Tag Archives: Electronica 2014

Video Diary: A look back at Electronica 2014

Electronica 2014 is officially in the books! Atmel was front and center in this year’s activities, as the week of November 11-14 was filled with numerous product releases, countless visitors, endless giveaways, and of course, more than 40 jam-packed application demos for the ever-growing Internet of Things.

Weren’t able to join us in Munich? Here’s a look back at how we’re inspiring next-gen M2M connections, smart homes, connected cars, Makerspaces, and more. Plenty of more videos to follow… stay tuned!


Eivind Berntsen shows off the recently-announced Atmel | SMART SAM L21.

Ramzi Al-Harayer demonstrates the WINC1500, an IEEE 802.11 b/g/n IoT network controller SoC.

Dr. Attila Römer exhibits some of the latest (and smartest) lighting solutions, including the Philips Hue LED colormix bulb, the Philips Lux dimmable bulb and the Philips Tap switch.


Highlighting the need for security in the connected world, Atmel’s resident security expert Kerry Maletsky shows off a three-light switch demo that communicates via ZigBee to a remote panel with 3 LEDs.

Dr. Peter Sauer highlights the SIGFOX network infrastructure and various Internet of Things applications.

Thomas Souche explores the mulit-touch capabilities of a maXTouch powered industrial control panel from Siemens.

Eirik Slettahjell showcases the SAM D20 QTouch Evaluation Kit, demonstrating best-in-class capacitive touch performance.

Alexander Kurz reveals how digital temperature sensors can be implemented to prevent overheating in your product.


Not only is our world becoming increasingly more connected, our cars are getting smarter as well. Rob Valiton explores the future of automobiles in the Internet of Things era.

A closer look at passive entry and passive start for automobiles through capacitive touch and proximity detection technology.

Rob Valiton takes us through a next-gen door handle application powered by our fourth generation LIN system.


Former AVR Hero winner Pamungkas Sumasta and Ralf Smit introduce their all-in-one, Arduino-compatible prototyping gadget — which is now live on Kickstarter.

Tired of always having to sort through Skittles to find your favorite color? This Maker-built, SAM D21 powered machine will take of that tedious task for you!

Paal Kastnes maneuvers a remote-controlled robot powered by the Atmel | SMART SAM D21. “Mr. Abot” is controlled through an Andriod app, while the communications are driven through our recently-announced new WINC1500 Wi-Fi solution.

Some of the news you may have missed…

Jacko Wilbrink shares an update on the Atmel | SMART SAMA5D4 and ARM Cortex-M7 based MCUs.

Low power gets three times lower with the Atmel | SMART SAM L21 ARM Cortex-M0+ MCU.


A new QTouch safety platform is introduced for home appliance user interfaces.


Your favorite 8-bit AVR MCU family gets even bigger.


The SAM W25 becomes the industry’s first FCC-certified Wi-Fi and MCU integrated module.


The new CAN transceiver lineup meets the growing demands of the auto and industrial markets.


The recently-unveiled LIN system basis chip portfolio enables a wide-range of in-vehicle applications.


Atmel’s AvantCar is a fully-functional concept to meet the growing demand for new features and technological upgrades in tomorrow’s vehicles.


IAR Systems supports Atmel’s complete MCU and MPU portfolio, expanding its IoT software and tools ecosystem.


The ATA8520 device becomes the first SIGFOX Ready-certified system-on-chip (SoC) solution.


And to wrap up the week in winning fashion, the Atmel based SatNOGS is crowned the Hackaday Prize champion!


Superman freefalls from space

It’s a bird… It’s a plane… It’s Superman! While we may have seen record-breaking freefalls from daredevils Felix Baumgartner and most recently, Alan Eustace, none may compare to the latest project from a group of RS DesignSpark engineers which was brought to our attention during Electronica 2014.


Earlier this summer, Mattel launched an Extreme Toys Travel Campaign that took their action figures to exotic and extreme locations all around the globe. Inspired by the latest attempts of falling from the edge of space, the toy company asked RS if they would be able to replicate these jumps with one of its new Superman action figures.

