Kickstarter first opened its virtual doors on April 28, 2009. Since then, the wildly-popular crowdfunding site has tracked just shy of $1.5 billion in pledges from 7.6 million individuals actively backing 75,800 creative projects.
Many have pondered as to whether the crowdfunding bubble would burst anytime soon, and as the burgeoning Maker Movement and Internet of Things have conveyed, the answer is ABSOLUTELY NOT! By 2025, the crowdfunding investment market is expected to near $100 billion.
Since its inception five years ago, more than $116 million has been raised for over 1,400 technology projects — a number of which have been hardware gadgets powered by Atmel | SMART and AVR microcontrollers. In fact, 217 projects were based and built around the fan favorite Arduino boards (and AVR) over the last 12 months. Specifically, 160-plus AVR based projects garnered $7 million in Kickstarter funding, of which nearly two-thirds were successful, including:
C Enterprise Ltd. (CEL) debuted its new desktop 3D printer and micro-manufacturing platform. Powered by an Atmel | SMART ARM-based MCU, the Robox was designed by its creators to “demystify” the 3D printing process.
The Reactor Core is a hardware programming platform for Arduino boards and stand-alone AVR-based MCUs. Designed by Frank Fox, the Reactor Core is powered by an ATmega328P and an FT232R for USB to serial communication.
Designed by Ben Escobedo, the open source ATtiny85 ISP! can probably best be described as a breakout prototyping board for Atmel’s ATtiny85/45/25 lineup.
OpenBCI – created by Joel Murphy and Conor Russomanno – is a low-cost programmable open-source EEG platform that gives Makers easy access to their brainwaves. Aside from its ADS1299 IC, the OpenBCI is equipped with an ATmega328 (+ Arduino’s latest bootloader). The Maker duo have have thoughtfully broken out all the Arduino pins, allowing Makers to blink lights or drive motors. In addition, version 3 of the OpenBCI board uses bluetooth low energy (BTLE) for data transmission and programming of the ATmega controller.
Mark Davidson has designed an ATmega328 based Arduino prototyping shield that can also be used as a stand-alone board for various DIY Maker projects. Dubbed the “White Bread Shield,” the platform is compatible with Arduino Uno boards.
The MicroSlice is a mini laser cutter and engraver, controlled by an ATmega328. The open source platform is being promoted as a kit that takes approximately 15 hours to build.
The ABXY – the brainchild of Kevin Houck – is an open source ATmega328 based rapid fire and macro platform for the Xbox 360.
The Smart Nixie Tube is an open-source platform, powered by the versatile ATmega328p MCU of course, that is ideal for any dorm room, bedroom or Makerspace.
UFactory – located in China’s Shenzhen – has debuted a 4-axis parallel-mechanism desktop robot arm. UArm, modeled after the ABB industrial PalletPack robot, is built around an ATmega328 which powers a custom board.
The platform is constructed with acrylic or wood parts and fitted with standard RC hobby servos.
Solid Art Labs has introduced the King’s Assembly – a unique device that packs a high-precision laser mouse, full mechanical keyboard and an analog joystick into a single platform. For its mapping and programmability, it’s no wonder the team selected the beefy AT90USB128 MCU.
The Robot Army crew unveiled a DIY Delta Robot kit, which of course was driven by an ATmega328 MCU, that caters to the rapidly growing Maker community. The kit includes all mechanical pieces in grey and neon yellow plastic (the yellow fluoresces under black light), spacers, brackets, ball bearings and hardware required for assembly. In addition, the kit is packed with electronic components, PCB and wire harnesses.
Game Frame – a grid of 256 ultra-bright LED pixels – was designed by Jeremy Williams to showcase pixel art and old school video games. As its creator notes, video game artists used to draw everything with a sheet of graph paper, a few colors and a couple of animation frames.
STEM Center USA revealed its ATmega328 embedded Pi-Bot, a hands-on robotic learning platform for both students and professional engineers.
OSCAR is a super high resolution 9.7″ screen with an ATmega32U4 powered adapter that allows users to easily link the display to their PC, Mac or Linux machine.
NightShade Electronics unveiled a rechargeable battery shield for Arduino Uno (ATmega328) and Leonardo (ATmega32U4) boards.
Rich Electronics developed the XPlorerBoard, a portable platform that allows Makers to easily plug in two Arduino Micro boards (ATmega32U4) and eliminate loose parts with integrated components.
