Tag Archives: Arduino Wi-Fi Shield

Time traveling through augmented reality and smell


This project uses augmented reality to lay virtual images onto a real world landscape, while emitting scents to make it as if you are there.


When one wants to learn about history, he or she will typically head to a museum, read a book, or browse the web. While these resources may offer a glimpse into the past, their static displays can’t actually emulate what it was like during an earlier age. That was until now.

An Institute of Archaeology University College London researcher has found a way to blur the lines between yesterday and today, giving people the illusion that they have indeed traveled through time. Almost sounds like a scene straight out of a Hollywood script, right?

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The Dead Men’s Eyes app was initially created by Dr. Stuart Eve as a way to explore the use of augmented reality within archaeological practice. As a user holds the iPad’s camera up to the landscape, virtual renderings are positioned on top of the real world images, while the iPad’s GPS helps to pinpoint the user’s location. This enables the reconstructions to change in real-time as the user moves about their environment.

To bring this project to life, Dr. Eve uses a combination of the Unity3D gaming development platform and Qualcomm’s Vuforia mobile vision SDK to place the virtual layers in their correct location and provide the proper perspective. This is all achieved through archaeological data and then compared to where the user is standing.

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A smell delivery device was also implemented to make the experience even more immersive. The aptly-dubbed Dead Men’s Nose emits scents based on the environment to make it as if one were really transplanted into another era. The system itself is based on an Arduino, an Arduino Wi-Fi Shield (AVR UC3), and a cheap computer fan. The device can either be worn or placed around the landscape, and more importantly, can be used with any odor of the user’s liking.

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In terms of software, the mechanism connects to a web server and a fragrance is fired off by the Unity3D software. As a result, the smells are released in the right place at the right time as the user explores their surroundings. Dr. Eve notes that future models will include multiple aromas as well as an improved 3D-printed enclosure.

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“Technological development is moving at an incredible rate, and already it is possible to wear transparent glasses with forward-facing cameras to overlay the AR information directly onto your field of vision, rather than having to use a portable handheld device such as a mobile telephone,” the archaeologist told Daily Mail in a recent writeup. “As this develops further, this will go some way towards mitigating the disconnectedness of having to hold up a mobile device in order to experience the virtual objects.”

Intrigued? Head over to the project’s official page here.

Atmel to showcase smart and securely connected solutions at Embedded World 2015


Demonstrations to showcase Atmel | SMART and Atmel AVR MCUs and MPUs highlighted in a variety of technology zones.


In a matter of days, Atmel will be showcasing a number of smart and securely connected solutions that will power next-generation Internet of Things (IoT) applications at Embedded World 2015 held in Nuremberg, Germany, February 24-27. These demos will be available in the company’s booth located in Hall 4A / Booth 4-230.

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To better illustrate Atmel’s broad portfolio of IoT solutions, the demonstrations will be highlighted in several technology zones.

AUTOMOTIVE: As a leader in local interconnect networking (LIN) and automotive touch, Atmel is enabling smart, connected vehicles.

Atmel’s automotive technology pod will showcase the company’s broad automotive product portfolio for car access systems, networking, drivers, Ethernet Audio/Video Bridging (AVB), and the future of human machine interface (HMI) in next-generation center consoles. By popular demand, Atmel will also be showcasing its next-generation AvantCar concept demo, a host of passive entry car access solutions using Atmel’s latest and highly secure products, including AES encryption 125kHz LF and and RF technologies, along with its popular maXTouch and QTouch capacitive touch solutions. The Atmel | SMART SAM V71 ARM Cortex-M7-based MCU will also be highlighted in an automotive application to deliver the world’s highest performance Cortex-M-based Flash MCU, along with an automotive touch application powered by Atmel’s recently launched Touch Controller solution. And, a demonstration running Audioweaver from DSPConcepts showcasing the SAM V71 ARM Cortex-M7 processor-based MCU will also be exhibited in this zone.

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INDUSTRIAL: Atmel provides leading-edge MCU- and MPU-based solutions for the smart, industrial market.

