Tag Archives: Atmega32u4 MCU

Adafruit builds a WiFi Yún soundboard



Adafruit’s Tony DiCola has put together a detailed tutorial describing how to transform an Atmel-based Arduino Yún (ATmega32u4 MCUinto a soundboard that can be controlled from a webpage over WiFi.

Aside from the Atmel-powered Arduino Yún, key project components include a MicroSD card with 20 megs of available space and a USB audio adapter (or USB speakers).

“Before you get, started you will want to have your Yun connected to your wireless network and be familiar with connecting to the Yún over SSH,” DiCola explained.

The project’s first step? Making sure the MicroSD card is inserted into the Yun and powered on. After connecting to the Yún with SSH, Makers are instructed to install the audio and drivers.

Next up? Installing and configuring the Flask web application framework.

“Once the audio and Flask setup steps are complete, you can install the software for this project,” said DiCola. “While connected to the Yun over SSH, execute commands to download the software and unzip it on the SD card.”

As DiCola notes, Makers can add their own sounds to the soundboard by simply copying MP3 files into the YunSoundboard-master/sounds folder. For Mac or Linux, the scp tool is used to copy files from a PC to the Yun by executing in a terminal. On Windows, Makers will need to install the pscp utility, with the syntax the same as used for the Mac/Linux command, except for the ‘pscp’ command instead of scp.

“Once the sounds are copied over, reload the web page and you should see them added to the list of sounds automatically,” he noted.

According to DiCola, the above-mentioned project is a great example of how to use the Yún’s Linux processor to host a web application and play sounds. Of course, the basic project can be modded or expanded to run on other boards. Makers can also copy their music collection to the device for WiFi controlled boombox, or hook up a PIR motion sensor to the Yun and have the web page alert them if someone is near the device and ready to be pranked.

As we’ve previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, the Atmel-powered Yún has been used in a wide variety of Maker projects that we’ve recently covered, including an electricity monitor, mesh extender platform, high-five cameraFoursquare soap bubble machine, a Gmail (alert) lamp, water heater regulator, smart measuring camera and a security camera.

Interested in learning more about building a WiFi Yún soundboard? You can check out Tony DiCola’s full tutorial on Adafruit here.

Making music with the open source Kyub

The Kyub is a Maker friendly, open source MIDI keyboard kit that can be easily assembled by just about anyone.

“Capacitive sensing gives the Kyub extremely sensitive action, [while] an internal accelerometer allows the volume of each note to be precisely controlled for versatile musical expression,” a Kyub rep explained in a recent Kickstarter post.

“You can attach multiple Kyubs to a computer synthesizer or digital audio workstation for solo play, jamming with friends, or composition.”

Key Kyub features include:

  • One Teensy 2.0 AVR-based board (ATmega32u4 MCU) with native USB MIDI support.
  • 11 fully programmable feather touch keypads on five surfaces of a 3-inch wooden cube.
  • Three-axis 3G accelerometer controls note volume, after touch or pitch bending.
  • Three open source programs for immediate experimentation and playing.
  • Compatible with most software synthesizers, including Propellerhead Reason.
  • Provides access to hundreds of high quality synthesized instruments.
  • Easy to assemble laser cut wood housing accepts a variety of finishes.

So, how does the Kyub work?

Well, the internal circuitry monitors each of the keypads to immediately detect even the lightest finger touch reflected in a capacitive disturbance. 

Meanwhile, acceleration of the Kyub housing associated with a finger touch is converted to a note loudness, which, together with a pitch determined by the keypad, is transmitted over a USB cable in standard MIDI format. It should also be noted that the Kyub offers low latency (on the order of 3 ms), providing a highly responsive musical experience.

On the software side, Kyub can be easily modified in various ways, including changing the notes assigned to each pad, altering the MIDI channel, changing chords assigned to the chord pads, moving notes to make them easy to play, swapping an instrument from guitar to klaxon and playing almost any chord progression.

“We give you super-documented source code using the popular Arduino programming environment (simple C personalized for the Teensy) that will let you set the scale, tweak the note velocity curves, even map different instruments to different pads (say, drums and fife) to get exactly the musical experience you’re looking for,” added the Kyub rep.

