Tag Archives: hexbugs

Preview: World Maker Faire New York 2014

Are you excited? We sure are! Atmel is getting ready to take center stage at the 5th Annual World Maker Faire 2014 in New York City on September 20th and 21st. Undoubtedly, this year will be amazing as an expected 750+ Makers and 85,000+ attendees head to the New York Hall of Science to see the latest DIY gizmos and gadgets. Once again a Silversmith Sponsor of the event, Atmel will put the spotlight on everything from Arduino to Arduino-related projects.

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Our team is en route to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, where you will soon find us setting up booth #EP24. (Program guide available here.) During this weekend’s show, we will be showcasing a wide range of projects, platforms and devices from the Makers and companies inspiring today’s DIY Movement.

Even better, you don’t need to wait until Saturday for the making to begin! On the evening of Friday, September 19th, Atmel and Arduino will be hosting a Maker Meet & Greet at the New York Hall of Science. Starting at 6:30pm, join the one-and-only Massimo Banzi and Atmel’s Reza Kazerounian for live demos, Q&A with guests, a paella dinner and… wait for it…. a special announcement! Space is limited and RSVP is required. Those interested may send a request to pr@atmel.com.

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So, what else will you find in booth #EP24?

Bob Martin, also known as Atmel’s Wizard of Make and Warp Drive Propulsion Engineer, will be demonstrating uToT Robots and hacking Hexbugs.

Dan Ujvari, Atmel’s MakerBot Magician and Senior FAE, will be showcasing some of his latest creations from a MakerBot desktop 3D printer.

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Arduino will be highlighting some of its latest boards, as well as exploring basic principles of electronics and programming. Booth visitors will have the chance to experience firsthand how easy it is to make LEDs blink, turn motors and make buzzers buzz.

Quin Etnyre, 13-year-old CEO of QTechknow, will be hosting his robotics challenge, “The Qtechknow Olympics.”

SparkFun will be joining us in our booth to run a number of soldering workshops, where participants will have the chance to solder new PTH SparkFun interactive badges! Once soldered, these badges will become a trivia game. The participant can put the badges into three small interactive stations which have electronics-based trivia questions on them. If the questions are answered correctly, the stations add points to the badges. Each point adds a new color to the LED on the top of the badge. Points add up to discounts at SparkFun.com!

littleBitswho just announced the launch of the “app store” for hardware store bitLab, will show off a number of their latest electronic building blocks — perfect for young Makers and those looking to hop onboard the DIY train.

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AVR Manthe Maker community’s favorite superhero will be in attendance for the first time EVER!

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Look who’s talking! Don’t miss Saturday’s Curiosity, Imagination and Motivation: The Natural Inclinations of Young Makers panel discussion on the MAKE: Live Stage at 5:30pm. Atmel’s Bob Martin and Daniel Ujvari will explore the how the STEM initiative and Maker Movement are influencing young Makers and helping to create tomorrow’s industry innovators. The panel will feature Arduino’s Massimo Banzi, Qtechknow’s Quin Etnyre, and littleBits’ Ayah Bdeir.

… and wait, there’s more! We’ll be giving away a number of Atmel Xplained Mini Pro Evaluation Kits all weekend.

Here’s how it works:

Step 1: Tweet a pic of you and @TheAVRMan using the hashtag #AtmelMakes.
Step 2: Once your tweet is favorited by AVR Man, come on by the Atmel booth.
Step 3: Submit your contact information and away you go with a free kit. (While supplies last.)

Aside from kits, you can walk away with an Atmel Maker Bag, flair, stickers or even a pair of Atmel Maker Converse (which are amazing… and available for purchase).

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World Maker Faire will kick off at the New York Hall of Science on Saturday, September 20th, from 10am to 7pm and Sunday, September 21st, from 10am to 6pm. Can’t make it to the Faire? You can always follow @Atmel live on Twitter for the latest updates, trends and happenings from the show. Tweet #AtmelMakes!

A braille printer, a retro robot, a marshmallow canon, or perhaps even a prototype of the next big IoT device? If you’re feeling inspired this weekend go and make something, don’t forget to submit your 8-bit idea for a chance to win $1,500 in cash, social stardom and of course, some Atmel swag.

In anticipation of this weekend, here’s a look back at last year’s Faire. We can’t wait to see what unfolds this year!