In the industrial technology pod, Atmel will showcase a variety of smart, secure and connected solutions for the industrial market powered by Atmel | SMART solutions including an Ultra home automation and smart fridge application running on the SAMA5D4 Xplained, and Atmel | SMART ARM Cortex-A5 processor-based boards displaying HDMI video. Other industrial applications on display include a power supply temperature monitoring and cooling using an Atmel temperature sensor and an treadmill application featuring an Atmel | SMART SAMA5D4.

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SMART LIVING: As a leading provider of smart and securely connected solutions, this technology zone showcases next-generation applications of modern living.

Highlighting the latest innovations for your living room, the Smart Living technology zone will highlight a number of applications ranging from a low-power Bluetooth beacon to a digital temperature sensor, a ZigBee-based smart lighting with cryptographic security (ATSHA204), and a secure IoT camera system featuring Atmel’s newly announced elliptic curve network security chip, the ATECC508A. See Atmel’s recently launched SIGFOX IoT solution, powered by Atmel’s ATA8520, communicating to the cloud while transmitting metering values, alarm signals and more. The company will also be showcasing the Atmel SmartConnect family, leveraging ultra-low power secure, wireless connectivity. A number of applications will be demoed including a weight scale, door bell with camera, Wi-Fi connected speaker, motion sensors on the window, smart plug, light bulb and gateway connected via ZigBee technologies—all controllable through a smart, mobile device. A QTouch-based water level sensing application showcasing advanced HMI and sensing capability will also be exhibited, along with a display demonstrating the world’s lowest power capacitive touch surface. Other demonstrations powered by Atmel’s maXTouch technologies and Atmel AVR MCU solutions showcasing ultra-low power smart, connected devices will be available in this zone.

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CLOUD PARTNERS: Highlighting cloud platform partner solutions.

IoT requires a system-level solution encompassing the whole system, from the smallest edge/sensing node devices to the cloud. The company has partnered with best-in-class cloud partners that can support a variety of applications for both Tier-1 OEMs and smaller companies. Atmel has integrated the partners’ technology into the company’s cloud solutions framework adding the cloud platform functionality seamlessly to all of Atmel’s wireless MCU offerings, regardless of standards or transport technology. Come meet some of the cloud platform partner solutions from companies like PubNub, Proximetry and Arrayent that are available on Atmel wireless MCUs today.

POWERED BY ATMEL. Showcasing the latest gadgets and devices powered by Atmel technologies.

Highlighting the latest smartphones, tablets and wearables available today, everything from a wireless drive and narrative life logging camera to record your every step, to fitness bands, to Atmel’s latest MCU and touch technologies, will be on display. See ‘wear’ the market is headed next!

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MAKERS: From Maker space to market place, this technology pod highlights Atmel enabling unlimited possibilities.

The Maker space showcases the well-received Arduino Wi-Fi Shield which enables rapid prototyping of Internet of Things (IoT) applications on the Arduino platform, and will be featured to highlight its simplicity for the professional and Maker communities. The company will also display a number of Maker demonstrations including a remote-controlled Maker Robot powered by the Atmel | SMART SAM D21 will be displayed. “Mr. Abot” is controlled through an Android app and the communications driven through Atmel’s recently announced WINC1500 Wi-Fi solution.

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Additionally, Atmel’s resident security expert Kerry Maletsky will be presenting “Making IoT a Reality – Leveraging Hardware Security Devices” on February 25 from 12-12:30 pm CET (Session 09/I).

And for those of you waiting to see the one-and-only AVR Man, you’re in luck. The embedded community’s favorite superhero will be in attendance!

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Leadership in IoT connectivity with Bluetooth Smart


Kaivan Karimi, Atmel VP and GM of Wireless Solutions, provides insight into the Internet of Things and the role of BLE connectivity. 


It has been a year since my last blog at my old gig, and what a year it has been. I am now at Atmel managing the wireless MCUs business unit, and with my team busy building the best in class portfolio of cloud-ready wireless MCUs and MPUs. Last year was a great ride, and things will only get better from here onward, as we now have established a solid IP base, a best-in-class execution engine, and a great ecosystem of partners to collectively offer cost-optimized Internet of Things (IoT) edge-node system solutions.