“[Plus], our hyper commented source code should give you the tools you need to completely change the Kyub DNA. Make a loop recorder, a drum machine, an arpeggiator, assign pads to play musical phrases, tap into the accelerometer for after touch, pitch bending, or scale changes, squeeze the final bit of latency out.”

Interested in learning more? You can check out Kyub’s official Kickstarter page here.

Dual Arduino Micro XPlorerBoard hits Kickstarter



Rich Electronics has debuted the XPlorerBoard, a portable platform that allows Makers to easily plug in two Atmel-powered Arduino Micro boards (ATmega32u4 MCU) and eliminate loose parts with integrated components.

“The XPlorerBoard is specifically designed for portability and durability. We designed the whole board with through hole components because they do not pop off the board like surface mount components,” a Rich Electronics rep explained in a recent Kickstarter post.

“The back of the XPlorerBoard is covered with a protective anti-static material that also covers all the leads. All of this fits in an included binder with a pocket full of hookup wires to get you started.”

Key project components include:

  • Two Arduino Micro sockets (all pins available in an easy to access header)
  • 5 Volt and 3.3 Volt power supply with included AC adapter
  • Two line by 16 character serial display with multicolored back light
  • Arduino serial library
8 directional switches
  • Piezo buzzer for sound
  • Light sensitive photo resistor
  • Resistor bank
  • Red and green 10 segment LED bar graphs
  • 
Bi-directional logic level converters
  • 
Logic gates
  • 
Two 10K ohm potentiometers (variable resistors)
  • Extra large breadboard for additional components
  • Capacitors
  • N-Channel Mosfet to control high current loads
  • One Binder with parts pocket
  • 100 jumper wires

Interested in learning more? You can check out the project’s official page here.

Arduino Micro helps design the perfect keyboard

Writing for ExtremeTech, Sebastian Anthony reports that Jesse Vincent is working to design the perfect keyboard using an Atmel-powered Arduino Micro (ATmega32u4 MCU).

Vincent has already 3D printed a number of plastic prototypes, with mechanical key switches and (commodity) key caps. Inside the latest keyboard (Mark 13) is a programmable Atmel-Arduino microcontroller that provides a USB interface so the DIY keyboards can be plugged into a PC.

“As an Arduino, it’s programmable directly in the vanilla Arduino IDE. It even includes native support for ’emulating’ a USB keyboard and mouse,” Vincent explained in a recent blog post. “The bootloader is an AVR109 compatible Arduino bootloader. It’s free to use and modify. The hardware design is also free to use and modify.”

On the software side, Vincent says he learned Arduino C and wrote the first fully functioning version of KeyboardioFirmware in an hour and a half.

“It turns out that Arduino really is easy to develop for. I’ve [also] added support for keyboard-driven mouse emulation, multiple keymaps, rudimentary macros and dramatically improved reliability and memory efficiency.”

The next step for Vincent is to prepare the Mark 13 for mass production via a process known as design for manufacturability (DFM). Although every key switch has thus far been hand-wired, the final version will use a printed circuit board that has yet to be designed, along with a hard-wearing material for the keyboard’s chassis.

Interested in learning more about the Mark 13 keyboard? You can check out Vincent’s detailed blog post here.

Transforming touch into sound

Bare Conductive has debuted the Touch Board, an Atmel powered platform (ATMega32u4 MCU) that allows Makers to more easily create interactive and responsive projects.

“Use the Touch Board to change the world around you by turning almost any material or surface into a sensor. Connect anything conductive to one of its 12 electrodes and trigger a sound via its onboard MP3 player, play a MIDI note or do anything else that you might do with an Arduino or Arduino-compatible device,” a Bare Conductive rep explained in a recent Kickstarter post.

“The Touch Board project began as a way for us to create interfaces with our Electric Paint, but it can do a whole lot more. You can also connect tin foil, copper, conductive thread, Squishy Circuits, and more straight to the board. The list is long, but with 12 electrodes, you’ll be able to [conduct] plenty of experiments.”

