Tag Archives: AT90USB1286

Industruino Proto joins the Arduino AtHeart program

Industruino Proto is a robust DIN rail mountable, Leonardo-compatible industrial controller with an LCD display.

Now the latest member of the Arduino AtHeart program, the Industruino Proto is an Leonardo-compatible board housed inside a DIN rail mountable case. The unit itself is comprised of two parts: a self-contained, AVR powered main controller and a baseboard.


Built around the versatile ATmega32U4, the Industruino Proto features a prototyping area, an on-board LCD and a three-button membrane panel. This offers both Makers and professionals alike the ability take a breadboarded solution and quickly turn it into a neatly enclosed, finished looking product that’s ready for permanent installation. Whether employed for automation projects, data loggers or an interactive art installation, Industruino is a rugged, feature-rich and low-cost option for everyone.

Inside its enclosure lies the baseboard with a prototyping area for adding your own components, along with re-routable jumper connections for linking any point to either the MCU’s pins or external screw connectors.

“The Proto kit offers a large prototyping area to add your own circuitry as well as the following features: a 14-pin IDC expansion port to easily connect external modules, and a 2A switching voltage regulator taking any input voltage between 7-28V and generating a stable 5V output for the MCU and your own components,” its team writes. 


Meanwhile, the Industruino Proto’s integrated 128×64 LCD and membrane button panel enable accelerated UI development for visualizing and inputting your application’s data.

It should be noted that the Industruino Proto is sold in kit form, and according to its creators, can be assembled in less than three minutes. Key specs include:

  • MCU: ATmega32U4 (or AT90USB1286)
  • Operating voltage 5V
  • Supply voltage: 7-28V
  • Digital I/O pins: 17
  • PWM channels: 6 (32U4 model) / 4 (1286 model)
  • Analog input channels: 7, of which 6 are shared with digital I/O pins (32U4) / 5 (1286)
  • DC current per I/O pin: 40 mA
  • DC current for 3.3V pin: 50 mA
  • Flash: 32KB (32U4) / 128KB (1286).
  • SRAM: 2.5KB
  • Clock speed: 16MHz

Intrigued? Head over to its official page to learn more, or watch its detailed overview below.

Maker creates an impressive Steampunk-inspired 3D printer

This 3D printer would surely make K. W. Jeter proud. 

First coined by author K. W. Jeter, steampunk is best defined as a sub-genre of science fiction and fantasy literature that commonly features some aspect of steam-powered machinery, especially in a setting inspired by industrialized Western civilization during the 19th century. Over the years, there has undoubtedly been a rise in the theme’s popularity, as seen across Maker Faires and in a number of slick DIY projects like this wristwatch. And, while we’ve seen countless devices arise, one space that seemed to go untouched was 3D printing. That was until now.


That’s because John Davis recently devised a steampunk-inspired iteration of the Printrbot GO, which essentially consists of the printer housed inside of an antique wooden suitcase from the 1920s. Aside from the inclusion of an LCD display, it’s safe to say that it looks a machine straight out of the “Wild, Wild West.” Job well done!

The unit itself is equipped with antique bronze extruder gear, a set of spur wheels, a Frankenstein-style knife switch, and a pair of leather straps, among a number of other features to round out its aesthetics.


“Since before I even owned the GO, I had a vision in my mind about turning it into a steampunk steamer trunk kinda thing, and critical to that vision were suitcase belts,” the Maker writes. “I can’t imagine a single feature (well, in addition to darkly stained wood) that says ‘olde timey’ like leather belts up the sides of a piece of a luggage, so I knew I needed to get something like that working for me at some point.”

Beyond that, Davis located some old-school weather dials that once measured temperature, humidity and barometric pressure and repurposed them to monitor the 3D printer’s performance. These were placed on the other side of the suitcase, away from an LCD that he modded the gadget with. The Maker also decided to enhance his contraption’s display, swapping out its original bluish screen for one that was amber-colored to provide that full Steampunk visual effect.


And, of course, the alternative world-esque device is driven by a Printrboard electronic set (AT90USB1286) and powered by an X-Box 360 PSU. Impressively, Davis was even able to add a Raspberry Pi with OctoPrint to allow for wireless control and remote monitoring of his prints (by webcam) via his smartphone. The Pi was mounted inside the front right hand panel, which enabled him to attach the camera onto the side of the gantry.