Six years ago when a few of us in the industry were evangelizing what in those days we called “Industrial Wireless” (and now dubbed IoT), we always talked about role of hierarchical gateways, connecting the “edge nodes” or “things” to the “cloud.” Some of those “things” use your smartphone as their gateway of choice to connect to the cloud, while others will use a new generation of “smart gateways” to manage cloud-based services. Even in the case of the new smart gateways, some of the things connected to them may get “provisioned” using your smartphone. With smartphones almost ubiquitously having integrated Bluetooth Smart Ready, one can see how BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy – aka Bluetooth Smart) plays an important role in the connectivity infrastructure of IoT.

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This year’s CES was as amazing as ever with even more attendees, exhibits and technology than in 2014. As usual, a sea of tech gadgets shouting at you while you walking through the halls, “Look at me and remember me because I am the next best things since slice bread and I am here to stay!” And, sometimes that actually happens (HD Television – CES 1998) and sometimes it doesn’t (3D Television- CES 2009).

CES 2015 was a special one for me, and served as a sort of coming out party for our new wireless lineup. There, we announced a pair of products: a standalone Bluetooth Smart SoC and a dual-mode Wi-Fi/Bluetooth platform. (I will spend more time on our combo chip in the near future, but wanted to focus this blog on our BLE chip.)

It started when we met with our engineering team and discussed our target spec for our new BLE SoC. It was simple; last year the small German mixed signal company had the best-in-class BLE solution in the market. Based on the marketing material they had readily available on the web, their solution had the best peak transmit and receive current (less than 5mA), it had the best leakage current of 600 nA (in certain mode), and it was the smallest SoC out there 2.5×2.5mm WLCSP. Furthermore, the solution also listed the usual suspect key applications as smartphone accessories, PC and tablet peripherals, sport and fitness tracking, health monitoring, self-tracking, watches, remote controls, 3D glasses, etc.

As it turned out, by mid-last year the engineering team of the German company forced their marketing team to match their peak active current numbers to the reality of the chip, as well as adjust their leakage current to reality for adequate memory retention. The leakage current listing is related to the amount of memory you need to retain for the modem to go back to the original state after coming back to active mode, and best in class BLE modems need minimum 8K of memory space to retain their state, and anything less than that would require reestablishing the link, which burns a lot more power. Listing your leakage current for anything less than 8K of memory retention is misleading. Needless to say, the spec being advertised for that chip are now different than their original product brief.

In any business best-in-class doesn’t come easy, and is as it is said to be the result of a lot of sweat and tears… So when we told our team that we wanted them to beat those spec by 30%, with samples for March 2015, you can imagine the looks we got in return. The team however took it upon themselves to beat our targets. The result: BTLC1000. Announced at CES, notable features from the press release included:

  • Bluetooth Smart solutions set new low-power standards with at least 30% power savings compared to existing solutions on the market in dynamic mode
  • Packaged in extremely small 2.1mm x 2.1mm WLCSP package to enable design flexibility for all devices
  • Solution can be combined with any Atmel MCU for a complete IoT platform

In the body of the announcement we also mentioned “sub-1µA in standby mode, while delivering the industry’s best dynamic power consumption, increasing battery life by as much as one year for certain applications.” Since this blog is not under NDA, I cannot get into more details on exact numbers, only that they are real, and they do indeed beat the relevant best-in-class BLE product specifications out there by >30%. Like true IoT products, this product is built from the ground up for IoT applications and battery operations, and not a generic modem repurposed and rebranded as an IoT product.

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Small footprint such as 2.1mmx2.1mm facilitates innovative form factors for a variety of classes of products, while also enables adding BLE functionality to your existing products using other types of wireless connectivity for provisioning only.