Designed by the ST-Geotronics crew, the Open Enigma (M4) Project – powered by an Arduino Mega (ATmega1280) – first surfaced towards the end of 2013.
Skirmos is an open-source, versatile laser tag system that features an ATmega328P MCU, an Arduino bootloader, a color LCD screen (acts as a realtime HUD) and an infrared LED.
EasyPlug – designed by InXus Interactive – is a versatile sensor shield for Arduino boards, and enables Makers to connect a plethora of sensors to their board in just seconds.
Made of laser-cut leather, the Edge is a wearable light that snaps securely onto your clothing with the help of four strong neodymium magnets. You can wear it discreetly by day or brightly at night with your winter coat, cardigan, hood, scarf, handbag, collar, pocket, belt, or wherever you’d like a touch of light.
The Reflowster is an ATmega32U4 powered smart outlet designed to instantly turn your toaster oven into a reflow soldering station.
Primo is a playful physical programming interface that helps teach children programming logic without the need for literacy. Powered by an Arduino unit, the play-set uses shapes, colors and spacial awareness to instruct programming logic through a tactile learning experience.
MicroView is a chip-sized platform with a built-in OLED (64×48) display that allows Makers to see what their board is “thinking” without having to link with a PC.
The device, designed by the Geek Ammo crew, is built around the ATmega328P MCU.
Developed by the team at ZUta Labs, the Pocket Printer is an untethered device comparable in size to a CD case that features a set of omni wheels and a printer cartridge tethered to an 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 place it onto the the next blank sheet of paper.
Printoo is a printed electronics prototyping platform designed to help bring everyday objects to life. The core Printoo module is powered by an ATmega328, while additional hardware modules consist of a display driver, battery connector, batteries (soft and ultra-thin), battery holder, sensor module, solar cell connector, conductive ink adapter, DC motor drivers, electrochromic display, organic photodetector slider, polymer solar cell and LED strip.
Powered by the uber-mini ATtiny167 MCU, the new board is even easier to use than the original Digispark.
Mirobot – created by Ben Pirt – is an ATmega328 powered DIY WiFi robotic kit designed to help children learn about technology and programming.
Mr. Beam is an open source DIY laser cutter and engraver kit for paper, wood and plastic, whose key components include an Arduino Uno (ATmega328), custom shield and a Raspberry Pi.
BirdBrain Technologies (a Carnegie Mellon University spinoff) debuted the Hummingbird Duo, a robotics kit powered by an ATmega32U4 MCU.
Created by Chris Hakim, Lil’Bot is a low-cost, open-source balancing robot powered by an ATmega328 MCU.
The Papilio DUO is a board that allows Makers and developers to easily draw circuits, move pins, connect extra serial ports and even link a Bitcoin miner to the ATmega32U4.
Designed by Darkly Labs, the LazerBlade is an entry-level laser cutter and engraver kit targeted at Makers, artists and DIY hobbyists that is driven by an ATmega328 MCU.
Spark Concepts has debuted the CNC xPRO on Kickstarter, a versatile platform powered by an ATmega328.
The open source Ai.Frame is a miniature robot powered by an Arduino Mini (ATmega328) paired with infrared and ultrasonic sensors.
Designed by math teacher Dan Alich, the DuinoKit Essential Project (DEP) is a cost effective development system for aiding the learning of electronics and programming.
PopPet is as an “expandable, customizable and easy-to-assemble” robot kit powered by the an ATmega8 microcontroller.
M-One is described by the MakeX team as a “personal desktop factory” for Makers, designers, artists and engineers.
The innovators over at Femtoduino have developed an uber-tiny device for all of your emulation needs, the IMUduino BTLE. Powered by an ATmega32U4, the Arduino-compatible board comes in at just under 2.7 grams and is packed with USB keyboard and mouse emulation, Bluetooth LE (BLE), real-time orientation and motion sensing IMU, as well as 10V max voltage regulation.
Michael Tedeschi originally created the ChainDuino after realizing that he wished it were simpler to connect multiple Arduino Uno (ATmega328p) boards with readily available Cat5 cable.
In an effort bring homes to life, Homey converges all of the smart devices under one roof and allows homeowners talk to them. Homey can learn a homeowner’s habits and predict their next move to make their life more efficient.
The AmbiLED HD is the first high-resolution ambient light conversion kit for computer monitors. The wireless ambient light strip affixes directly to the back of your TV, thus allowing for your field of view to be flooded with visual stimulation.