Those looking for the perfect Maker Faire accessory can head over to Davis’ exhaustive project page here, which breaks down the build step by step.

Printrbot Play will be a $399 fully-assembled 3D printer for Makers

Printbrot CEO Brook Drumm gives a sneak peek at the soon-to-be-launched Printrbot Play. 

Just the other day, Printbrot’s CEO Brook Drumm unveiled their new 3D printer, the Printrbot Play. The latest device will be a fully-assembled, easy-to-use FDM 3D printer featuring a build envelope of 100mm x 100mm x 130mm, a full metal chassis and a MIC6 aluminum print bed.

In recent years, Printrbot has become well-known throughout the Maker community for its affordable plywood 3D printer kits, while the company’s first all-metal printer — the aptly-named Metal Simple — was introduced back in February. This unit was made of an aluminum and steel frame, powder-coated in an attractive red color, and was slightly larger than its laser-cut wooden sibling, the Printrbot Simple.

Comparatively speaking, the soon-to-launch Play will be a bit smaller than the Metal Simple, whose build area was able to  support up to 150mm x 150mm x 150mm. This machine, which will most likely also be based on an Printrboard Rev F (AT90USB1286), will replace the Simple Makers kit, and serve as an introductory machine for the DIY crowd. Even better, the 3D printer will be priced just under $400.


As we await its big debut, the team has offered a quick video sneak peek of the Printrbot Play. See it below!

Pirx’s latest 3D printer could be the ‘ONE’

You can say goodbye to crooked prints with this steel-framed, high-resolution machine.

Created by Poland-based startup Pirx, the ONE is a consumer-friendly and stylish 3D printer boasting a number of built-in features including an upgradeable heated bed for ABS support.


Based on an an AT90USB1286, the affordable yet robust machine is equipped with an auto bed-leveling system, an LCD interface screen, and SD card slot, therefore eliminating the need for a PC connection during the printing process. Most notably, ONE’s solid steel composition allows for less vibration compared to similar 3D printers, and much more accuracy. Despite its sturdy metal frame, the FDM device is still rather light coming in at only 22-pounds, and is capable of handling larger objects with an expandable build envelope.


Arguably one of, if not, the most important attributes is the machine’s auto bed-leveling that its creators have dubbed the “Q Sensor.” This system ensures that the printer can manufacture plastic pieces right out of the box, while eliminating the potential of crooked printouts or flaws caused by the use of a materials like ABS. Custom made linear guides, optical Z endstop and high performance trapezoid screw enable an astounding 10 micron precision.


The ONE’s nozzle automatically detects the bed position through a series of embedded sensors and begins printing when it knows exactly how the bed is positioned. In the event that the bed is not in its proper position, the device can automatically compensate the lack in calibration and continue on with the print. Meanwhile, most of the interaction is done on a built-in LCD screen and models are uploaded via SD card.

  • Build volume: 210mm x 270mm x 210mm
  • Printer weight: 10 kg (22 lbs.)
  • Layer thickness: 0.05 mm – 0.3 mm
  • Nozzle diameter:  0.4 mm
  • Filament type:  PLA, Nylon, PS, Laywood, Ninjaflex, ABS
  • Connectivity: SD Card, USB
  • Power supply: ~150 W

Interested in this megaAVR powered printer? You can head over to Pirx’s official page here. At the moment, the Pirx ONE will set you back approximately $1,200 and $1,400 for the heated bed.

Rewind: 14 pocket-sized projects of 2014

And who said big things can’t come in small packages?

A CD-sized printer you can take anywhere


Think printing is boring? Tedious? Annoying? You may want to check those thoughts at the door after checking out this portable, handheld printer from a team of students from Lev, the Jerusalem College of Technology. The young Makers — who together launched ZUta Labs — have debuted a revolutionary little gadget. The appropriately named Pocket Printer is an untethered robot comparable in size to a CD case that features a set of omni wheels and a printer cartridge tethered to an [Atmel based] Arduino board. Once placed down, the device begins to run along the paper, using its aforementioned wheels and a high-res optical sensor to move around, distributing ink wherever it’s needed. For multi-paged documents, simply pick up the printer and put it onto the the next blank sheet of paper.