A common misconception for the Internet of Things is that everyone calls IoT the era of “always on” connectivity. However, in reality most of the “things” in IoT spend most of their life in “off” mode, and only based on an event, or predetermined policy at certain intervals of time they wake up, hence leakage current is extremely important. A lot of the BLE-related products use lithium coin cells which are made to work with standard current draws of 1 to 5 mA. There are many factors such as the discharge rate, the discharge profile (constant vs. periodic burst such as burst peak current), operating temperature, humidity, the associated DC/DC converter, etc. that effect the battery life. According to one of our Japanese customers who also was in battery manufacturing business, while these batteries can tolerate peak currents of much higher than 5mA (e.g. the BLE chip from the company in Scandinavia, the one from the Cambridge based company that just changed hands, the one from the company from Texas, etc.), every time that you cross the 5mA threshold, you reduce the life of the battery. That is why less than 5mA peak current matters.

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Our BLE solution will be offered using our SmartConnect framework and methodology, which black boxes the complexities associated with using wireless connectivity, and let the MCU programmers focus on their application development, not needing to become wireless connectivity experts to participate in the IoT market.

At Atmel, we are also known for our activities within the Maker community, particularly Arduino users. As a result, we have already started giving access to the Maker community to our wireless products using our Arduino Wi-Fi shield, which was released back in September 2014. Just imagine what kind of innovations can come from tinkerers, hobbyists and developers if you give them access to our BLE Arduino shield. Some of the IoT categories such as wearables, health and fitness, and portable medical electronics, among others, have already chosen BLE as their wireless connectivity of choice to communicate with the smartphones at their gateway of choice. I am sure the Maker community will come up with additional categories.

SAM G family and Arduino Wi-Fi Shield 101 among EDN’s Hot 100 Products of 2014

Another year, another couple of spots on EDN’s Hot 100 Products list! Just announced, the industry publication has chosen both the newly-unveiled Arduino Wi-Fi Shield 101 and the Atmel | SMART SAM G family among this 2014’s hottest boards and development tools helping to enable key trends like the Internet of Things, wearables and security, as well emerging technologies such as 3D printing and wireless power.

“Of the many thousands of products announced during the past year, the EDN Hot 100 are the products that especially caught the attention of our editors and readers. We are pleased to share the tradition of showcasing these technologies as we celebrate the 21st anniversary of this program,” said Rich Pell, EDN’s Executive and Chief Technical Editor.

The SAM G ARM Cortex-M4-based MCU lineup integrates high-performance and ultra-low power in a small form factor, and is ideal for a wide-range of sensor hub and battery-operated consumer applications, including healthcare, gateways, bridges and audio devices.

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Optimized for ultra-low power, high-performance applications, Atmel’s SAM G MCU family can be found in products shipping from Tier 1 OEMs around the world from wearables to sensor hub management solutions in smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices. The family is based on an ARM Cortex-M4 core for unparalleled efficiency, and optimized with a highly efficient set of serial peripherals including a 12-bit ADC, DMA, a good SRAM-to-flash ratio and an optional floating point unit (FPU).

In the rapidly growing market for smart, connected devices in the Internet of Things (IoT) era, there is a demand for MCUs with ultra-small form factors, rich features, high performance and lower power. As a result, Atmel’s new SAM G51 and SAM G53 series meet all these requirements with 3x3mm packaging, high-performance frequency at 48MHz, ultra-low power consumption down to 100µA/MHz in active mode, 7µA in sleep with SRAM retention and down to 3µs wake-up time.

“This recognition further validates Atmel as a leading provider of smart, connected solutions for the booming IoT market,” explained Vince Murdica, Atmel Senior Director of Sensor Centric Systems Business Unit. “Atmel is committed to providing best-in-class MCU, touch, connectivity and security solutions for IoT applications. Our SAM G family sets the bar for wearables and sensor hub processing capabilities, affirmed by EDN’s selection. We’re thrilled EDN readers and editors have awarded Atmel’s SAM G family in EDN’s Hot 100 Products for 2014.”

