The Drink Up Fountain, a collaborative project between YesYesNo Interactive Studio and Partnership for a Healthier America, dispenses entertaining greetings intended to encourage everyone to drink more water more often. While the Drink Up device may look like a regular fountain, it sure doesn’t sound like one. When a drinker’s lips touch the water, the Arduino Mega-powered fountain utters phrases like “Refreshing, isn’t it” and “Your feeding one trillion thirsty cells right now,” thereby completing a circuit and activating its built-in speakers. Once the drinker pulls his or her head away from the water, the circuit breaks and the fountain stops talking.

Drawing on glow-in-the-dark surfaces with lasers


An Instructables user named “ril3y” has devised a slick CNC single point projector that can draw on glow-in-the-dark surfaces with lasers, aptly named Laser Glow Writer. The gadget is driven by Arduino Due, which runs the TinyG CNC motion controller firmware. The SAM3X8E-based board then controls the two stepper motors (X and Y axes) in a coordinated fashion, while turning the small laser on/off. Currently, ril3y is converting SVG images to Gcode, and putting them up on some glow-in-the-dark vinyl.

Wearing your Wi-Fi signal


Whereas a vast majority of us are in search of Wi-Fi signals on a regular basis, not many have been on a quest to visualize the networks that keep us connected in order to gain a better understanding of these wireless systems. In an attempt to do just that, architect Luis Hernan put together a psychedelic Kirlian Device capable of picking up on Wi-Fi signals and translating them into colored lights. Built around an Arduino and LED lights, the project was tasked with translating Wi-Fi networks into colors — red indicating the strongest signal and blue, the weakest.

A night at the museum — with robots


For several nights back in August, four robots roamed around London’s Tate Britain, each streaming video to the masses. If it wasn’t cool enough to have bots navigate a museum in the dark, it got even cooler as people from all around the world were able to control their movements right from their computers. Built in collaboration with RAL Space, the nocturnal tour guides each featured an on-board Wi-Fi receiver, an Arduino, a Raspberry Pi unit, lights, sensors, a powerful electric motor, and of course, video streaming technology. The units maneuvered around the grounds using a sonar sensor and a custom 3D-printed enclosure.

Humanoid can drive its own car


Aldebaran Robotics teamed up with RobotsLab to unveil a NAO robot that was able to autonomously drive a miniature BMW Z4. The vehicle was equipped with an integrated laser range finder linked to an onboard Ardduino, which was responsible for analyzing its surroundings and then relaying steering inputs to the NAO unit in the driver’s seat.

Here are some fun facts to celebrate Arduino Day!

Just in case you need to sharpen your Arduino trivia skills…  

Saturday is Arduino Day, a worldwide celebration of the open-source board along with the countless gizmos and gadgets made with it. Originally envisioned for students and artists to quickly prototype projects, you can now find Arduino powering just about everything from DIY wearables and robots to clever hacks and successfully-funded startups. Yet, before the days of mainstream popularity, the fan-favorite platform had humble beginnings — which you can see from its first iteration below.

As we prepare to “officially” celebrate its 10th anniversary, here are some fun facts that you may not already know…

Atmel could be found at the heart of the earliest boards, including the initial prototype, which was powered by an ATmega8.


Bar-duino? The company was dubbed after a local watering hole where some of its founders used to meet, which happened to be named after Margrave of Ivrea and King of Italy from 1002 to 1014.

Arduino was initially intended to serve as a teaching tool that would introduce students at the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea to the world of electronics and provide them with an easy way to prototype projects.

Co-founder Massimo Banzi did study electrical engineering, but like he recently told ReadWriteWeb, he actually dropped out of college “because it was boring, and he was doing much more exciting stuff outside.”


The Arduino USB board was the first to officially bear the Arduino name in 2005, which would go on to have several revisions including the Extreme, NG, and Diecimila.

Many well-known companies that stemmed from the DIY community first got their start using an Arduino. This long list includes 3DRobotics and MakerBot. In fact, Chris Anderson shared with Forbes in an early interview, “We used the Arduino platform to change something which in this case was a bottom-up approach to the aerospace industry.”


As of last year, there were more than 1.2 million Arduino boards in the wild, not to mention probably just as many counterfeits — up from just 300,000 in 2011.

There were over 217 Kickstarter projects (and counting) built on the Arduino platform in the last 12 months alone.

Every three months, the Arduino.cc website experiences four to five million users, of which three to four are regular visitors.


Arduino has inspired countless young Makers to pursue a career in engineering, some of whom have gone on to launch their own businesses and become crowdfunding successes — all before the age of legally being able to drive. (Way to go, Quin!)

He likes big boards and he cannot lie! Sir Mix-A-Lot himself has given props to to Arduino’s ability to lower the barrier of entry into the electronics space.