A drone that can fold up into your front pocket


Developed by Maker Jason Lam along with his team at San-Francisco based AeriCam, the Anura is a flying quadcopter that can be folded into approximately the size of an iPhone 6. The portable drone connects with iOS and Android smartphones via Wi-Fi. Equipped with a built-in microcamera, Anura offers a live aerial view on the screen of the connected smartphone, which also serves as its remote control. In addition, the flying apparatus can soar within a range of 80-feet with a flight time of around 10 minutes per charge and a top speed of 25 MPH. The pocket-sized UAV hopes to pack some other functionalities as well, including auto take-off, auto land, return home and follow phone.

An entire band in your pants


Ever catch yourself drumming on your thighs? Your table? Your desk? Your steering wheel? Now, starting a one-man band is as simple as wearing this musical kit. As seen on Kickstarter and ABC’s Shark Tank, DrumPants transform one’s trousers into a full ensemble with 100+ built-in high-quality sounds. Though the DrumPants were designed with music in mind, the sensors do provide additional uses — they can reprogrammed to trigger actions within a wide variety of apps, ranging from answering their phone, to playing a streaming video, to controlling a game. In addition, its control box is powered by an Atmel | SMART ARM Cortex-M3-based MCU and features an ultra-low latency Bluetooth 4.0 chip, an embedded sound engine for 1/8-inch headphone jack, 128 instrument sample banks and a Micro-USB for connection to a laptop or PC.

A Tetris-playing business card

photo 4a

Safe to say, you’ve never seen a business card like this before. Created by Maker Kevin Bates, Arduboy is an uber-mini handheld game console powered by an ATmega328P. The device, which is roughly a millimeter and a half thick and apparently packs nearly 10 hours of battery life, is equipped with a 1.3″ OLED display, capacitive touch buttons and a piezo-electric speaker. In essence, it is a digital business card which features a built-in Tetris (and Pokemon) game and several control buttons.

An open-source offline password keeper


In the wake of recent breaches, the need for two-factor authentication is more apparent than ever before. And, while log-ins and passwords are critical elements required to access the sites and services we use on a daily basis, remembering complex credentials can be quite difficult. So, in an effort to minimize the number of ways a password could be compromised, the Hackaday community recently devised an offline password keeper called Mooltipass. The crew selected an ATmega32U4 MCU to power the device, which also boasts an easy-to-read OLED screen, a read-protected smart card (AT88SC102) and Flash memory to store encrypted passwords.

A portable breathalyzer that has your BAC


Developed by the team at Edge Tech Labs, DrinkMate is a lipstick-sized breathalyzer that plugs directly into your smartphone. The project recently completed a successful Kickstarter campaign, where it garnered well over its original $40,000 goal. Unlike those of the past, the world’s smallest breathalyzer — which measures 1.8″ long x 0.62″ in diameter — works in conjunction with the Android phone’s app and displays his or her blood alcohol content (BAC) results instantly with no calibration, no mouthpiece and no battery. A user simply inserts one end of Atmel based DrinkMate into a phone’s microUSB port, while blowing into the other end. BAC results are then displayed instantly.

A Polaroid printer for your smartphone


Have you ever browsed through your smartphone pics and wished you could print copies in a moment’s notice? A new device, aptly named SnapJet, is now making that a reality. The open-source, instant-film printer uses Polaroid technology to let users wirelessly print their photos directly from a smartphone. Impressively, the SnapJet doesn’t require any mobile app, wires, or other connections, such as Wi-Fi, NFC or even Bluetooth. Driven by an AT90USB1286, the SnapJet also features an OLED display and other connectivity options — like USB and BLE — just in case you feel the need retouch a few pics, or for those Makers out there, the urge to reprogram or hack the open-source device.

A handheld air quality monitor


Designed by the Brooklyn-based HabitatMap team, AirBeam is a portable, palm-sized system for mapping, graphing and crowdsourcing air pollution in real-time as you make your way around city streets. While the wearable instrument may not purify the air, it does enable you to monitor what you are breathing in, thereby increasing your awareness of the budding issue. As its creators note, pollution is among the leading causes of chronic illnesses as well as contributor to a number of terminal illnesses. In an effort to share and improve the atmosphere, the ATmega32U4 based AirBeam uses a light scattering method to take regular measurements of fine particular matter (also known as PM2.5), convert the data into a more digestible form and relay it to its companion smartphone app via Bluetooth. The Android app then maps and logs the data in real-time.