RS teamed up with Rlab, a peer run community hackspace, card modeller Jude Pullen, and high altitude balloonist Dave Akerman, to send Superman to space and back in a custom-built capsule. After a couple of planning sessions, the team comprised of Makers, hackers and engineers went right to work. In early September, the group then got together for a long weekend at RLab to bring it all together and prepare for launch.


The team attached the specially-designed capsule to a weather balloon filled with hydrogen gas, which transported the toy Superman approximately 24 miles into the sky to the edge of space. Once the optimal altitude was achieved, Superman “jumped” from the capsule, safely falling back down to Earth’s surface. During the flight, mission data, HD video and pictures were captured, while both Superman and the capsule itself were tracked throughout the flight using a low power radio link and GPS.

Prior to launch, the group designed a chassis in RS Components’ DesignSpark mechanical tool to house the electronics, which was then 3D-printed using a SAM3X8E Cortex-M3 powered RepRap Pro Ormerod.

photo 1

The capsule featured a Raspberry Pi to capture mission data, as well as a customized Atmel ATxmega128A4U based tracking unit to locate and retrieve Superman. In total, the team had utilized five trackers located on the heroic Superman and his accompanying capsule. Not only did the trackers send GPS positions in real-time, but took and transmitted snapshots back down to the land-dwellers as well.

photo 2

Additionally, the RS DesignSpark innovators selected radio modules (were on the 433 mhz band) and receivers tuned to the frequencies of the trackers on Superman and his capsule. Once the Mattel toy jumped out using a “low-tech ejection mechanism,” the team hopped into their cars and continued to follow along with its signal.


So did he make it? Yes, indeed! It took the embedded Superman just under an hour (50 minutes) to reach the ground — where it coincidentally landed at the end of Hope Lane. (For those who may not know, Superman’s “S” isn’t a letter, but rather the Kryptonian symbol for hope.)

Perhaps you have an extra action figure (or even a Barbie) lying around and interested in creating your own high-altitude tracker. If so, fly on over to RS DesignSpark’s step-by-step breakdown here.

Phoenard is the world’s first all-in-one prototyping gadget

As seen at the Atmel Maker Faire, Embedded World and most recently, 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.


As its creators note, the prototyping platform can be used as the ‘brain’ of any DIY Project. Unlike an Arduino, Phoenard encompasses several features built entirely into a single unit, which can also serve as your daily mobile device. Sure, you can buy a smartphone, but wouldn’t it be even more awesome to devise your own?


Aside from being 100% Arduino-compatible, the megaAVR powered device’s on-board course is a perfect choice for Makers looking to start their first creations. As the team shares, “[There’s] no need to have programming skills or have a computer with you, as the Phoenard itself can guide you.” This curriculum is a compilation of tutorials that provide step-by-step breakdowns on how to prototype and tinker around with electronics.  

With Phoenard, Makers will no longer need to abandon their prototyping tools either; instead, the gadget can become your day-to-day device to carry out tasks such as calling, texting and storing contacts, serving as an MP3 player, and controlling wearable devices. Whether you want to play multi-player games with friends via Bluetooth or make a mini drum kit using Bare Conductive’s Electric Paint, countless ideas that can now be brought to life with Phoenard.


“Well, asking what can you do with Phoenard is more [or] less the same as asking what can you do with computer or smartphone. The functionality of the devices are defined by the software running on top of it.

Designed for Makers of all levels, ranging from students and educators, Phoenard is essentially for “everyone who is passionate about making and/or for those who is looking for a great tools to get started in electronics and programming.”


To complement Phoenard’s mobility, portability and self-sufficiency, the team has also introduced the Phoenard Operating Environment, which will enable a user to store thousands upon thousands of Arduino sketches right on-board. “Similar to developing apps for your smartphone, but instead for your Arduino,” the team writes.

Recently, we had chance to experience the latest rendition of Phoenard first-hand inside of our Electronica booth. Not only does the bootloader sit on the AVR, each of the applications – ranging from a GSM phone to an MP3 player – live on a microSD card. As we learned, Makers can now mod, add and draw icons right on the handed gadget, while the SD card remains in the socket. This allows a user to share his or her sketches without the need for any additional cables or computers, as they can now be transferred wirelessly between two Bluetooth-enabled Phoenards.