Take over the world with this $500 mind-controlled robot

Have you ever thought of controlling your own legion of robots with nothing but your mind? Chip Audette has made that fantasy a reality.

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Using OpenBCI, a low-cost programmable open-source EEG platform that gives Makers easy access to their brainwaves, Audette has been able to use just his mind to control a Hexbug Spider.

When he closes his eyes, the robot moves forward; when he focuses on specific flashing images, the robot to turn left or right. Generally, there are two images on a computer screen, each flashing at a different frequency. As the Maker stares at one image, the brainwave reader can assess how quickly the image is flashing and therefore determine which direction to turn.

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As with many prototypical designs, there are some glitches, but the fact that Audette has created any sort of functionality for this low cost is impressive. The Maker used OpenBCI’s EEG electrodes and custom brain-signal-processing board, all connected to an Arduino Uno (ATmega328), which serves as the interface between the Hexbug and his computer.

“The PC processes the EEG data looking for the Alpha waves or the visually-entrained waves. If any are detected, it decides what commands to give the robot. The commands are conveyed back to the Arduino, which then drives the remote control, which the Hexbug receives over its usual IR link,” Audette noted in his blog.

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Though the current system is limited by the simplicity of its technology, the Maker says, “Ideally, I’d just think the word ‘Fire!’ and the robot would respond. Unfortunately, those kinds of brain waves are too hard to detect.”

As Wired’s Robert McMillan writes, scientific-grade electroencephalography (EEG) monitors can cost thousands of dollars, but thanks to devices such as the Emotiv, there’s been a mini-boom in low cost brain-hacking gear. OpenBCI wants to be the open-source player in this space. Their kit comes with its own mini-computer and sensors that you jack into a black helmet-like device, called “Spider Claw 3000,” that you make on a 3D printer.

“What we really want to do is just provide the hardware to let people being learning,” explains Conor Russomanno, one of OpenBCI’s creators.

Brain-computer interfacing remains a relatively new field of science that offers a wide range of potential uses. For instance, medical grade BCIs are often used to help individuals with damaged cognitive or sensory-motor functions, while more affordable BCIs are being designed to address various neurotherapy applications.

Though these accessible technologies like OpenBCI are more focused upon education, rather than world domination, there is no telling what the future holds!

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!

Prototyping is as easy as Uno, Due, Tres

The long-awaited 2013 World Maker Faire kicks off on September 21st in the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI). We’ll be there in the Arduino pavilion, showcasing a number of innovative devices powered by Atmel-based Arduino boards.

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Atmel’s Bob Martin will also be taking center stage at the show with a presentation titled “Prototyping is as Easy as Uno, Due, Tres.” According to Martin, the Ardruino Uno is an excellent lab tool for technicians and hardware engineers who have a specific design in mind.

During the presentation, Atmel will demonstrate how our MCU apps lab uses the Uno to test harnesses for LED lighting, SBC reset response and power supply stress-testing for a weather station prototype. So be sure to stop by and see Atmel’s Arduino prototyping demo on Sunday, September 22, 2013, 12:30PM – 1:00PM ET at the electronics stage.

We’ll also be hosting a public media/industry analyst panel on Friday, September 20th, on the Maker Community and education. Members of the panel include Atmel’s Reza Kazerounian, co-founder of Arduino Massimo Banzi, Atmel Maker and Hexbug guru Bob Martin, university engineer professor Annmarie Thomas, EDN’s Executive Editor Suzanne Deffree, 12-year old CEO and maker Quin (Qtechknow), and MAKE Books Senior Editor Brian Jepson. The panel will be moderated by Windell H. Oskay of Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories.

Tune into our live Twitter feed of the panel starting at 11:30 am ET on September 20th under #Atmelmakes or visit our recently launched microsite for more details. Interested in attending Atmel’s panel? Be sure to email us at pr@atmel.com. For those of you who plan on visiting the Faire, Atmel’s booth is 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 showcasing 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, so don’t forget to follow us at @makerfaire, @atmel and @arduino!

Atmel to host analyst panel @ World Maker Faire

The 2013 World Maker Faire opens its doors on September 21st in the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI). We’ll be there at the Atmel booth in the Arduino pavilion, showcasing a number of exciting new companies that have developed innovative applications using Arduino boards powered by Atmel AVR and ARM microcontrollers.