A tracker for your environment


Wearables? More like air-ables! While a majority of the wearable tech space has been focused on tracking what’s inside our bodies such as activity and stress levels, a new kind of device is emerging, one in which monitors what’s going on outside of us — specifically in our environment. Similar to the aforementioned AirBeam handset, TZOA is capable of measuring air pollution and UV exposure in one’s immediate environment using advanced sensor technology. The tiny, round tracker is equipped with optical laser sensors that keep tabs on air quality, UV light, humidity, and temperature — all of which transmit data to a companion smartphone app via Bluetooth to quantify the environment around the wearer. Using this information, the wearer can determine whether they need to open a window, step outside to catch a few rays, or simply take a different route on their way to the office.

An all-in-one prototyping gadget


Fresh of a successful crowdfunding campaign, Makers Pamungkas Prawisuda Sumasta and Ralf Smit have created the first all-in-one Arduino-compatible prototyping gadget. While its form-factor is rather convenient, its hackability and wide-range of applications is where the so-called Phoenard truly sets itself apart. The gadget, which is powered by an ATmega2560, not only sits perfectly in your hand but can slide quite easily into your pocket. The 11.8 x 6.1 x 1.1 cm device boasts a full-color touchscreen display and an on-board battery, and is even equipped with its own operating environment. Given its incredible versatility, the self-programmed Phoenard is bound to make every true Maker’s dream a reality. As its creators note, the prototyping platform can be used as the ‘brain’ of any DIY Project. Unlike an Arduino, Phoenard encompasses several features built entirely into a single unit, which can also serve as your daily mobile device. Sure, you can buy a smartphone, but wouldn’t it be even more awesome to devise your own?

A gaming console that’s smaller than your credit card


Developed by National Engineering School of Saint-Etienne student Aurélien Rodot, Gamebuino is a retro-inspired, pocket-sized game console built around an ATmega328. No larger than a credit card, the successfully crowdfunded device gives a whole new meaning to portable gaming. With its metallic and vintage appearance, it will surely spark up some technostalgia of the Gameboy Advance of the early 2000s. According to its creators, Gamebuino is a true turnkey solution that enables Makers of all ages to begin creating their own 8-bit games — even those with very little programming knowledge. Advanced users will take comfort in knowing that the device is open-source, hackable and expandable.

Another open-source 8-bit gaming console you’ll love


In honor of Game Boy’s 25th birthday, the Microduino Studio team debuted the Microduino-Joypad, an 8-bit multi-functional game console capable of playing all-time classics ranging from Tetris to Snake. The open-source gadget allows Makers to relive some of their greatest childhood memories of clicking away at those giant buttons on a vintage Nintendo handheld. Based on both ATmega328P and ATmega644PA MCUs, the Joypad can be used for everything, from controlling a quadcopter to playing a few levels of the latest Angry Birds installment.

An interactive near-eye display


A group of researchers from Nokia and a number of universities have come together to design a gadget that has the same benefits of Google Glass, while eradicating the need to wear them around one’s face. The device, which is tethered to an Epson Android computer and an Arduino Pro Mini (ATmega168), provides an eye-level display for quick, discreet access. Named after the small magnification tool commonly used by jewelers, Loupe is described by its creators as a novel interactive device with a near-eye virtual display similar to head-up display glasses. With its cylindrical shape, the chapstick-sized gadget can be held up to one’s eye when a user wants to check their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and such. When not in use, the device can easily be stowed away in a pocket or worn like a pendant necklace.

An open-source radiation detector


Developed by AeroSplice, the APOC Pro is an advanced open-source Gamma particle and X-ray radiation detector powered by an ATmega328. The device logs data onto a microSD card in a readable format, which is later analyzed using a custom web application and displayed to other users located throughout the world.

SnapJet is a portable Polaroid printer for your smartphone

Have you ever browsed through your smartphone pics and wished you could print copies in a moment’s notice? A new device, aptly named SnapJet, is now making that a reality. The open-source, instant-film printer — which has made its Kickstarter debut — uses Polaroid technology to let users wirelessly print their photos directly from a smartphone.


Impressively, the SnapJet doesn’t require any mobile app, wires, or other connections, such as Wi-Fi, NFC or even Bluetooth. As its creators note, “All you need to do is put your phone on top, and push a single button to print beautiful photos.”

Aside from its simplicity, what really sets this device apart is its portability. Given it size, users can now work on scrapbooks in a coffee shop, or make a real-time birthday cards just captured during the party.