Sir Mix

Channeling their Maker spirit, a number of major brands have implemented Arduino in an assortment of projects, ranging from Samsung and General Electric, to Dole and Nescafé, to Adidas and Converse.

The boards’ distinctive designs have even been recognized by MoMA, where Arduino is now a permanent fixture in its collection.


Arduino has enabled Makers to conduct experiments spanning from under the sea to out of this atmosphere, all through the use of underwater ROVs and open satellite platforms.

In 2014, more than 240 user groups, Makerspaces, hackerspaces, fab labs, schools, studios and educators throughout Europe, North and South America, Asia, Africa and Australia came together to celebrate the inaugural Arduino Day.


Even Facebook ‘likes’ Arduino! During the F8 Developers Conference, Parse announced a lineup of SDKS for the Internet of Things. The first is an Arduino SDK targeted for the Arduino Yún.

Having been there since its inception, and now looking ahead, we can’t wait to see what’s next for the open-source, Atmel based platform. Happy Arduino Day, Makers!

Arduino Day is quickly approaching!

Celebrate with us and our friends at SparkFun later this week. 

As Makers, there’s one special occasion that we just can’t help but love: Arduino Day! It is a 24-hour celebration — both official and independent — where hobbyists, tinkerers and even some experienced engineers from all over the world come together to share their DIY experiences. This year, the second annual ‘holiday’ is slated for Saturday, March 28, 2015.


In 2014, more than 240 user groups, Makerspaces, hackerspaces, fablabs, schools, studios and educators throughout Europe, North and South America, Asia, Africa and Australia got involved in planning activities, workshops, and events for a wide-range of audiences and skill sets. Those needing a refresher can tune-in to Massimo Banzi’s official announcement from last year here.

“You can attend an event or organize one for your community. It doesn’t matter whether you are an expert or a newbie, an engineer, a designer, a crafter or a Maker: Arduino Day is open to anyone who wants to celebrate Arduino and all the things that have been done (or can be done) with it,” the team writes. “The events will offer different types of activities, tailored to local audiences all over the world.”


As far as official events are concerned, the company has organized five of them in Torino, Malmo, Bangalore, Boston and Budapest. Meanwhile, a number of local events have also been put together by the diehard ‘duino community. Among those is our meet-up in Niwot, Colorado with our friends at SparkFun Electronics, where we’ll be kicking off the festivities a day earlier on Friday, March 27. There, Atmel’s gigantic Tech on Tour Mobile Trailer will be parked in front of SparkFun’s headquarters packed with the latest (and greatest, if we may add) Maker, IoT, secure and connectivity demos.

Meet Atmel’s resident ‘Wizard of Make’ Bob Martin to talk about your latest DIY designs or ask questions around Atmel MCUs, which as you know, have been at the very heart of most Arduino boards since they hit the streets back in 2005. In fact, an ATmega8 was the chip of choice to power the very first prototype, long before the team coined the Arduino name after a local bar in Ivrea.


In addition to young Makers and educators, it’s no surprise that the open-source electronics platform has even become increasingly popular among the well-seasoned crowd. Even the most experienced engineers, designers and architects are welcomed to join our celebration!

Learn more about the festivities Atmel and SparkFun have planned. And, don’t forget to register! Ready to tinker? You can purchase some discounted boards to get started.

Arduino Day 2015 set for March 28, 2015

Mark your calendars! One of the biggest Maker ‘holidays’ is just around the corner. 

As Makers, there’s one special occasion that we just can’t help but love: Arduino Day! It is a 24-hour celebration – both official and independent – where hobbyists, tinkerers and even some experienced engineers from all over the world come together to share their DIY experiences. This year, the second annual ‘holiday’ is slated for March 28, 2015.


2014 saw more than 240 user groups, Makerspaces, hackerspaces, fablabs, schools, studios and educators throughout Europe, North and South America, Asia, Africa and Australia involved in planning activities, workshops, and events for a wide range of audiences and skill sets. Those needing a refresher can tune-in to Massimo Banzi’s official announcement from last year here.

“You can attend an event or organize one for your community. It doesn’t matter whether you are an expert or a newbie, an engineer, a designer, a crafter or a Maker: Arduino Day is open to anyone who wants to celebrate Arduino and all the things that have been done (or can be done) with it,” the team writes. “The events will offer different types of activities, tailored to local audiences all over the world.”

As far as official events are concerned, the company has organized five of them in Torino, Malmo, Bangalore, Boston and Budapest. Meanwhile, local events are put together by the community, just supported and curated by the Arduino crew. If you’re interested in creating a get-together at your Makerspace, you can do so by submitting an application.


Like we’ve previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, Atmel is at the very heart of nearly ever Arduino board on the market today, thereby helping tinkerers bring their wildest creations to life.

Indeed, as our resident Wizard of Make Bob Martin noted, our 8- and 32-bit MCUs have been the chips of choice for Arduino since the boards first hit the streets way back in 2005 — as you can see in the first prototype below. More specifically, he attributes the success of Arduino to its easy-to-use, free cross-platform toolchain and simple do-it-yourself packages with Atmel MCUs.