Key Touch Board features include:

  • Distance sensing – You don’t need to touch your sensors to use them
  • No programming required – Unless you want to
  • Arduino-compatible – Easy to program and works with popular shields
  • Works great with Electric Paint – Or any other conductive material
  • MP3 Player / MIDI device – Make a symphony of sounds
  • microSD card socket – Change the sounds just by changing the card
  • Standard 3.5mm audio jack – Works with headphones and speakers
  • Lithium Polymer (LiPo) – Stand alone projects that recharge via USB
  • HID capable – Turn the Touch Board into a keyboard or mouse

As noted above, the core of the Touch Board is Atmel’s ATmega32U4 processor clocked at 16MHz and running at 5V – the same as the Arduino Leonardo. It also offers 32kB of flash program memory and 4kB of RAM, plenty for most programs Makers might want to write.

This is connected to the micro USB socket on the board, allowing Touch to appear a serial port (CDC) or  keyboard / mouse (HID).

Interested in learning more about the Atmel powered Touch Board? You can check out the project’s official campaign on Kickstarter here.

Going Steampunk with Atmel and Adafruit

Recently, the Adafruit crew designed a pair of goggles for cyberpunks, steampunks and yes, Daft Punks. Officially dubbed “Kaleidoscope Eyes,” key components for the headware include NeoPixel rings, an Atmel-powered (ATtiny85) Trinket (or Atmel-powered Gemma) and a battery (lithium-polymer or 3x AA battery case).

Now the Adafruit crew is back with another slick goggle design. While “Kaleidoscope Eyes,” targeted a slew of fashion genres, the latest pair of goggles are clearly more Steampunk (from a fashion perspective) than either Cyber or Daft.

“Everyone loves funky goggles and the Adafruit Neopixel rings are perfect for building a flashy pair. To kick it up a notch, we STEAMed up these goggles with some high tech sensors and a bit of applied math and physics,” explained Adafruit’s Bill Earl.

“The goggles are controlled by a Flora microcontroller [powered by Atmel’s Atmega32u4 MCU] with a LSM303 accelerometer/magnetometer to track the motion of the wearer’s head. A simple physics engine implements virtual pendulum display on the LED rings that swings in response to the motion of the wearer. The effect is much like a pair of hyperactive electronic googly eyes.”

In addition to the Atmel-powered Flora MCU, key project components include:

  • One pair of Goggles – Any pair of goggles with 50mm lenses will be a perfect fit for the neopixel rings. The prototype for this particular project was built with these German-made safety goggles – using the optional tinted lenses.
  • Two Adafruit Neopixel Rings.
  • One Adafruit Flora LSM303 Magnetometer/Accelerometer.
  • One 3xAAA battery pack.
  • Scrap of leather or upholstery vinyl for mounting electronics to the temple.
  • One 53mm Watchmaker’s Case to house the Flora & Sensor.

It should probably be noted that the goggles are more for show than anything else (Halloween, COSPLAY), as they aren’t suitable for general use as eyewear and certainly not safe to use as protective lenses.

“The flashing lights are very visible inside the goggles. They will impair your vision and may cause dizziness headaches or even nausea with prolonged use,” Earl cautioned in a detailed tutorial. “The LED rings themselves will severely limit your peripheral vision, making it dangerous to walk-about, much less drive a car, juggle chainsaws or pilot a starship.”

That being said, these awesome STEAM-Punk Goggle Operating System recognizes several “gesture” commands for changing operating modes. To be sure, all it takes is a nod of the head to engage the anti-gravity circuits.

Interested in learning more about the Atmel-powered STEAM-Punk Goggles? You can check out Adafruit’s STEAM-Punk Goggle tutorial here.

A NeoGeo watch for cyberpunks and steampunks

Earlier this month, the AdaFruit crew designed a pair of Atmel-powered goggles dubbed “Kaleidoscope Eyes” and a chic Flora GPS Jacket for cyberpunks, steampunks and yes, even Daft Punks.  Today we’re going to be taking a closer look at an Atmel-powered NeoGeo watch that can be tastefully paired with Adafruit’s futuristic goggles and Flora GPS Jacket for a full cyberpunk/steampunk fashion ensemble.

Designed by Adafruit’s Becky Stern and Tyler Cooper, the NeoGeo watch is based on the wearable Flora platform (ATmega32u4 MCU) and an accompanying GPS module.