How does it work? Users simply place their phone face-down on top of the SnapJet. The SnapJet then scans the image on the screen and prints it out on either Polaroid 300 or Fujifilm Instax film, using the light from the phone’s display to develop the film at resolutions up to 1,200 dpi. According to the team, if you upgrade your phone, the print quality gets even better!

Powered by an Atmel AT90USB1286, the SnapJet also features an OLED display and other connectivity options — like USB and BLE — just in case you feel the need retouch a few pics, or for those Makers out there, the urge to reprogram or hack the open-source device.


The team says it will be releasing each of its designs and schematics to the DIY community, which will enable tinkerers to access their PCBs, CAD models and everything else required to create a fully-functional SnapJet.

“We want to empower our users to hack, re-program, and re-purpose SnapJet, even commercially,” the team writes. “We want open source hardware to be the new standard for physical devices. Consumers should know exactly what’s inside their devices. No toxic chemicals or parts that are designed to wear out and force upgrades. We think open-source is the only effective path to fighting planned obsolescence, and making innovation more democratic.”


Though instant Polaroid photos may seem like a relic of the past, the SnapJet proves otherwise. If you’d like to get your hands on one, head on over to its official Kickstarter page here. Currently, early bird SnapJets are going for just $129, with a projected delivery date of December 2015.

Lewihe unveils its Sneaker 3D printer

Earlier this summer, Makers Juan Tendero, Jordi Tendero and Jose Manuel Quiles announced that they would launch a new 3D printer, capable of printing Filaflex filament at speeds faster than any other desktop machine on the market today. In doing so, the team had launched its Lewihe 3D printer on Indiegogo, seeking $60,000 to further production. While they were unable to garner the targeted amount, the group did utilize the pledged $11,105 to expand their capabilities.


Now a couple of months later, the team has resurfaced to announce that they will be unveiling another printer, the Lewihe Sneaker. Though larger than the company’s previous machines, the Sneaker will still be based on the same core XY system. Each of the recently-announced devices are powered by an Atmel AT90USB1286 based SAV Mk-I board.


Built on an aluminum alloy chassis, the Sneaker’s key specs include:

  • Print Technology: Fused Filament Fabrication
  • Build Volume: 320 x 210 x 210 mm
  • Print speed: 120 mm/s
  • Printer Size: 48 x 35 x 46 cm
  • Printer Weight: 14 kg (30 lbs)
  • Layer Resolution: 50 microns
  • Filament Type/Size: 1.75 mm PLA & Filaflex
  • Nozzle Diameter: 0.4 mm
  • Software: Cura, Repetier, Pronterface, Octoprint
  • 3D Model File Types: .stl, .gcode, .obj

In addition, the printer features an optional camera (with 320 x 240 resolution) for those Makers wishing to monitor their prints remotely, as well as Wi-Fi connectivity. Wishing to add the Lewihe Sneaker to your holiday list? You’re in luck. The company says it will be available starting in December.

Interview: Jean-Noël talks Ootsidebox

Jean-Noël says projected capacity is the primary principle behind his Atmel-powered Ootsidebox, with an electric field projected in front of the existing touch surface affected by movements of the hand. Simply put, it is possible to calculate 3D coordinates and recognize certain gestures by measuring the perturbations of an oscillator caused by the movement of the user’s fingers (or an object) at several centimeters from the control surface.

Recently, Atmel’s Tom Vu had the opportunity to discuss the Ootsidebox with product inventor Jean Noel Lefebvre. 

Tom Vu:

What is the basic history of Ootsidebox?

Jean Noel: I kicked off this project 6 years ago and have worked on it full time since March 2013. Most of the parts used to construct  Ootsidebox are actually off-the-shelf electronics.


More specifically, I used the Atmel AT90USB1286 microcontroller (MCU) to power the device. Currently, I am exploring the possibility of meshing the popular Unity 3D gaming Engine with Ootsidebox. Combining a well known gaming engine will help us tease out more latent, long-term potential for the project, while simultaneously expanding the boundaries of game play with touchless or hybrid touch/touchless technology.

TV: How does Ootsidebox differ from other touchless and gesture sensor solutions?

JN: First of all, there is nothing at the center. For the microchip solution, you need a center electrode with two layers integrated within the body. In contrast, Ootsidebox is designed to be platform and device agnostic. In fact, the incasing can be modeled to fit around existing technologies and devices. Take, for example, example, the Android or iPad. The idea that you can simply wrap this touchless interface around existing devices and products opens new possibilities while enhancing use-cases for existing devices.


