Tag Archives: ARM Cortex-M0+

This tiny sensor platform lets you build your own wearables


MetaWear Coin is a complete, low-power solution that enables both Makers and businesses to develop wearable sensor products.


Back in April, MbientLab unveiled a tiny BLE module that enabled Makers to build production-ready wearables right from their smartphones. MetaWear worked by connecting a product to a mobile device via Bluetooth, then logging or streaming six-axis of motion and environmental data. Following its success, the team has now launched a Kickstarter campaign for the MetaWear Coin a mini, coin-cell powered sensor that can be used to develop any number of smart designs.

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The highly-integrated Bluetooth platform includes wireless, sensor-packed hardware housed inside a simple and functional case, along with easy-to-use SDK and open source codes to help get Makers started. The MetaWear Coin is equipped with a BOSCH accelerometer, a temperature sensor, a BLE radio, a programmable pushbutton, an LED, GPIOs/SPI/I2C for additional sensors, as well as ARM Cortex-M0 SoC with 256KB of Flash and 16KB of RAM. The board can run three to six months on a single, replaceable battery.

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Beyond that, the MetaWear Coin packs a robust set of features all into a tiny form factor, which makes it ideal for “always-on” applications in nearly every setting, such as health and fitness, gaming, navigation and sports. As the popularity for embedded fabric continues to rise, the sensor platform will also enable developers to craft efficient and intelligent wearable solutions for smart clothing, bags and other garments. Projects already created include an intelligent pocketbook, a temperature logging grocery bag and a concussion band that can detect head trauma, just to name a few.

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“You tell the board what to do: read temperature data, log motion data, download log data in memory, sound an alarm when a button is pressed, adjust the volume of your Bluetooth speaker when the MetaWear is shaken, or anything else you can think of,” the team writes.

MetaSense’s proprietary software provides users with powerful analysis tools to better process sensor data, log information, receive input, keep tabs on movements, recognize gestures, turn devices on/off and trigger events.

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Looking to get started on your own wearable solution? Head over to MetaWear Coin’s Kickstarter campaign, where the MbientLab crew is currently seeking $50,000. Delivery is expected to kick off in November 2015.

The Autonomo lets you easily connect your IoT devices outdoors


SODAQ is bringing the Internet of Things outdoors with its new matchbox-sized, solar-powered board. 


It’s safe to say that a vast majority of Kickstarter projects focused around the M2M and IoT space are seemingly designed with indoor connectivity in mind. As a result, Makers are often challenged with finding a decent solution to power their smart devices that can be easily and reliability implemented outdoors. Cognizant of this, SODAQ has developed a next-generation, Arduino-comaptible board that is capable of recording data and triggering actions in any environment — whether it’s in a rural area, on the beach or throughout the house.

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If the name of the Dutch startup sounds familiar, that’s because the team had launched an incredibly successful crowdfunding campaign back in 2013 for their LEGO-like, plug and play prototyping board. With an ATmega328P as its brain, the multi-feature microprocessor enabled both Makers and engineers to easily connect a wide variety of sensors and devices to the Internet.

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Back again with a new matchbox-sized board, Autonomo is built around an Atmel | SMART SAM D21 MCU and is equipped with a Bee Socket that can host up to 10 different communication modules, including Wi-Fi, GPRS, 3G, LoRa, SIGFOX and Bluetooth to name a few. Given its Cortex M0+ 32-bit core, the unit can do just about as much as a Raspberry Pi while consuming 100 times less energy. Impressively, the board can be powered by a solar panel no larger than a smartphone, thereby allowing it to become self-sufficient and autonomous, hence its name.

“The new M0+ processor packs computing power which is comparable to the first Mac. It will make you wonder why you ever used anything else. We also have created a Grove shield for you to use with all of your favorite Grove modules (sensors and actuators),” the team writes.

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With all of the data services available online today, the Autonomo comes with a simple set of visual programming tools that will help Makers easily upload their codes to any gadget. What’s more is that the focus lies on outdoor applications that run efficiently and on extremely low power. Meaning, if a user wants to devise their own application, such as a solar radiation alert, SODAQ has made a plethora of open source example code readily accessible. Next to that there is a complete library to let FIWARE developers upload data to the Orion context broker.

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Looking forward to tinkering around and bringing your hacks to the most remote corners of the planet? Neither can the crew at SODAQ. In order to bring their technology to the masses, its creators have launched Autonomo on Kickstarter with aspirations of garnering $11,380. Delivery is slated for October 2015.

Introducing the new Atmel | SMART SAM C family


Atmel unveils an innovative 5V Cortex-M0+ MCU series with integrated peripheral touch controller.


Say hello to the Atmel | SMART SAM C family, the world’s first full 5V ARM Cortex-M0+-based MCU series with an integrated peripheral touch controller (PTC). The newest batch of MCUs innovatively combines 5V, DMA performance and a PTC with excellent moisture tolerance. Beyond that, the devices integrate advanced analog capability and offer EMI and ESD protection, making them ideal for the rapidly expanding smart appliance and industrial markets.

