Tag Archives: Atmel | SMART SAM D20

Pixelio is a 3D scanning turntable for your phone


Goodbye, shaky hand effect! Pixelio lets you create high-quality 3D scans and 360-degree photos with nothing more than your phone. 


Having noticed a void in the market for a high quality yet affordable 3D scanning device, Smart 3D set out to fill this gap. In doing so, the UK-based startup created Pixelio a simple, clever and user-friendly scanner that only requires a smartphone or GoPro to function. How great is that?

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With hopes of introducing users to a whole new dimension in 3D photography, the system is built around a turntable, an accompanying app and a mobile device’s camera that enables you to shoot 360-degre images and time-lapse videos. Given is compact and super portable size, Pixelio lets you bring a mini 3D scanning lab and photo studio wherever you want to go.

Smart3D suggests that Pixelio is a perfect solution for anyone who needs panoramic views of objects, whether that’s a Maker for his 3D printer, an architect, an engineer, a graphic designer, bloggers, real estate developers, tourists, or anyone who’s looking to sell things on sites like eBay.

Pixelio works in tandem with Autodesk 123D’s Catch software running on the smartphone. Combined with the turntable setup, users can scan any object that can fit on the platform in 3D. One of, if not, its greatest advantages is that the device will strap your smartphone into place so that you can maintain a steady shot, unlike handheld scanners where detail can be compromised due to the changing positions. According to its creators, the holder is compatible with just about any phone on the market today.

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Pixelio boasts several other innovative features as well, which will provide you with a seamless experience. It has a built-in powerbank and wireless phone charging option, an adjustable rotation speed, a tripod mount, and an integrated timer that can be useful when setting shutter speeds for time-lapses. What’s more, images and videos that are captured through Pixelio can be saved to either MP4 or GIF formats, while anything scanned will be saved as a 3D file.

In terms of hardware, Pixelio is equipped with an ultra-low power nRF51822 CPU and an Atmel | SMART SAM D20 MCU core. Aside from that, the unit includes an OLED display, capacitive touch buttons, an RGB LED backlight, Bluetooth Low Energy and Wi-Fi connectivity, USB ports and a 5200mAh battery. Additionally, the startup’s patented “Virtual Finger” technology is designed to replicate the touch of a human finger as the phone moves around an object, ensuring that scans or images don’t blur. Virtual Finger is used to activate the shutter release button in applications that aren’t Bluetooth compatible or in smartphones that lack BLE support.

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Ready to say goodbye the shaky hand effect? Head over to Pixelio’s Kickstarter campaign, where Smart3D is currently seeking $50,000. Delivery is slated for sometime next spring.

This smart system wants to make rehabilitation more enjoyable


These Makers are looking to revolutionize rehabilitation with their new system. 


As many of us know all too well, injuries to the hand and wrist are fairly common among children. Making matters worse, rehabilitation exercises tend to be just as demotivating as they are monotonous. So wouldn’t it be nice if there was a much easier, more efficient and engaging way to help propel young patients to achieve full recovery? This is a problem that a team of German Makers set out to solve.

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Their solution? An interactive system that they call Cynteract. It consists of a smart glove, an Oculus Rift headset and some self-developed software, which together create an immersive experience for kids and teens as they perform their rehab activities.

The unique design of the rehabilitation glove enables a wearer to track the positions of each finger individually. Combined with the Bosch BNO055 (Atmel | SMART SAM D20), the Makers were able to precisely reconstruct the movements of the real hand in their virtual environment while providing haptic and visual feedback back to the user. Aside from that, the wearable is equipped with a Bluetooth module for wireless operation, a LiPo battery for power and a microUSB port.

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Additionally, the Makers employed an ATmega32U4 MCU to drive the equipment as well as transmit the measurement between the glove and the computer. In terms of software, Cynteract features a multi-player VR game that lets two patients compete against one another. Little do they know that, as they control the game with their hands, they are actually carrying out the once-monotonous rehabilitation movements.

“The demonstration game is similar to Connect Four or Tic-Tac-Toe. When the player closes his hand, thus performing the essential human fist grip, he will automatically grab a disc. By moving his hand, the patient chooses the desired column. The disc falls straight down and occupies the next available space, when he releases his grip. The actions of both users are synchronized over a network,” the team explains.

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And we can’t forget to mention that Cynteract was also completed with the help of 3D printing, which allows for perfectly-fitting, personalized gloves with complex designs for each user. Interested? Head over to the project’s page here.

BMF055 is a 9-axis sensor with an ARM Cortex-M0+ core


The BMF055 is programmable 9-axis motion sensor with an accelerometer, a gyroscope, a magnetometer and an Atmel | SAM D20 MCU.