With this external fitting, much like an accessory, one can quickly enable their devices to be touchless, with gestures executed from within 10cm (set to double very soon) at maximum in front of a small screen. The device can be used in many different scenarios. For example, say you are in the kitchen cooking with greasy hands filled with sauce. The Ootsidebox can be set to seamlessly interact with various kitchen appliances – without the user ever having to touch knobs, buttons, glass, dials or sliders. Instead, activating/adjusting appliances can be performed via simple gestures (left to right or circular motions). Of course, there are many additional applications that can benefit from a touchless interface, ranging from home consumer device, gaming, health or even industrial uses.

TV:  Can you tell me more about the product design?  Is there any particular reason you chose Atmel AVR?

JN: The design is very simple, using only well known “stock components” found on any distributor or reseller site. The more complex part may be found in the 14bits DAC in SPI. Most of the components are “old school” logical chips such as 4000 family (my best friends for a long time in electronics). As for the microcontroller, I didn’t need high performance uC, so 8 bits were enough. The idea is to prepare Ootsidebox for mainstream adoption via a strategy of simplicity, a philosophy which fits well with Makers and the open source community. In terms of selecting the appropriate uC, I was careful to precisely balance price and performance. I also took into consideration various factors such as the large AVR community, availability of open source libs and the quality of the support and tools from the chip manufacturer. The mindset, reputation and philosophy of the brand (Atmel and Arduino) helped steer my uC choice. In fact, startups today are very closely tied to Maker Movement, reflecting Arduino and Atmel. That’s why I’m very confident when choosing Atmel, because Atmel and the Arduino community really support the Maker Movement today.

TV: How does Ootsidebox differ from other platforms on the market?

JN: It’s really a control device that computes touchless gestures versus touching and manipulating. Most of us are quite familiar with the ongoing touch revolution, as we use the very same interface interacting with smartphones and tablets on a daily basis. In addition, there are already commercially viable products such as Android devices equipped with sensor hubs that are designed to process gestural movement of the hand.


Ootsidebox differs on many levels, as the device is meant to be an add-on or fitting to an already existing device. Easy modification will encourage HMI enhancements for existing products or emerging devices. Remember, a consumer/user does not have to be married to just one product line from a major manufacturer. With Ootsidebox, you can control the devices without touching; move up, down, side-to-side, rotational, and even emulating the click of a button. Perhaps most importantly, the touchless interface will undoubtedly inspire future design roadmaps. For example, the touchless form factor is perfect for industrial and medical use. Just imagine a dentist needing to activate or handle various devices during treatment when messy hands are not necessarily ideal.

TV: What is the future of Ootsidebox? Do you plan on making it open source?

JN: Yes, there are plans to launch a campaign on Kickstarter or Indiegogo to attract more involvement in the development and use of this touchless sensor solution. The platform and innovative slope for additional development is limitless. We plan on releasing Ootsidebox as open source / open hardware, complete with specs for mechanical design. Crowdsourcing will help spur additional innovation, while allowing the platform to accommodate a wider degree of functionality. 

TV: How do Hackerspaces influence your work?

JN: A few years ago, disruptive products and ideas were conceived in garages. Today, the very same process takes place in Hackerspaces, where creativity thrives and technical skills abound. By designing projects in Hackerspaces, Makers and engineers are fully connected with a worldwide network of creative people boasting different backgrounds. This synergy significantly accelerates the innovation process.

TV:  What is your personal experience with AVR microcontrollers (MCUs) and Arduino boards?

JN: I was using other brands before I discovered the benefits of AVR uC during my discussions about Ootsidebox with my friends at Elektor Labs.


Also during my stay at Noisebridge Hackerspace, Mitch Altman was using AVR Arduino to teach electronics for newbies (I really love what’s happening there). My first experience with the Arduino environment was with Teensy++ 2.0, based on the AT90USB1286 MCU. This Atmel AVR microcontroller is the one I used for my last prototype of the Ootsidebox tablet accessory, which will be launched soon on Kickstarter or Indiegogo. We are also working on a smaller project with Elektor Labs. Essentially, it’s a “3D Pad” built in the form of a shield for Arduino.

TV: Are touchless gestures the future of user interfaces?

