Tag Archives: Eric Weddington

Atmel @ 2013 World Maker Faire: Day 2

On day one of the 2013 World Maker Faire in NYC, Atmel showcased a number of uber-cool exhibits and demos, including Hexbugs, the wildly popular Makerbot 2 3D printer, Pensa, ArduLab and Fuzzbots.

Atmel’s booth in the Arduino pavilion continued to draw large crowds on day two of the Faire, with 12-year-old Maker and CEO Quin Etnyre proudly showing off the Educator’s Choice award and open source maven Eric Weddington displaying his Editor’s Award for a slick bunny suit demo of how Atmel AVR MCUs are made, from start to finish.

Meanwhile, Andreas Eieland (aka Atmel’s “MCU Guy”) talked a little SAM4N with attendees, while Atmel’s Bob Martin offered up some more Hexbug hacking to eager booth visitors.

Martin later took a break from the Atmel booth to give an electronics presentation titled “Prototyping is as Easy as Uno, Due, Tres.”

Although the 2013 World Maker Faire may be drawing to a close, Atmel continues to challenge Makers, designers and engineers to develop new AVR-powered gadgets and gizmos with commercial potential.

So do you think you have what it takes to be a Master Maker?

If you do, be sure to check out Atmel’s ongoing AVR Hero Maker Faire Contest. We’ll feature the projects and the people will vote, with the Master Maker receiving a $1,000 cash prize, one-year discount on Atmel products, four tickets to upcoming (local) Maker Faires and some cool Atmel swag!

Powering the democratization of engineering

Eric Weddington, open-source community manager at Atmel, recently told EDN there has been a significant increase in the number of companies using Atmel-powered Arduinos and open-source hardware for prototyping as well as product development.

“Democratization of engineering: We’re already seeing that happen. Arduino has made it so easy to get involved in a complex subject, embedded engineering, which in the past has been the purview of engineers who have a wide range of skills, both hardware and software, in dealing with conflicting restraints and requirements, especially in deeply embedded systems,” Weddington explained.

“It has been a kind of very exclusive party of people who can work in embedded systems. But with open-source hardware and Arduino, and open-source software, it has become so easy to use that all of these people who have never had a chance to do [embedded engineering] before can be brought in. It opens up a lot of creativity. People come up with all sorts of uses for the Arduino.”

According to Weddington, the democratization of engineering substantially expands the pool of creative and marketable ideas. However, he also emphasized one needed to distinguish between the types of ideas that can be brought to market without formal engineering and those which require a more professional background.

“Blinking a light is always mentioned in embedded systems as the ‘hello world’ application. It’s easy to do something like that. But you really need the professional engineering background if you are going to develop something like a medical device or avionics on a plane. [Still], I don’t see the democratization of hardware taking away from the traditional professional engineering group at all; I just see it as adding to it,” he added.

“Power to the people: the democratization of engineering,” by Suzanne Deffree can be read in its entirety here on EDN.