Bosch Sensortec has just unveiled a compact 9-axis motion sensor, which incorporates an accelerometer, a gyroscope and a magnetometer along with an Atmel | SMART SAM D20 ARM Cortex M0+ core.

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The BMF055 is the perfect match for those looking to develop advanced application-specific sensor fusion algorithms, add sophisticated motion sensing capabilities, and replace multiple discrete components with a single package. Boasting a tiny 5.2mm x 3.8mm x 1.1mm footprint, the latest board from Bosch Sensortec’s Application-Specific Sensor Node (ASSN) family easily integrates with a wide range of projects from robotics and drones, to gaming and navigation, to augmented reality and human interface devices for the IoT — all of which require a customized SiP solution.

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On top of that, Bosch Sensortec provides an additional SDK featuring a precompiled BSX Lite fusion library with integration guidelines and API source files for individual sensors, as well as example projects as a plugin for Atmel Studio. Intrigued? Head over to BMF055’s page here.

Ready to wear sensor hubs


Majeed Ahmad explores the latest sensor hub offerings for wearable devices.  


By Majeed Ahmad

Atmel has beefed up its sensor hub offerings for wearable devices with SAM D20 Cortex M0+ microcontroller core to add more functionality and further lower the power bar for battery-operated devices. The SAM D20 MCUs offer ultra-low power through a patented power-saving technique called “Event System” that allows peripherals to communicate directly with each other without involving the CPU.

Atmel is part of the group of chipmakers that use low-power MCUs for sensor management as opposed to incorporating low-power core within the application processor. According to market research firm IHS Technology, Atmel is the leading sensor hub device supplier with 32 percent market share.

Sensor hubs are semiconductor devices that carry out sensor processing tasks — like sensor fusion and sensor calibration — through an array of software algorithms and subsequently transform sensor data into app-ready information for smartphones, tablets and wearable devices. Sensor hubs combine inputs from multiple sensors and sensor types including motion sensors — such as accelerometers, magnetometers and gyroscopes — and environmental sensors that provide light level, color, temperature, pressure, humidity, and many other inputs.

Atmel has supplied MCU-centric sensor hub solutions for a number of smartphones. Take China’s fourth largest smartphone maker, Coolpad, which has been using Atmel’s low-power MCU to offload sensor management tasks from handset’s main processor. However, while still busy in supplying sensor hub chips for smartphones and tablets, Atmel is looking at the next sensor-laden frontier: wearable devices.

SAM D20 Evaluation Kit

SAM D20 Evaluation Kit

Wearable devices are becoming the epitome of always-on sensor systems as they mirror and enhance cool smartphone apps like location and transport, activity and gesture monitoring, and voice command operation in far more portable manner. At the same time, however, always-on sensor ecosystem within connected wearables requires sensor hubs to interpret and combine multiple types of sensing—motion, sound and face—to enable context, motion and gesture solutions for devices like smartwatch.

Sensor hubs within wearable environment should be able to manage robust context awareness, motion detection, and gesture recognition demands. Wearable application developers are going to write all kinds of apps such as tap-to-walk and optical gesture. And, for sensor hubs, that means a lot more processing work and a requirement for greater accuracy.

So, the low-power demand is crucial in wearable devices given that sensor hubs would have to process a lot more sensor data at a lot lower power budget compared to smartphones and tablets. That’s why Atmel is pushing the power envelope for connected wearables through SAM D20 Cortex M0+ cores that offload the application processor from sensor-related tasks.

LifeQ’s sensor module for connected wearables.

LifeQ’s sensor module for connected wearables

The SAM D20 devices have two software-selectable sleep modes: idle and standby. In idle mode, the CPU is stopped while all other functions can be kept running. In standby mode, all clocks and functions are stopped except those selected to continue running.

Moreover, SAM D20 microcontroller supports SleepWalking, a feature that allows the peripheral to wake up from sleep based on predefined conditions. It allows the CPU to wake up only when needed — for instance, when a threshold is crossed or a result is ready.

The SAM D20 Cortex M0+ core offers the peripheral flexibility through a serial communication module (SERCOM) that is fully software-configurable to handle I2C, USART/UART and SPI communications. Furthermore, it offers memory densities ranging from 16KB to 256KB to give designers the option to determine how much memory they will require in sleep mode to achieve better power efficiency.

Atmel’s sensor hub solutions support Android and Windows operating systems as well as real-time operating system (RTOS) software. The San Jose–based chipmaker has also partnered with sensor fusion software and application providers including Hillcrest Labs and Sensor Platforms. In fact, Hillcrest is providing sensor hub software for China’s Coolpad, which is using Atmel’s low-power MCU for sensor data management.