The team notes that they are also in the process of developing a way to wireless programming a Phoenard from a computer. Pretty sweet, right?

Currently, the gadget is equipped with both external (‘Phoenex’) and on-board (‘Phoenon’) extensions. The Phoenex — which comes in three variations — can easily be connected to a project. Meanwhile, the Phoenon is capable of being affixed to the Phoenard and connected to the main board through the 12-pin FPC connector, thereby allowing Makers to add innovative features to the everyday gadget ranging from an IR thermometer and capacitive touch to Wi-Fi and NFC.

Plugging one of these modules into the back of the device can add those functionalities, while switching between projects is as easy as docking it onto one of the extensions and selecting the appropriate sketch. Each extension board can be dedicated for a specific project, so there is no need to struggle around the next time you want to run that project.”


So, what if you wanted to recreate the same functionality as Phoenard using Arduino? Sure, it’s possible. However, it will consist of an Arduino Mega, five Arduino shields, three modules, and will likely be five times the size and double the cost of the handheld gadget.


The team has already been the recipient of numerous honors, ranging from our recent AVR Hero Design Contest to Maker Faire Merit Awards in San Mateo and Rome. Add crowdfunding success to the list, too! Fresh off its Kickstarter debut, Phoenard well exceeded its original goal of €20,000, having garnered over €35,000. After being released during the Hackaday Prize Party in Munich, the team had attained its funding goal in just a matter of days.

Interested in learning more or ordering an all-in-one device? Head on over to its official Kickstarter page here. If all goes to plan, the initial batch of devices are expected to be shipped in March 2015.


Day 3: Atmel @ Electronica 2014

Just when we thought the first days of Electronica 2014 would be hard acts to follow, Day 3 surely didn’t disappoint.


Shortly after the doors of Europe’s largest electronic component show opened, we were treated to a special visit from the embedded community’s favorite superhero… AVR Man!




Headlining the day’s news was our recently extended partnership with IAR Systems. With over over 1,400 new example projects supporting our entire portfolio of world-class MCUs and MPUs, IAR Embedded Workbench will enable developers to bring their Atmel based designs to market faster.

As you can see in the pictures below, Atmel’s various technology areas attracted quite a bit of attention from attendees, particularly the SMART HOME ZONE. Booth-goers flocked a number of home automation demonstrations, including the Atmel | SMART SAMA5D4, as well as the newly-revealed SAM L21 and SmartConnect SAM W25.



One other smart application that spurred quite a lot of buzz was our Philips Hue demo encompassing an LED colormix bulb, a Philips Lux dimmable bulb and a Philips Tap switch, which showed visitors how to create their own personal wireless lighting environment with a simple tap of a switch or via their mobile device.


With three days in the books, we are eagerly anticipating student day which will certainly draw a number of young Makers to our incredibly popular MAKER ZONE. While we await tomorrow’s festivities, let’s take a look back at some snapshots from Day 3…

IMG_5323 IMG_5326 IMG_5329 IMG_5351 IMG_5355 IMG_5357 IMG_5360 IMG_5368 IMG_5376  IMG_5380 IMG_5388  IMG_5462 IMG_5418IMG_5486

1,400 new example projects in IAR Systems’ dev tool support entire Atmel MCU and MPU lineup

We have just announced the extension of our partnership with IAR Systems have to include over 1,400 new example projects in IAR Systems’ development tools to support Atmel’s entire portfolio of world-class MCUs and MPUs.


Designers using both Atmel AVR and Atmel | SMART family can now leverage IAR Embedded Workbench, the leading C/C++ compiler and debugger toolchain, with new example projects to bring their products faster to market. With all the information available to a developer at the start of a project, including over 1,400 new examples from the Atmel Software Framework (ASF) for reference designs across a broad range of applications and Atmel’s Xplained Pro family of evaluation boards, this significantly increases developers’ productivity.

