Tag Archives: breadboard

Quin Etnyre talks Makers at the White House

At 13 years of age, Quin Etnyre is already an accomplished Maker and teacher working to change the world – one Atmel powered Arduino board at a time.


Today, Bits & Pieces had the opportunity to interview the young Maker about America’s burgeoning DIY culture on the sidelines of the very first White House Maker Faire.

Atmel: Who, or what inspired you to become a Maker?

Quin: I was inspired by LEGO. Every day I would build a kit. To be a Maker, you have to think outside of the box, and come up with new ideas on your own. Later on, I started ‘hacking’ LEGO, and making my own versions of kits that worked just as good, maybe even better. This concept led to me hacking other electronics and mechanical objects around the house, which made me a Maker.


Atmel: How do you feel about being chosen to attend the very first Maker Faire at the White House?

Quin: It is awesome!!! I can’t believe that last year I started to show my projects at Maker Faire, and just the next year I am picked to go to the White House, and show the President what I’m making! It is super fun to show people what I make, and teach them how they can learn how to make projects, too!

Atmel: How do you think the Maker Movement democratizes the tools and skills necessary to design and create just about anything?

Quin: It allows more and more people the knowledge they need for free (open source), allows them to modify projects – and contribute to to the community in the end. Many people can learn, and many people can teach.

Atmel: What projects of yours are powered by Atmel-powered Arduino boards or stand-alone MCUs?


Quin: All of my projects with a microprocessor are Atmel-powered! Many of them are based on Arduino boards, like the FuzzBot, Gas Cap, and TFT LCD screen Instructables, and the Quasi-duino Arduino clone (also on Instructables!) uses the ATmega328 MCU with the bare minimum components needed to function as an extra small Arduino. [Since it] uses [a minimal number of] components on the breadboard, I even had to rewrite the Arduino core for it!

Atmel: How do you think the Maker Movement and DIY culture make the world a better place?

Quin: The average child or adult will be much smarter! They will have even more access to the digital tools and DIY machinery necessary to build complex projects with ease. Every open source product made will enable an average citizen to learn more and become ore knowledgeable, whether it is building space engines, or making light-up cupcakes.

Improvising a logic analyzer with an ATtiny2313

Joonas Pihlajamaa wasn’t having much luck debugging his PS/2 keyboard interface. Wishing he had a dedicated logic analyzer, Joonas ultimately decided to combine an ATtiny2313, breadboard and FTDI for unlimited-length logic capturing with a PC.

As the HackADay crew notes, the ATtiny2313-based logic analyzer is capable of capturing at 50+ kHz, more than enough for a PS/2 port.

“The 2313 has eight input ports on one side of the chip, making attaching the right logic line to the right port a cinch. The highs and lows on each logic line are sent to a computer over the FTDI chip, converted into OLS format and piped into Open Sniffer to make some fancy graphs,” explained HackADay’s Brian Benchoff. “Joonas was able to capture PS/2 signals with his logic sniffer, so we’ll call this project a success.”

As previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, Atmel’s high-performance, low-power 8-bit AVR RISC-based ATtiny2313 microcontroller boasts 2KB ISP flash memory, 128B ISP EEPROM, 128B internal SRAM, universal serial interface (USI), full duplex UART and debugWIRE for on-chip debugging.

The ATtiny2313 also supports a throughput of 20 MIPS at 20 MHz, operating between 2.7-5.5 volts. By executing powerful instructions in a single clock cycle, the MCU achieves throughputs approaching 1 MIPS per MHz – neatly balancing power consumption and processing speed.

Interested in learning more about Atmel’s extensive lineup of versatile tinyAVRs? You can check out our complete device breakdown here.

Playing Tetris on a breadboard with Atmel

Jianan Li has designed a breadboard-based Tetris game built around two Atmel microcontrollers (MCUs). As the HackADay crew notes, Li’s breadboard Tetris creation is so impressive that it probably should be considered “wire artwork.” To be sure, the layout of the ‘board and circuits are as elegant as the carefully written code.

“There are two microcontrollers at work, each running the Arduino bootloader. The main chip is an [AtmelATmega328 which is responsible for monitoring the buttons and controlling game play,” writes HackADay’s Mike Szczys.

“The other is an [AtmelATtiny85. The 8 pin chip listens to it’s bigger brother, playing the theme song when the game starts, and pausing or resuming to match the user input.”

No matter which way you slice it, this is definitely one of the most stellar interpretations of Tetris we’ve seen over the years. As some of you may recall, Tetris is a modern digital classic originally designed and programmed by Alexey Pajitnov in the Soviet Union. The very first version of the game was released on June 6, 1984, while Pajitnov was working for the Dorodnicyn Computing Centre of the Academy of Science of the USSR in Moscow.

According to Wikipedia, the name “Tetris” was derived from the Greek numerical prefix tetra- (all of the game’s pieces contain four segments) and tennis, Pajitnov’s favorite sport.