Tag Archives: Dr Reza Kazerounian

Moving beyond the wearable future hype

On March 8th, the Chinese American Semiconductor Professionals Association (CASPA) held a symposium titled “The Wearable Future: Moving Beyond the Hype; the Search for the Holy Grail and Practical Use Cases.”

As SemiWiki’s Daniel Nenni notes in a recent blog post, the symposium, hosted at the Intel HQ Auditorium in Santa Clara, was standing room only. Dr. Reza Kazerounian, SVP & GM, Microcontroller Business Unit of Atmel, delivered a keynote speech at the event. 

According to Dr. Kazerounian, the Internet of Things (IoT) is opening up fresh horizons for a new generation of intelligent systems that leverage contextual computing and sensing platforms, effectively creating new markets.

“One of these platforms is the wearable category of devices, where the combination of sensors using low-power sensor fusion platforms, and short-range wireless connectivity, are giving rise to a variety of exciting end markets. From self-quantification to a variety of location-based applications, to remote health monitoring, wearables are becoming the harbinger for a whole host of services,” he explained.

“With the right set of biometric sensors combined with local fast data analytics, wearables have the potential to revolutionize the health care industry. These devices can provide real-time data and contextual information along with all the health care requirements, improving the quality of care and lowering the overall cost of care.”

Indeed, as we’ve previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, sports and healthcare functionality currently dominates shipments and is expected to drive future wearable device adoption. 

According to analysts at ABI Research, the most popular device functionality is heart rate monitoring – with close to 12 million devices shipped in 2013. These single function devices are designed to communicate with nearby hubs such as smartphones or activity sports watches. 
Pedometers and activity trackers were the next two most popular devices, accounting for around 16 million devices combined in 2013.

“The market for wearable computing devices is driven by a growing range of wireless connected wearable sports, fitness and wellbeing devices,” confirmed Jonathan Collins, principal analyst at ABI Research.

“Heart rate and activity monitors will outpace shipments of smart watches and glasses for some years to come, and they will provide the essential foundation for the development of the broader wearable market.”

Collins also noted that wearable devices will increasingly move into healthcare services over the next five years.

“Sports, fitness and wellness devices will increasingly be augmented by connectivity to the emerging number of smart watches and glasses devices that become available over the next five years,” he said. “Likewise, general use wearable devices will increasingly support aspects of health monitoring. The interplay between health monitoring and wearable devices will be crucial in the development of both these markets.”

Canalys analyst Daniel Matte expressed similar sentiments about a related space in late 2013 when he confirmed that wearable bands represented a massive opportunity in the medical and wellness segment.

“The wearable band market is really about the consumerization of health… There will be exciting innovations that disrupt the medical industry this year. With the increased awareness about personal well-being they will bring to users, having a computer on your wrist will become increasingly common,” he added.

Atmel panel takes center stage @ 2013 World Maker Faire

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently declared “Maker Week” in honor of the 2013 World Maker Faire which opens its doors on Saturday, September 21st in the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI).

“As the old song goes, if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere,” Bloomberg wrote in an official proclamation. “I join you in applauding the all the Makers who continue to tinker, take risks, try new things and introduce their ideas first to New York City and then the world.”

Earlier today, Atmel kicked off the 2013 World Maker Faire with an analyst panel moderated by Windell Oskay, the co-founder of Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories. Participants included Arduino co-founder Massimo Banzi; Dr. Reza Kazerounian, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Atmel’s Microcontroller Business Unit; Suzanne Deffree of EDN; Brian Jepson, an editor with Maker Media (publisher of MAKE Magazine); Annmarie P. Thomas, an associate professor at the University of St. Thomas; Bob Martin from Atmel’s MCU applications team and Quin Etnyre, a 12-year-old Maker who loves to teach Arduino classes.

“The Maker Movement is changing the way people teach, learn and think. It allows you to have access to certain tech at a lower price,” Massimo told panel attendees.


“[Remember], many closed source [hardware devices] aren’t as reliable and easy as the [Atmel-powered] Arduino. The value of open source is that you can really look at code, build upon what others have done. We don’t think the Maker Movement is about the future, it’s about the present.”

Indeed, as Atmel’s Reza Kazerounian noted, bringing businesses closer to the open source community will help empower both Makers and the industry.

“The open source community could be the start of the next big commercial engineering project,” he added.

Meanwhile, Annmarie P. Thomas said she had observed that Makers often spend time creating things they are passionate about.