ASF is a large library of free source code for Atmel | SMART ARM and highly-popular AVR devices. This framework minimizes much of the low-level configuration and design required for projects to get off the ground, by providing hardware abstraction with consistent APIs, as well as high-value middleware components designed for evaluation, prototyping, design, and production phases.


“We are committed to providing simple, yet sophisticated tools for our designers’ complex development,” said Steve Pancoast, Atmel Vice President of Development Software and Tools. “Since the introduction of our AVRs in the early 90s, IAR Systems has always been an important partner for us, providing world class tools to our most demanding users. The integration of our reference application examples into IAR Embedded Workbench will reduce overall time-to-market for developers, enabling them to bring products faster to market.”


“High-performance development tools are critical for success in today’s advanced embedded systems designs, specifically for the Internet of Things and connectivity markets,” added Stefan Skarin, IAR Systems CEO. “IAR Systems’ position is unique in that we are the only commercial vendor able to provide this, as well as our world class support, across Atmel’s entire range of microcontroller architectures.”

Day 2: Atmel @ Electronica 2014

Fresh on the heels of an eventful first day, today proved to be yet another successful one here in Munich. From the moment the doors opened, our booth experienced a shoulder-to-shoulder crowd of embedded designers, engineers and industry insiders all flocking around a number of super smart exhibits and uber-cool demos. Adding to the day’s excitement was the announcement of a pair of new solutions set to further enable the connected world of tomorrow.


CEO Steven Laub was on hand to browse our latest technologies — ranging from multi-touch industrial apps to passive car entry systems — as well as to mingle with booth-goers looking to create next-gen connected designs.

Steve copy

Meanwhile, we had the chance to get up close and personal with the recently-revealed Atmel | SMART SAM L21.


Following today’s news, Atmel Senior Application Engineer Dr. Peter Sauer provided a brief overview of how SIGFOX, a pioneer in cost-effective long range connectivity, is being used in the industrial setting.

Shortly thereafter, we were able to get a firsthand look at the brand new SmartConnect SAM W25 module, which is the industry’s first fully-integrated FCC-certified Wi-Fi module with a standalone MCU and hardware security from a single source.


Former AVR Hero and soon-to-be Kickstarter success Pamungkas Prawisuda Sumasta also gave us a quick glimpse into the latest rendition of his team’s pocket-sized prototyping gadget. The all-in-one Arduino-compatible device is set to kick off its crowdfunding campaign tomorrow!

Rounding out the day, we had the pleasure of catching up with Atmel resident security expert Kerry Malestky, who explored the topic of authentication. Further elaborating upon this key issue, Maletsky will be taking the center stage tomorrow at 2:00pm CET in Hall A6 / A6.353 to address the basics of hardened security in every designer’s IoT device.

Although Electronica 2014 may be halfway over, there’s certainly plenty more to go! Heading to Messe Münche later this week? Learn more about all the tech you can expect to see here. Meanwhile, stay tuned for more on Bits & Pieces for updates from the show floor, and be sure to follow along with all the real-time happenings on Twitter!


Day 1: Atmel @ Electronica 2014

Day 1 of Electronica 2014 in Munich, Germany has drawn to a successful close. Surely enough, it didn’t take long before the Atmel booth — located in Hall A5, #542 — was jam-packed, hosting countless engineers, designers, partners and industry insiders throughout an exciting nine hours.



While at the booth, visitors had the opportunity to check out a plethora of our recently launched products like the new megaAVR family, the super low power Atmel | SMART SAM L21, the QTouch Safety Platform and our fourth generation LIN device, as well as an extensive lineup of interactive demos ranging from CryptoAuthentication to the futuristic AvantCar center console concept.






In addition to an assortment of IoT solutions, Atmel’s AVR Hero Design Contest winner Pamungkas Sumasta was on hand showing off the latest rendition of the award-winning, all-in-one Phoenard platform — which is slated to hit Kickstarter later this week.


Heading to Messe Münche later this week? Learn more about all the tech you can expect to see here. Meanwhile, stay tuned for more on Bits & Pieces for updates from the show floor, and be sure to follow along with all the real-time happenings on Twitter!