The company has also signed partnership deals with major sensor manufacturers — including Bosch, Intersil, Kionix, Memsic and Sensirion — to streamline and accelerate design process for OEMs and ensure quick and seamless product integration.

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Atmel Sensor Hub Software from Hillcrest Labs


 

This post has been republished with permission from SemiWiki.com, where Majeed Ahmad is a featured blogger. It first appeared there on February 4, 2015.  Majeed Ahmad is author of books Smartphone: Mobile Revolution at the Crossroads of Communications, Computing and Consumer Electronics and The Next Web of 50 Billion Devices: Mobile Internet’s Past, Present and Future. Majeed has a background in Engineering MS, former EE Times Editor in Chief (Asia), Writer for EC Magazine, Author of SmartPhone, Nokia’s SMART Phone.

 

Atmel expands QTouch Safety Platform for home appliance user interfaces

Just in time for Electronica 2014, we’re excited to announce our new QTouch Safety Platform for capacitive touch-enabled user interfaces in the home appliance market. Not only does the new platform add mandatory safety, it also supports Atmel | SMART ARM Cortex-M0+ based MCUs for safety critical home electronics applications.

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The most recent QTouch capacitive touch platform is based on the Atmel | SMART SAM D20 integrating an on-chip peripheral touch controller (PTC) to deliver excellent EMC robustness, short response times and combines self- and mutual capacitance sensors for up to 256 channels. Today, the QTouch platform is already widely adopted by some of the world’s leading manufacturers.

When it comes to next-gen home appliances, designers are not only facing stringent certification requirements for safety and EMC robustness, but are seeking a platform that supports all the applicable safety standards required to pass end product qualification with minimal design time. Fortunately, Atmel’s QTouch Safety Platform is pre-qualified for the VDE/UL 60730 Class B and UL 1998 certifications, reducing a designer’s overall development time by as much as 12 months.

What this means is that household appliance designers can now harness their energy on more innovative, easy-to-use interfaces that support capacitive touch buttons, sliders and wheels on an Atmel | SMART ARM Cortex M0+-based MCU, rather than focusing on safety certification features. The SAM D20 ARM-based Cortex M0+-based MCU is the first device to support the QTouch safety library, with support for future home appliance devices to be added as they become available.

In the meantime, designers can go ahead and download the QTouch Safety Library Firmware, FMEA library and QTouch Composer Development Software on an Atmel ARM Cortex M0+-based MCU. The QTouch Safety Library ensures excellent noise tolerance through dynamic hardware and firmware noise filtering through the IEC 61000-4-6 10V conducted immunity with minimal design effort. Additionally, QTouch Safety Platform provides FMEA support and moisture tolerance.

“With the increased regulations in Europe and the US for safer home appliance products, designers are looking for pre-qualified solutions that accelerate this part of the development cycle,” said Geir Kjosavik, Atmel Director of QTouch Product Marketing. “Atmel’s latest QTouch Safety Platform gives designers the pre-qualified features for their home appliances while enabling them to differentiate their products with capacitive touch interfaces in the form of buttons, wheels or sliders. We are excited to help bring more safety critical home appliances to market and are continuing to broaden our portfolio of devices to support the home appliance market.”

To help accelerate a designer’s development, the QTouch Safety Platform offers easy-to-use software and hardware tools, each of which are available free of charge in the Atmel Gallery. Wait, there’s more good news! The SAM D20 — offered in 16KB to 256KB of Flash in 32-, 48- and 64-pin packages — is now shipping in volume.

Furthermore, the SAM D20 QTouch robustness demo — which provides an evaluation and demo highlighting the superior performance Atmel’s QTouch Safety Platform — is available in the Atmel Store for USD $149. The kit comes pre-loaded with a pre-qualified 60730 Class B software that can be easily re-programmed and debugged using the embedded debugger, not to mention passes all standard home appliance EMC tests.

In addition to the SAM D20 QTouch robustness demo, the QTouch Safety Platform can be explored using the Xplained Pro evaluation platform. The SAM D20 Xplained Pro evaluation board is available for USD $39, while the QT1 Xplained Pro adding QTouch support is available for USD $25. Both of these kits are also available in the Atmel Store.

Heading to Munich for Electronica 2014? Stop by Atmel booth — located in Hall A5, #542 — to discover how we’re bringing more intelligent, connected devices together. In the Atmel SMART HOME ZONE, you will have the chance to experience a live demonstration of the QTouch Safety Library with SAM D20, displaying the superior capacitive touch performance of the peripheral touch controller while achieving best-in-class noise immunity and moisture tolerance required in home appliances.