Atmel is slated to host a public media/industry analyst panel on Friday, September 20th, on the Maker Community and education. Members of the panel include Atmel’s Reza Kazerounian, co-founder of Arduino Massimo Banzi, Atmel Maker and Hexbug guru Bob Martin, university engineer professor Annmarie Thomas, EDN’s Executive Editor Suzanne Deffree, 12-year old CEO and maker Quin (Qtechknow), and MAKE Books Senior Editor Brian Jepson. The panel will be moderated by Windell H. Oskay of Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories.

Tune into our live Twitter feed of the panel starting at 11:30 am ET on September 20th under #Atmelmakes or visit our recently launched microsite for more details. For those of you attending the Faire, Atmel’s booth will be taking center stage at the show with 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 showcasing 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!

Interested in attending Atmel’s panel? Be sure to email us at pr@atmel.com. Also, be sure to join us when Bob Martin presents Prototyping is as Easy as Uno, Due, Tres.

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The Ardruino Uno is an excellent lab tool for technicians and h/w engineers who have a specific design in mind. In this presentation, we will show 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

Getting back to basics with Atmel and the Maker movement

Upgrading or building a PC from scratch was certainly an adventure before the days of plug and play. Now I’m not saying you needed a soldering gun to upgrade your video card, although I did know plenty of people who would break one out at the drop of a hat (or screw), even if it wasn’t strictly necessary.

Still, there was plenty of blood, sweat, and yes, sometimes even tears if you wanted to install a new hard drive (go MFM!), memory, and in later years, a sound card paired with a 2x CD-ROM. Manually setting DMAs and IRQs was routine, and the same could be said for endlessly tweaking other BIOS settings. Make no mistake, building or upgrading a PC back in those days was somewhat time consuming, taking hours and sometimes days, especially if the new hardware was faulty or didn’t play nice with your older (or legacy) components.

Fast forward to 2013. I’m writing this article on a laptop which took all of 5 minutes to configure. Am I nostalgic for the old days? Why yes, yes, I am. And I say this without any hesitation whatsoever, even though there were many days when I pulled my hair out back in the 90’s because I couldn’t get the darn PC to work right.

I was just a young kid then, wanting to play the latest titles like Sim City, Monkey Island and Starflight II, so any delay in getting things up and running meant less gaming time, something I was desperate to avoid, even though I was playing on a massive VGA monitor that probably consumed as much power as the WOPR.

Despite all the rather obvious shortcomings of a time before plug and play, I really enjoyed building something from scratch, as well as working with both hardware and software on a more visceral level. Sound familiar? Well, it should, because that is exactly what today’s growing Maker Movement is all about – getting back to basics with electronic DIY components like Arduino boards which are powered by Atmel microcontrollers.

While it is practically impossible to list all the devices showcased at the recent Bay Area Maker Faire with Atmel silicon under the hood, a quick glance at the exhibitor list reveals a plethora of projects powered by our microcontrollers, including drones, electric vehicles, numerous robots and even mini space satellites.

On display at the Atmel booth was the Maker Bot 3D printer, the Puzzlebox Orbit, Marshmallow Crossbow, Hexbugs and Faraday bike – all fitted with Atmel MCUs. There are also a number of noteworthy Atmel-based hacks and mods we’ve highlighted on both the hardware and software side in recent weeks on Bits and Pieces, including the ShuttAVR, KLBasic, running a GUI window manager on the ATMega1284p microcontroller, the Uzebox and lots more.

So yes, I think it is pretty safe to say that the DIY Maker movement has come full circle in recent years and shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon – as technology becomes more and more accessible for the masses. We at Atmel are proud to be at the forefront of such a democratizing movement that will undoubtedly help shape the next generation of engineers, hackers, modders and do-it-yourselfers.

Atmel lets its Geek flag fly!

May 25th is almost upon us, and as all of us Atmelians know, that means Geek Pride Day!

To celebrate this glorious occasion, we’ve created a rather nifty infographic, charting the etymology of the word “geek” and some of the geekiest twists and turns in the history of the Internet of Things (IoT). Because, let’s face it, there’s nothing more geeky than a thing that’s connected to the internet. Especially if that thing is a toaster.

So, check it out! And if you like it, please feel free to post it, or send your geek love out to the universe with the hashtag #AtmelGeekPride. Because no one <3’s geeks the way we do!

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