Meanwhile, the ongoing collaboration between both Arduino and Atmel has produced a new Arduino Wi-Fi Shield 101 which made its debut at the World Maker Faire back in September. The shield looks to facilitate rapid prototyping of IoT applications on the highly-popular open-source platform.

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The cost-effective, secure Arduino Wi-Fi Shield 101 is an easy-to-use extension that can seamlessly be connected to any Arduino board enabling high-performance Wi-Fi connectivity. This new device gives the design community more opportunities to securely connect applications, ranging from consumer goods to wearables, robotics, high-tech devices and more.

The Arduino Wi-Fi Shield 101 is powered by Atmel’s wireless network controller — part of the Atmel SmartConnect family — and also includes the CryptoAuthentication device which allows users to easily incorporate hardware authentication capability in their design.

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Makers can now sync the shield to any modern Arduino R3 board, thereby enabling connectivity to the Internet using any traditional Wi-Fi access points. It is based on the WINC1500 802.11b/g/n network controller which features an integrated TCP/IP stack, TLS security and SoftAP for seamless provisioning. The Atmel authentication security device can be used for keys, passwords or secret data.

“In this increasingly connected world, the Arduino Wi-Fi Shield 101 will help drive more inventions in the IoT market,” explained Arduino Co-Founder Massimo Banzi. “Expanding our portfolio of Arduino extensions, this new shield can flawlessly connect to any modern Arduino board giving our community more options for connectivity, along with added security elements to their creative projects.”

With IoT, low power and security among EDN’s annual trends, it’s no wonder both the Wi-Fi Shield 101 and SAM G family have been named to the list. Want to read the entire press release? You can do so here.

A DIY Soap Box Derby cart controlled via Wi-Fi

Remember the days of Soap Box Derbies? Dating back to the 1930s, these carts have always relied on gravity; however, thanks to the team at Currah, that may all change. The group of Makers have designed a Wi-Fi controlled vehicle for a future generation of derby racers using an Arduino Mega (ATmega1280) and Wi-Fi Shield.

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According to the Makers, the project provided an opportunity to explore the interface between hardware and software, as well as compare the differences between programming personal computing systems and embedded microprocessors.

“These experiments were conducted in the context of a very flexible steering system and the virtually unlimited control range afforded by Wi-Fi and Internet Protocol,” the team explained.

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While the original plan was to devise one of the two-wheeled bots that have become quite popular throughout the DIY community and Maker Faires, the team eventually decided that a soap box car was much better suited for their experiment.

“Note that the current design can be viewed as the drive of a two-wheeled robot coupled with a trailer by means of a 360 degree pivot. A slip ring capsule within the pivot enables the heavy battery and bulky control system to be separated from the drive and located on the trailer thereby distributing weight evenly between the four wheels.”

For those interested in developing a “Wood Lizzie” of their own, the team of Makers has shared a detailed breakdown of the necessary steps in the tutorial below.

Video: Atmel showcases the WINC1500 wireless module at ARM TechCon

Back in September, Atmel expanded its leading SmartConnect wireless portfolio with four new turnkey system-on-chips (SoCs), including the WINC1500. The recently-unveiled WINC1500 is an IEEE 802.11b/g/n network controller optimized for battery-powered Internet of Things (IoT) applications.

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The WINC1500 is an ideal add-on to existing MCU solutions bringing Wi-Fi and network capabilities through UART or SPI-to-WiFi interface, and connects to any Atmel AVR or Atmel  | SMART MCU with minimal resource requirements. As a result, the SoC enables Makers and engineers to bring connectivity to any embedded design, ranging from consumer to industrial apps.

As Hackaday’s Adam Fabio recently noted, “The WINC1500 is a nifty little Wi-Fi module in its own right… 72Mbps may not sound like much by today’s standards, but it’s plenty fast for most embedded applications. WINC handles all the heavy lifting of the wireless connection.”

The WINC1500’s most advanced mode is a single stream 1×1 802.11n mode providing up to 72 Mbps PHY throughput, and features a fully-integrated power amplifier, LNA, switch and power management. The solution provides internal Flash memory as well as multiple peripheral interfaces including UART, SPI, and I2C. The only external clock source required for the SoC is a high-speed crystal or oscillator with a wide variety of reference clock frequencies supported (between 12 – 32 MHz). The WINC1500 is also available in a QFN package.