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Atmel | SMART microcontrollers with PTC are currently in mass production at leading appliance manufacturers worldwide. By adding full 5V functionality on an ARM Cortex M0+ based core, along with upcoming support for the IEC 60730 Class B Safety Library, the SAM C lineup — including the SAM C20 and CAM C21 — is the perfect solution for partnering with industrial and white goods companies to power next-generation applications for the burgeoning Internet of Things.

Leveraging over two decades of MCU success, the latest series incorporates Atmel’s proprietary smart peripherals and Event System, not to mention are also pin and code-compatible to the SAM D and SAM L families. The SAM C is fully supported by Atmel’s free integrated development environment Atmel Studio and program examples and drivers for all peripherals are available through the Atmel Software Framework.

“Atmel leverages its leadership position in both MCU and touch with the new SAM C series,” explained Reza Kazerounian, Atmel SVP and GM, Microcontroller Business Unit. “The SAM C series uniquely combines support for 5V on a Cortex-M0+ based MCU with an integrated PTC, bringing an industry-first product to market for next-generation industrial and appliance applications.”

Among the notable features of the SAM C:

  • Expands the ARM Cortex-M0+ based MCU with hardware divide and square root accelerator at 48MHz
  • Large memories with SRAM up to 32KB and embedded Flash up to 256KB
  • Supports 2.7V to 5.5V operating voltage
  • Integrates the Atmel QTouch Peripheral Touch Controller
  • Incorporates Atmel’s proprietary DMA with SleepWalking, Event System and SERCOM
  • Dual 12-bit ADCs and a 16-bit Sigma Delta ADC
  • Dual CAN 2.0 with FD support

To help accelerate a designer’s development, the SAM C21 Xplained Pro is now selling for just $39. These boards include an embedded debugger and programmer and have a wide range of compatible extensions units. Standalone programmer debugger solutions supporting the SAM C family are also available from both Atmel and third parties.

This donut-like device analyzes your skin and gives you real-time advice


Well, this is one WAY to bring the Internet of Things to your face!


While a vast majority of our blog posts tend to trend on the masculine side of the spectrum, this recent Indiegogo project is ideal for female engineers. Created by one Seoul, South Korea-based startup, WAY is a pocket-sized, personal skincare companion that collects real-time data from your skin and delivers beauty tips directly to your smartphone via its accompanying mobile app.

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Busy professional women and mothers lack time for themselves. Maintaining healthy, youthful skin takes time and dedication,” its creators write. “With WAY, you can easily analyze your skin condition in just three seconds and receive tips about your skincare routine, that save you time and help you to look your best.”

The donut-like gadget — which measures just only 2″ x 2” x 0.5” in size — not only easily slips inside any handbag or knapsack, but is embedded with a UV index and humidity sensors, Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity and up to seven days of battery life thanks to its ultra low-power ARM Cortex-M0 MCU. In addition, WAY also packs a Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) sensor that is tasked with detecting moisture and oil content in the layer beneath the surface of the user’s skin.

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Aside from the dermis, WAY also collects data from a user’s immediate surroundings that is then aggregated and combined with other sorts of real-time information like weather to send useful advice to your smartphone via its app (iOS and Android). What’s nice is that the app will alert a user with notifications throughout the day, making recommendations such as applying applying moisturizer when humidity is low or putting on sunscreen if the UV index is on the rise.

“Most of know that dry conditions are not good for our skin, but it’s tough to qualify dryness levels and take appropriate action. WAY was designed to help you track both the moisture content of your skin and environment. By constantly monitoring conditions and providing qualified skincare tips, WAY takes the mystery out of skincare,” the team adds.

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Want one for yourself? Head over to its official Indiegogo campaign, where the WAY team has already surpassed its $50,000 pledge goal. Delivery is expected to kick off in November 2015.

Going hands-on with the now-on-sale Arduino Zero


It’s official! Makers in the U.S. can now buy the 32-bit Arduino board online. 


In addition to a number of other announcements during his Maker Faire Bay Area “State of Arduino” address, Massimo Banzi had finally revealed the dates for the highly-anticipated Zero board to a standing-room only crowd. In fact, MAKE: Magazine would even go on to call it “one of the biggest pieces of news” from this year’s show and tell.

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And now available (as of June 15th) for purchase within the United States, here’s a quick refresher on the 32-bit Arduino unit that is bound to become a Maker hit over the summer. While its form factor may share that of the Leonardo, the Zero boasts an Atmel | SMART SAM D21 ARM Cortex-M0+ core, enabling the board to run much faster and pack more of a punch than its 8-bit counterparts.

It’s also worth mentioning that the latest device offers users the ability to easily talk to the cloud, thanks to an increase in bits and clock cycles to deal with what’s coming in and going out. This allows Makers to bring their wildest (and smartest) Internet of Things projects to life. As the Wizard of Make Bob Martin explains, “You can do this with an 8-bit microcontroller, but sometimes with data streams, it’s like drinking from a firehose.”

