Tag Archives: ATtiny44A

New TomTom Spark GPS fitness watch is powered by Atmel

TomTom Spark GPS fitness watch features music, GPS, 24/7 tracking, extended battery life and robust capacitive touch buttons.

A few weeks ago, TomTom unveiled its brand-spanking new Spark GPS fitness watch lineup at IFA 2015. Most notably, one of the company’s biggest pushes with their latest lineup is music, boasting 3GB of memory (enough for 500 or so songs) which allows wearers to store their favorite workout tunes and play them on a pair of Bluetooth headsets.


Not only that, the Spark features a completely redesigned look and feel for ultra sleekness and optimal comfort, in comparison to previous devices. The watch offers a larger and enhanced screen, as well as a variety of colors and strap options.

Putting the music aside, the Spark does just about everything else you’d expect an all-day monitor to do. It counts your steps, tallies calories burned and even captures activities in various modes — whether that’s riding a bike, running the treadmill, jogging a long distance or simply doing some bench presses at the gym. But unlike every other wrist-adorned unit, this one actually even shows you totals towards a weekly progress level.

The Spark family ranges from a simple barebones GPS and sleep/activity-tracking model to one with all the bells and whistles. Additionally, the top-tier watch is even equipped with a heart rate sensor that rivals the likes of other big names in the market. And it should go without saying, each of the wearables include 24/7 GPS tracking.


Inside is where the magic happens, though. The TomTom Spark GPS fitness watch is powered by an Atmel | SMART ARM Cortex-M7-based MCU along with the mighty tinyAVR44A. Plus, the recently-revealed gadget employs Atmel’s QTouch library software to control the sleek touch interface in the 8-bit MCU. The combination of these ultra-low-power processors extends the battery life of the wearable to up to 10 hours in GPS mode.

“We are thrilled that TomTom has selected our ultra-low-power ARM- and AVR-based MCUs to power the main processing unit and touch interface,” says Alfredo Vadillo, Atmel Vice President of ARM-based MCUs. “We look forward to supporting this project and to collaborating on future designs.”

Intrigued? Not only should you head over to TomTom Spark’s official page to learn more, you may want to check out this exhaustive review from DC Rainmaker as well.

Soil moisture sensor packs an ATtiny44A MCU

Powered by Atmel’s ATtiny44A microcontroller (MCU), Chirp is a plant watering alarm equipped with a soil moisture sensor.


According to a company rep, Chirp uses capacitive sensing as opposed to resistive humidity sensing.

Meaning, it does not actually make an electric contact with the soil, thereby successfully avoiding electrode corrosion and soil electrolysis – resulting in optimized accuracy and extended battery life.


On the hardware side of things, a standard AVR 6 pin ISP programming header is available on the board for programming and serial communication. The device acts as a I2C slave, so the header can be used to read the moisture and light levels. It should be noted that another microcontroller or a dev board such as Arduino can be used as I2C master to read those levels.


The alarm level is set for each plant individually, with Chirp configured to detect low moisture level and emit rare short chirps as appropriate. As more water evaporates, Chirp increases the alarm rate.

Chirp is currently available on Tindie at a $15 price point.