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During ARM TechCon 2014, our friends at ARM had the chance to catch up with Henrik Flodell, Atmel Senior Product Marketing Manager, who highlighted a few demos that combined ARM-based Cortex-M0+ MCUs with the Atmel WINC1500 module.

First, Flodell showed off the SAM D21 Xplained Pro Kit, combined with a WINC1500 and motion sensor. As the video below demonstrates, the board was capable of wirelessly transmitting its coordinates to the application running on the screen.

“For the professional that wants to use the Atmel development tools or those from third party vendors, we have the Xplained Pro Solution.” However, Flodell went on to address the DIY crowd seeking to use 32-bit ARM Cortex-M0+ based MCUs stating, “We’ve also realized there’s a huge interest in the Maker community for creating connected devices based on ARM technology.”

Flodell then went on to give a first-hand look at our recently-unveiled Arduino Shield 101, which was paired with the SAM D21-based Arduino Zero.

This cost-effective, secure shield is an easy-to-use extension that can seamlessly be connected to any Arduino board enabling high-performance Wi-Fi connectivity. The Arduino Wi-Fi Shield 101 is powered by Atmel’s wireless network controller, part of the Atmel SmartConnect family. It also includes the ATECC108 device, from the CryptoAuthentication family, which allows users to easily incorporate hardware authentication capability in their design.

 

Preview: ARM TechCon 2014

Fresh on the heels of World Maker Faire, the Atmel team is headed down the road to the city of Santa Clara for the 10th Annual ARM TechCon 2014. Held October 1-3 inside the Santa Clara Convention Center, the Atmel team will showcase the latest Atmel | SMART ARM-based microcontrollers driving smart, secure and connected devices for the Internet of Things.

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At the Atmel booth (#205), visitors will have a chance to explore a number of hands-on demos including:

…. and, we will also be making announcement around the Atmel | SMART MCU family which you will surely not want to miss. Stay tuned!

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Anyone who’s previously attended ARM TechCon — or any event where Atmel was present for that matter– knows one of the highlights is the free giveaways! On Wednesday, we will be distributing several Atmel | SMART SAM4L Evaluation Kits from our booth (#205). Whereas on Thursday, Atmel | SMART SAM D20 Xplained Pro Evaluation Kit will be given away during the ARM Connected Community demo at 1:30pm and 5:00pm PT inside the ARM booth (#300).

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Meanwhile, Andreas Eieland, Atmel Senior Product Marketing Manager, will educating attendees on why ARM’s Cortex-M0+ was the ideal architecture to use as a foundation for the highly-flexible and easy-to-use SAM D MCU and its potential use cases in home automation, consumer devices, smart metering and industrial applications. Don’t this this session, aptly entitled “Think Beyond the Core,” which is slated to take place on Wednesday at 2:00pm PT.

Other notable key moments in and around the show include an infrastructure panel with Dell and Oracle moderated by ARM’s Ian Ferguson, discussions around the new Cortex-M7 processor, IoT and wearable tech-focused developer workshops, as well as Thursday’s keynote with ARM CEO Simon Segars.

Be prepared to be blown away by not one, but two keynote speakers: Chris Anderson, CEO of 3D Robotics, and Erica Kochi, Chief Innovator for UNICEF. Anderson will be discussing the latest developments in the drone community along with new opportunities in robotics for ARM, while Kochi will explore the ways in which UNICEF and ARM are working together on power and efficiency improvements for mobile devices.

Thinking of visiting the show? Receive a free ARM Expo Pass using the code: ARMExp100. Hurry, this promotion expires on September 30th.

Unable to attend? As a leading member of the ARM Connected Community, rest assured we will be tweeting away and dishing out up-to-the-minute happenings from the show floor. Follow along using the hashtags #ARMTechCon and #AtmelLive throughout the week.