JN: Touchless gestures are a part of the natural evolution of the more traditional user interface. It’s a way to provide a more natural and intuitive user experience, which is somewhat of a growing requirement due to the proliferation of complex equipment in our everyday life. Of course, touchless gesture interaction is also more natural. In the future, with the help of Ootsidebox technology, product designers and Makers will not create electronic platforms to “manipulate” or “interact” with devices, but rather, for individuals to directly “communicate” with them instead.

Really, people expect them to be as smart as living entities. I learned that during various discussions with scientists about the project. In the brain, “communicating” vs. “manipulating” simply does not invoke the same connections pathways. Clearly, touchless and gesture UI are paving the way to a very fascinating evolution of consumer electronics in the near future. That being said, I see touchless user interfaces complimenting, rather than replacing, multi-touch, much the same way the mouse didn’t replace a keyboard.

Clearly, this kind of technology can help save lives, while reducing nosocomial risk in healthcare environments. It may also allows drivers to stay more attentive to the road when navigating with gesture-based infotainment. Personally, I’m dreaming of disruptive aesthetic designs in the field of high-tech consumer electronics. I can’t wait to see what a guy like Philippe Starck will be able to create. As I noted earlier, this project is 100% open and we invite everyone to participate on Twitter. Just post your questions and suggestions here: @OOTSIDEBOX, while including the hashtag #AtmelBlog. I’ll answer you personally. You can also check us out here on Facebook

More RAM with the Teensy++ 2.0

So, you’ve decided to use the Atmel-powered Teensy++ 2.0 (AT90USB1286) in your latest Maker project.

Want to know how you can access more memory? 

Well, you’re in luck, because xxxajk recently came up with a library that allows the use of significant RAM expansion with the Teensy++ 2.0.

As HackADay’s Brian Benchoff notes, xxxajk’s latest library is actually a port of XMEM2, an earlier project that added RAM expansion and multitasking to the Arduino Mega (ATmega1280). 

As expected, XMEM2 works with Rugged Circuits QuadRAM and MegaRAM expansions for the Arduino Mega as well as Andy Brown‘s 512 SRAM expansion.

“Up to 255 banks of memory are available and with the supported hardware, the Teensy can address up to 512kB of RAM,” Benchoff explained. 

”XMEM2 also features a preemptive multitasking with up to 16 tasks, the ability to pipe messages between tasks and all the fun of malloc().”

Interested in learning more? You can check out xxxajk/xmem2 on Github here, QuadRAM here, MegaRAM here and the 512 SRAM expansion here.

Projected capacity with the Atmel-powered Ootsidebox

Jean-Noël says projected capacity is the primary principle behind his Atmel-powered Ootsidebox.

“An electric field projected in front of the existing touch surface is [affected] by movements of the hand,” he recently told Elektor.

“By measuring the perturbations of an oscillator caused by the movement of the user’s fingers (or any object, for that matter) at several centimeters from the control surface it is possible to calculate 3D coordinates and recognize certain gestures.”

According to Jean-Noël, the underlying technology is based on e-field analysis, which offers “touchless” gesture-based interaction for a wide range applications, including mobile devices such as tablets, along with portable game consoles, electronic cookbooks and healthcare equipment.

Jean-Noël says his goal is to raise funds for Ootsidebox with a crowdfunding campaign on either Kickstarter or Indiegogo later this year.

“As potential customers for this innovation, we are addressing the DIY community of Makers, hackers, modders and independent game developers,” he told Bits & Pieces in an interview conducted via e-mail.

“This is really an open source and open hardware project that is compatible with the Arduino IDE. Even the mechanical parts will be designed in a way that they will be easy to print in 3D. This way you will be free to make your own custom version.”

Jean-Noël also noted that he specifically chose the versatile AT90USB1286 Atmel microcontroller (MCU) to power his invention.

“The main benefits will be the easy integration in Arduino’s ecosystem, along with the existence of a great and powerful community,” he explained. “One of the [primary] keys to [ensuring] success in a crowdfunding campaign is building a fan community that will help us spread the word.”

Jean-Noël has already presented the Atmel-powered Ootsidebox at a wide range of hacker and maker venues, including the San Francisco HackerSpace and various Fablabs in France. Jean-Noël has also clinched a partnership with the Elektor/CircuitCellar Group.

“As I said, this project is 100% open and we invite everyone to participate on Twitter. Just post your questions and suggestions here: @OOTSIDEBOX, while including the hashtag #AtmelBlog. I’ll answer you personally,” he added.