Multi-Program Laser Trip Wire Set
Straight out of the ‘90s movie Entrapment, crowdfunding veteran Patrick Thomas Mitchell has created a system of laser trip wires designed to keep any area secure.
Driven by an ATmega32U4, CANBus Triple has been developed in hopes of providing an Arduino-style device for cars that can be used to bus data and add awesome functionality to your vehicle.
Pax Instruments T400
The Pax Instruments T400 is a simple, inexpensive and open-source temperature datalogger. Designed by Charles Edward Pax, the ATmega32U4 powered T400 is a first in a new class of affordable lab instruments.
Dr.Duino is a fully-equipped breakout board for testing all features of the Arduino platform. Created by Long Island-based Innovative Electronic Solutions LLC, the newly-launched device enables developers using the popular board to have a genuine fixture for testing their Atmel based designs. Think of it as a shield for your shields!
Maker Jack Eisenmann has developed a lightweight, single board computer that can connect to an SD card, a composite video monitor and a keyboard, and provide a low-level computer programming experience.
Garrett Mace of macetech LLC recently designed a pair of open-source, programmable stunna Matrix Shades.
With much of the tech community is abuzz about larger screen sizes, the TinyScreen is here to show customers just how adaptable a miniscule display can be in a world overrun by massive screens. Led by Maker Ken Burns, TinyCircuits successfully launched a campaign for its
Paying homage to Game Boy’s 25th birthday, the MicroDuino Studio team has now 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 will allow Makers to relive some of their greatest childhood memories of clicking away at those giant buttons on a vintage Nintendo handheld.
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. DrumPants, dubbed by its creators as “the world’s industrial quality wearable musical instrument,” transforms your outfit into a full ensemble with 100+ built-in high-quality sounds. Its control box — powered by an Atmel | SMART ARM Cortex-M3-based MCU — features an ultra-low latency Bluetooth 4.0 chip, a built-in sound engine for 1/8-inch headphone jack, 128 instrument sample banks and a Micro-USB for connection to a laptop or PC.
Developed by AeroSplice, the APOC Pro is an advanced open-source Gamma particle and X-ray radiation detector powered by an ATmega328 MCU.
Designed by Bar Smith and Tom Beckett, Makesmith uses off-the-shelf parts to put viable CNC technology into the hands of engineers, DIY hobbyists and Makers.
Designed by the SG-Tronic team, the Controllino is an open-source programmable logic controller (PLC) built around Atmel’s ATmega328 and ATmega2560 microcontrollers. The Arduino-compatible PLC allows Makers to produce and control their next Internet of Things project, ranging from industrial to home automation applications.
In an attempt to make sous vide cooking more accessible to the home chef, the team behind the Nomiku Immersion Circulator unveiled a new prototype that features Wi-Fi connectivity. Embedded with an ATtiny88 MCU, the Nomiku can receive inputs from the accompanying Tender smartphone application. Tender, available on the iOS and Android platforms, grants users the ability to share recipes throughout the sous vide cooking community. With a few clicks and the correct ingredients, a home chef could have a Top Chef winner’s recipe brewing on their stove in just a matter of minutes.
Developed by the team at Edge Tech Labs, DrinkMate is a lipstick-sized breathalyzer that plugs directly into your smartphone. Unlike others 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.
MangoCube is a pocket-sized, Arduino-compatible development board powered by an ATmega32u4 MCU. Created by London-based Maker Bhargav Mistry, MangoCube provides developers with an uber-mini, stackable header-friendly board that comes in three versions: MangoCube LEO, MangoCube BLE (Bluetooth 4.0) and MangoCube Wi-Fi. Additionally, it can be found in a selection of five vibrantly colored cases, each of which allow a Maker to express his or her personality.
Designed by the Assorted Wires crew, Lo-Fi SES is a hackable 8-bit chiptunes device generated quite a bit of buzz on Kickstarter. Based on an Atmel AVR MCU, the Lo-Fi SES replicates the shape of a good ol’ SNES controller, whose buttons are used to trigger samples, change tempo, as well as play, record and delete tracks. The controller, which is the heart of the Lo-Fi SES experience, comes equipped with a default playlist of onboard sounds including a lo-fi drum set. Bring back attack sounds from those childhood video games!
Powered by an ATmega32L, the MAID (Make All Incredible Dishes) Oven is an all-in-one device that can learn your eating habits, like daily caloric intake, and then suggest new recipes for you based on its pre-programmed optimization algorithms — which are driven by an ARM processor. The appliance functions as a microwave, convection oven and top-heater, meaning that it can whip up anything from a bag of popcorn or Eggo waffles to a birthday cake for a family celebration.