“These factors helped initially steer the Arduino team to choose our AVR microcontrollers – and today, both our AVR and Atmel | SMART ARM-based MCUs,” Martin explained.


In addition to young Makers and educators, it’s no surprise that the open-source electronics platform has even become increasingly popular among experienced designers, architects and engineers as well.

Now just a few weeks away, you can follow along with Arduino’s official countdown and locate an #ArduinoD15 meet-up near you! In the meantime, as you get started on your next project to celebrate the occasion, you can find out which Atmel based ‘duino is right for you here. Of course, we’ll also be celebrating Arduino Day at Atmel with extra project coverage, so be sure to stop by and check out our upcoming blog posts around the Maker favorite platform!

A closer look at the Atmel-powered Arduino Due (SAM3X8E)

We are proudly celebrating Arduino Day, a global event that showcases a decade of success for the Atmel-powered boards! To mark the event, we’d like to take a closer look at the Arduino Due. Powered by Atmel’s versatile SAM3X8E ARM Cortex-M3 CPU, the board hit the streets back in October 2012.

The very first Arduino board based on a 32-bit ARM core microcontroller features 54 digital input/output pins (of which 12 can be used as PWM outputs), 12 analog inputs, 4 UARTs (hardware serial ports), an 84 MHz clock, USB OTG capable connection, 2 DAC (digital to analog), 2 TWI, power jack, SPI header, JTAG header, a reset button and an erase button.

Additional key specs include:

  • 32-bit core allows operations on 4 bytes wide data within a single CPU clock.
  • 96 KBytes of SRAM.
  • 512 KBytes of Flash memory for code.
  • A DMA controller capable of sharing memory intensive tasks with the CPU.

“The board contains everything needed to support the microcontroller; simply connect it to a computer with a micro-USB cable or power it with a AC-to-DC adapter or battery to get started,” an Arduino rep explained on the product’s official page.

“The Due is compatible with all Arduino shields that work at 3.3V and are compliant with the 1.0 Arduino pinout. [However], the maximum voltage that the I/O pins can tolerate is 3.3V. Providing higher voltages, like 5V to an I/O pin could damage the board.”

The Arduino Due can be programmed with the Arduino software. However, the process of uploading sketches to the SAM3X is somewhat different than with other AVR-based Arduino boards, as the flash memory needs to be erased before being re-programmed. Uploads to the chip are managed by ROM on the SAM3X, which is run only when the chip’s flash memory is empty. Unlike other Arduino boards which use avrdude for uploading, the Due relies on bossac.

More specifically, either of the USB ports can be used for programming the board, though Arduino officially recommends using the programming port due to the way the erasing of the chip is handled.

The maximum length and width of the Arduino Due PCB measures 4 and 2.1 inches respectively, with the USB connectors and power jack extending beyond the former dimension. Three screw holes allow the board to be attached to a surface or case.

Last, but certainly not least, the Arduino Due is designed to be compatible with most shields designed for the Uno, Diecimila or Duemilanove. Digital pins 0 to 13 (and the adjacent AREF and GND pins), analog inputs 0 to 5, the power header, and “ICSP” (SPI) header are all in equivalent locations. In addition, the main UART (serial port) is located on the same pins (0 and 1). Nevertheless, it should be noted that I2C is not located on the same pins on the Due (20 and 21) as the Duemilanove / Diecimila (analog inputs 4 and 5).

Interested in learning more about the Atmel-powered Arduino Due? You can check out the official Arduino Due product page here and order the board here.

International Arduino Day is almost here!

Celebrated March 29, 2014, Arduino Day is a worldwide celebration marking the first successful decade of the Atmel-powered open source board.

It’s a 24 hour celebration – both official and independent – with Makers meeting up to share their DIY experiences.

Meanwhile, Make Magazine will be celebrating the milestone all through next week by showcasing a special lineup of top-rated Arduino projects.

“But we’re also looking to you, because we want to feature your original projects here on the Make blog. If you’re not going to be able to show off your project at your local Arduino event on Arduino Day, maybe you should show it off to the world,” writes MakeZine’s Alasdair Allan.

“Or maybe you’ve been itching for an excuse to sit down and build something new? Or [perhaps] someone [is] wrong on the Internet and you want to write the definitive guide teaching people how to use a particular sensor, widget, or gizmo, with the Arduino.”

Whatever the reason, Makers can send a summary of their thoughts to alasdair@makezine.com with “MAKE Arduino Day” in the subject line. Please be sure to include any technical details about the build, as well as some pictures, images and video links.

Of course we’ll also be celebrating Arduino Day here at Bits & Pieces with extra project coverage, so be sure to stop by and check out our blog posts about everybody’s favorite Atmel-powered board!