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Key hardware specs include 256KB of Flash, 32KB SRAM in a TQFP package and a clock speed of 48MHz. In comparison, the 8-bit Leonardo (ATmega32U4) comes with only 32KB of Flash, 2.5KB of SRAM and merely runs at 16MHz. One its other notable features is the Atmel Embedded Debugger (EDBG), which provides a full debug interface without the need for any supplemental hardware. EDBG supports a virtual COM port that can be used for device programming and traditional Arduino bootloader functionality, and is entirely compatible with Atmel Studio to give users the ability to import their sketches directly and do source-level debugging.

The Zero sports six analog and 14 digital pins, all of which except for the Rx/Tx pins can also serve as PWM pins. Meanwhile, the analog pins have a 12-bit ADC instead of the Leonardo’s 10-bit ADC, significantly improving analog resolution. Though the new board does not have EEPROM, it does support 16KB by emulation. In other words, Arduino sketches relying upon this feature will still run without any hiccups.

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Upon receiving the board, a user may notice that that Zero’s silk includes an additional graphic element: the Genuino logo. (For those who may not know, Genuino — meaning “genuine” in Italian — is Arduino’s global sister brand.)

“We added the Genuino logo to the Arduino Zero to stress its authenticity, and to make it easier for the Arduino community to spot original boards. We are going to include this logo to all genuine Arduino boards from now on,” the crew says.

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In tandem with its debut on the Arduino U.S. online store, the team has unveiled the Arduino IDE 1.6.5 with a bunch of enhancements as well as support for the Zero. This version of the incredibly popular IDE will keep the serial monitor open while uploading, an “Open Recent” menu that shows the last five opened sketches and a new modern editor, among many other improved elements.

Interested? Head over to the Zero’s official page here, where the board is currently going for $49.90. As you wait for its arrival, watch below as the Wizard of Make gives MAKE’s Alasdair Allan a hands-on demonstration.

FemtoBeacon is a dime-sized, open-source wireless IMU


Based on an ARM Cortex-M0+ MCU, this board features an altimeter, a 9-DOF IMU and wireless capabilities.


In recent months, the Femtoduino crew has been hard at work developing a range of new boards, including their highly-popular IMUduino BTLE, and even more recently, the uber-mini FemtoUSB. Now, after much anticipation, the crew has returned with a dime-sized FemtoBeacon.

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Currently live on Kickstarter, the tiny board (only 18mm in diameter) is based on an Atmel | SMART SAM R21 Cortex-M0+ MCU and is packed with a 9-DOF IMU, a temperature sensor, an altimeter and integrated wireless capabilities such as ZigBee and mesh networking.

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Built around the ARM Cortex M0+, the FemtoBeacon features 256KB of Flash and an on-board voltage regulator outputting 3.3V. At the moment, the device uses a 26MHz crystal with 9PF caps, but it should be noted that the SAM D21 is capable of going up to 48MHz. The chip also supports uploading programming over USB, thanks to the SAM-BA bootloader, and the FemtoIO fork of the BOSSA utility. The entire flash storage may be used if programmed with the Atmel-ICE dongle via SWD.

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“Hopefully, this small Kickstarter campaign can raise enough money to get a small batch built, and subsequently have libraries developed,” CTO Alex Albino writes. Ideally, with enough funding, the team is looking to extensively upgrade its wireless IMU and programming capabilities, as well as add other features like Arduino compatibility.

Intrigued? Head over to the FemtoBeacon’s Kickstarter page, where Femtoduino is seeking $500. Shipment is slated to begin July 2015. In the meantime, you can follow along with their latest work, libraries and examples on Github here.

Get ready to race these open-source, 3D-printed toy bots


Control these open-source, 3D-printable race cars with your mobile device.


As a way to get more young Makers interested in pursuing STEM-related fields, one Cambridge startup has launched a set of customizable, open-source race car kits. Cannybot Racers are 3D-printable, Bluetooth-enabled toy vehicles that can be remotely controlled using any mobile device, or even a Raspberry Pi.

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Keeping in line with the burgeoning Maker Movement, the cars are super simple to create on just about any desktop printer, and can be programmed using Arduino, Blockly, mbed, Python or Scratch. Each Cannybot is comprised of several 3D-printed structural components — such as the chassis, top cover and wheels — that every school with access to a machine can construct in their lab, along with the addition of some low-cost hardware components. This includes a small yet powerful single board controller, dubbed the BlueBrain, which is driven by an ARM Cortex-M0 processor and features a Bluetooth 4.0 module and various motor controllers. The belly of the Arduino-compatible bot is also equipped with line sensor used to detect the track as it makes its way around.

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“The openness of the platform enables students and those looking to begin tinkering around delve deeper — peeking behind their visual programming to see the Arduino code that actually runs on the robots — and physically taking apart and reassembling their Cannybots to see how the components fit together and communicate,” the team writes.

Not only can users purchase one of a few tracks printed on high-quality PVC material, which range from figure-eight tracks to complicated mazes, but Makers can just as easily use standard black electrical tape (or A4/A3 paper using a home printer) to design their own raceway on any hard surface.

Intrigued? Race on over to the project’s official page, or watch them in action below!