“The Maker Movement redefines the classroom, it makes us want to celebrate curiosity and inventiveness, returning us to a time where people still understand how things work even if they aren’t engineers. Obviously, the Maker Movement isn’t really new, and the cool thing about design and making, there’s no right answer. It’s [definitely difficult] to engineer something without being a Maker first,” she explained.

“One of the really exciting things about the MakerMovement is that it’s more about the making, less about the tools. Whatever you can obtain, you start with. The Maker Movement is about lowering cost of hardware, yes, but even more about the community pitching in. [Plus], more schools are now adopting Arduino and many university programs want to see students come in with a portfolio.”

Atmel’s Bob Martin expressed similar sentiments.

“The Maker Movement makes learning more fun, exciting and practical, allowing brilliant individuals such as Quin Etnyre to move forward and succeed. Personally, I’m trying to encourage my daughters to take their toys apart and build things. I was always a big fan of LEGO, which is probably why I’m a Maker.”

Suzanne Deffree concurred. “If we can inspire people to tinkering a bit with kids, they may go on to college to become an analog engineer,” she opined. “What we need to do is show that Paris Hilton isn’t cool. Then we’ll start seeing Makers as the really cool people.”

Quin, the 12-year-old Maker who loves to tinker with Arduino boards, said he thinks there should be more funding for Makers within the context of elementary, high school and universities, as the Movement can help teach real world job skills.

“Over past three years, the Maker Movement has started creating more Kickstarter businesses. I personally started with soldering kits from MAKE… It’s really good to take a kit, play with it, then later on dissect it and look at each individual part,” he concluded.

That’s it for the panel, but you can come visit us at the Atmel booth in the Arduino pavilion. Don’t worry if you can’t make it to out to the Big Apple, because you can still follow all the goings on via Twitter – just look for the hashtags @makerfaire, @atmel and @arduino.

For those of you attending the Faire, Atmel will be showcasing a number of uber-cool exhibits and demos including:

  • Hexbug/hovercraft hacking: Watch Atmel employees hack traditional Hexbugs and hovercrafts using Arduino boards.
  • MakerBot: We’ll be showing off the wildly popular AVR-powered 3D printer and providing 3D samples over the weekend.
  • Pensa: This company uses Arduino boards to make their flagship DIWire, a rapid prototyping machine that bends metal wire to produce 2D and 3D shapes.
  • Infinity Aerospace: The ArduLab – powered by Atmel’s versatile ATMega 2560 microcontroller – is a highly capable experimentation platform ready for space right out of the box. Sensor mounting is straightforward, with unique functionality addressing the technical challenges of operating in space.

Additional exhibitors at the Atmel World Maker Faire booth include Fuzzbot (robots), Evil Mad Scientist and Colorado Micro Devices. We’re looking forward to seeing you at the Atmel booth, so don’t forget to follow us at @makerfaire, @atmel and @arduino!  Also, be sure to join us when Bob Martin presents Prototyping is as Easy as Uno, Due, Tres. As previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, the Ardruino Uno is an excellent lab tool for technicians and h/w engineers who have a specific design in mind. Martin’s presentation will demonstrate how Atmel’s MCU apps lab uses the Uno to test harnesses for LED lighting stress testing, SBC reset response and power supply stress testing on a regular basis for the weather station prototype.

When: Sunday, September 22, 2013, 12:30PM – 1:00PM ET
Where: Make: Electronics Stage

Reza Kazerounian talks MCUs, China and the IoT

Dr. Reza Kazerounian, SVP and GM of Atmel’s Microcontroller Business Unit, recently sat down with Yorbe Zhang of EE Times-China to discuss the company’s activities in Asia, with a specific emphasis on the Internet of Things (IoT).

Essentially, the Internet of Things (IoT) refers to a future world where all types of electronic devices link to each other via the Internet. Today, it’s estimated that there are nearly 10 billion devices in the world connected to the Internet, a figure expected to triple to nearly 30 billion by 2020.

As we’ve previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, the IoT may very well represent the greatest potential growth market for semiconductors over the next several years. Indeed, consumers want WiFi capability along with very low power consumption, as most connected mobile devices these days run off batteries. Atmel is certainly well positioned for the IoT, as our portfolio includes ultra-low power WiFi capability and an extensive lineup of microcontrollers (MCUs).

The full video of Dr. Kazerounian’s interview with EE Times-China can be viewed here. Please note that although Yorbe Zhang provides opening and closing remarks in Mandarin, the exchange between Zhang and Dr. Kazerounian is in English.