While there has been an influx of smart bulbs in recent years, none of them may be nearly as intelligent as one Cambridge-based startup’s new system, which has been designed to out-smart would-be intruders. As its creators note, the BeON Burglar Deterrent aspires to give off the impression of a lived-in home while you are away. Embedded with an Atmel | SMART SAM G ARM Cortex-M4 MCU, BeON’s sound processing engine can detect the tone of a doorbell and will immediately trigger the lights on in sequence to simulate your active presence, thereby increasing its level of ‘smartness.’ (Think of it as a professional grade Home Alone contraption.) Aside from the ATSAMG53 based sound algorithm, each BeON bulb boasts a backup rechargeable battery, ensuring its burglar prevention powers work even without power.
As seen at the Atmel Maker Faire, Embedded World and Electronica booths, former AVR Hero Pamungkas Prawisuda Sumasta, Ralf Smit and their team have successfully completed a Kickstarter campaign for their all-in-one Arduino-compatible prototyping gadget, Phoenard. While its form-factor is rather convenient, its hackability and wide-range of applications is where the 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.
Designed by the team at Maniacal Labs, AllPixel is a USB interface capable of controlling up to 680 pixels on any popular LED strip equipped with a USB port. Based on an ATmega32U4, the small, open-source board measures just 2.7″ x 0.9,” as well as provides easy USB control of all major programmable LED strips. It is compatible with Linux, Mac and Windows platforms, and can run on any device that supports Python, including Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone Black, or pretty much any desktop/laptop.
Arki is a stylish wearable band that not only tracks a wearer’s daily activities, but seeks to improve posture along the way. In short, the device analyzes your steps, then vibrates if and when you aren’t standing tall. The brainchild of Los Angeles and Seoul-based startup Zikto, the latest tech to adorn our wrists is powered by an Atmel | SMART SAM4LS ARM Cortex-M4 microcontroller. The gadget offers all the classic activity tracker functions, however in a rather attractive and fashionable package. A popular complaint around fitness trackers is that they are bulky and not practical to wear in professional settings. However, the newly-unveiled device caters to everyone, from activity seekers to fashionistas, with its waterproof casing and interchangeable straps to match any ensemble.
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 device is powered by an ATmega32U4 and based on the Arduino Leonardo bootloader.
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. Powered by an Atmel AT90USB1286, the mobile device 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 RepRap-based printer, which features a build envelope of 200 x 200 x 180mm, is equipped with an easy-to-use LCD screen, an SD card slot, an extrusion nozzle measuring 0.4mm in diameter, as well as an integrated aluminum frame. Based on an ATmega1284P MCU, the SmartBox team claims to be the lowest-cost FFF 3D printer with a large building space and an LCD screen convenient battery. In addition, the machine’s convenient battery was designed to eradicate any possibility of the printer shutting down during a power outage, meaning no more fretting over losing that project after countless hours of hard work!
Developed by Benjamin Gray and Jack Howard, MeArm aims to bring a simple robotic arm well within the reach (and budget) of everyday educators, students, young Makers and parents alike. Powered by an Arduino Leonardo (or Uno), the MeArm is essentially a shrunken-down version of an ordinary industrial robot arm. Meanwhile, its MeBrain platform is based on an ATmega32U4 MCU — which is the same chip used in the Leonardo — the MeBrain’s two joysticks are responsible for commanding the MeArm. By simply plugging the robot arm into the board and the board into a power supply, Makers can control the robotic contraption as well as a few movements to play back.
Created by Maker Mohsin Farooq, SuperDuino is a coin cell operated, Arduino-compatible board with a built-in 1.7-inch color display and a three-axis accelerometer. Designed for experienced engineers, hobbyists and students alike, the ATmega328 based SuperDuino comes with a series of tutorials which can be used to create anything from a temperature or humidity controller, to a capacitance or frequency meter, to a smartwatch, to a talking clock, to a digital logical analyzer, to even a game controller for Flappy Bird or Bricks Breaker.
What better way to ring in the holidays than by transforming your living room into a dance party? With the L3D Cube, now you can. Developed by the Looking Glass Factory crew, the 3D fixture is a true DIY kit allowing Makers to create their own “volumetric” display in just 30 minutes. After constructing the easy-to-assemble box, users can download a number of visualization apps to it or program it themselves using either Arduino or Processing language.