“[You can] make your own LED timepiece [that] tells time with a ring of pixels. A leather cuff holds the circuit and hides the battery. [Yes], the watch is chunky, but still looks and feels great on tiny wrists,” Stern wrote in a detailed Adafruit tutorial.

“The circuit sandwich becomes the face of the watch, and you’ll use a tactile switch to make a mode selector. The watch has timekeeping (one LED for hours and one for minutes), GPS navigation (customize your waypoint in the provided Arduino sketch) and compass modes.”

According to Stern, the NeoGeo watch is an intermediate-level project requiring soldering and precision crafting. Key components and equipment include:

  • FLORA main board
  • NeoPixel ring
  • FLORA Wearable Ultimate GPS Module
  • FLORA Accelerometer/Compass Sensor – LSM303
  • Tactile switch
  • Tiny lipoly battery with charger
  • Leather watch cuff (Adafruit’s is from Labyrinth Leather)
  • Small scrap of fabric
  • E6000 craft adhesive
  • Binder clips
  • Thin-gauge stranded wire
  • Double-stick foam tape
  • Black gaffer tape
  • Multimeter
  • Soldering iron (Rosin Core solder), scissors, wire strippers, pliers, tweezers and flush snips

In terms of assembling the circuit, Makers are instructed to kick off the project by soldering small stranded wires to their electronics components, about two inches long each.

“Strip the wire ends, twirl the stranded core to make it more easily pass through the circuit boards’ holes, and solder to the NeoPixel ring’s IN, Vcc, and Gnd pads,” Stern explained.

“It’s best to solder on the back side of this particular board, since the pads are quite close to the leads of the NeoPixels on the front of the board, where a large dab of solder could bridge the two.”

Interested in learning more? Be sure to check out Becky Stern’s detailed NeoPixel tutorial posted on Adafruit here.

Atmel lights up these LED sneakers

Known as “FLORA,” Adafruit’s wearable electronics platform is built around Atmel’s Atmega32u4 MCU. The microcontroller boasts built-in USB support, eliminating the need for pesky special cables and extra parts.

According to Adafruit’s Limor Fried, FLORA is extremely “beginner-friendly.” Indeed, the device is difficult to accidentally destroy by connecting a battery backwards, thanks to a polarized connector and protection diodes. Meanwhile, an onboard regulator ensures even connecting a 9V battery won’t result in damage or tears.

As previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, numerous Makers are using the versatile FLORA to design a wide range of creations, including the Adafruit team itself which recently debuted a pair of LED sneakers dubbed “Firewalker,” courtesy of Becky Stern and Phillip Burgess (aka Paint Your Dragon).

Key project specs include two Atmel-powered FLORA main boards, velostat, two meters NeoPixel 60-LED strip in black or white and yes, a pair of sneakers. You can read more about Adafruit’s latest project here on the official Firewalker page.

Atmel-powered FLORA measures your beating heart

Earlier this month, we took a closer look at “FLORA,” Adafruit’s wearable electronics platform powered by Atmel’s Atmega32u4 MCU. The microcontroller boasts built-in USB support, eliminating the need for pesky special cables and extra parts.

Unsurprisingly, numerous Makers are currently using Adafruit’s FLORA to design a wide range of creations, a fact that has caught the eye of the folks at element14. To be sure, the Newark Corporation recently issued a challenge to engineers and Makers to develop their own piece of wearable technology. The platform of choice for the contest? Adafruit’s versatile FLORA.

Today, Adafruit’s very own Becky Stern is showcasing a wearable badge designed to display the beat of your heart. The project – based on FLORA – uses the Polar heart rate sensor which you wear around your ribcage as it wirelessly transmits heart beats to the receiver chip included in Adafruit’s educational starter pack.

As seen in the video above, the badge can be worn on your clothes or bag, as it is held in place by a magnetic pin back. Required hardware items for this project include:

  • Polar Wireless heart sensor educational starter pack
  • FLORA main board
  • 150 mAh lipoly battery (with charger)
  • Eight FLORA NeoPixels or 8×8 LED matrix w i2c backpack
  • Magnetic pin back
  • Sugru
  • Thin stranded wire
  • Double-stick tape or foam

Want to wear your beating heart with FLORA? The complete Heart Rate Badge guide is available here.