Tag Archives: Industrial Automation

Video: The Gingerbread Arduino

Gingerbread_Arduino

My pal Andreas over in the microcontroller business group sent me this great video showing the kind of fun non-technical folks can have with Arduino.

He writes:

My cousin who is a math/physics geek wanted to learn embedded  programming and decided to make an fancy gingerbread santa for Christmas using an Arduino. Turns out not only kids but also grownups play with Arduino. ☺

OK, so a math physics guy is not exactly non-technical, but it is safe to say he is not an engineer. That is the great thing about Arduino, it can get you started with some results the same day you start to play with it.

A Tesla hacked into a Vanagon

My buddy Otmar Ebenhoech is hacking a wrecked Tesla chassis underneath a VW Vanagon van. And not just any Vanagon, he is doing it to a stretched Vanagon that has two side doors.

Otmar_Ebenhoech_Vanagon

Otmar Ebenhoech stretched this Vanagon years ago. When the engine blew out he decided to hack a wrecked Tesla S into the undercarriage.

I met Otmar when he lived in Silicon Valley. I was converting a 1975 Honda Civic to all-electric, and he was the go-to guy for help and advice. He sold his house during the housing craze, and went up and bought a house and a shop up in Corvalis Oregon. If anyone has the can-do spirit to pull this off, it is Otmar. He is the designer of the Zilla dc motor controller used in the White Zombie electric drag car.

Here is a video from the project blog:

Hopefully Burning Man and all Otmar’s other projects won’t keep him from this great adventure. I saw he paid about $38k for the Tesla so its not something you want to just let sit. When I watched the video  above I wrote Otmar and asked if that hoist was his personal shop. He replied:

“Yes, that’s the Garage Mahal you see in the background. I spoiled myself by moving to Oregon where I can afford a shop, and seemingly to buy a wrecked model S though I’m still in a bit of shock over that!”

Arc explosions illustrate the dangers of electricity

I wrote a blog post a while back about the difficulty or having cars with 42V instead of 12V batteries. I also pointed out the difficulties of distributing dc inside your house and to your house. It got picked up by EDN, and the comments were interesting. Someone challenged my assertion that 24V relays switches are less reliable. Sorry, I worked for GMC Truck and Coach as an auto engineer in the electrical group. Heck, just read any switch or relay datasheet and you can see you have to de-rate for dc and de-rate even more for higher-voltage dc. Someone pointed out the phone company uses 48V dc, and I had to explain that the 48V the POTS (plain-old telephone system) sends to your house is also high impedance, 600 ohms, so that make is much less arc-prone and easier to switch.

Arc-flash-person

Others challenged my observation that it is hard to distribute dc in your house due to the fire hazard from the arcs and the same problems with switches and relays. Well, even ac has arcs that are hard to quench. Bigger dc circuit breakers have magnets in them to pull the arc one side and make it longer so it can break. Really big breakers, both ac and dc, have compressed air that blows the arc out just like your kid with a birthday candle.

Arc-flash-box-person

So here is a nice video of an ac arc flash that should give you some idea of the difficulty of quenching an arc. Palo Verde had a horrible arc flash in 2008 that thankfully had no injuries. And here is a training video of an arc flash form the fine folks at e-Hazard.com

Here is another training video from Westex flameproof clothing:

And if you wondered if there was any glory left in the American worker, check out this high-voltage lineman working from a helicopter.

So that’s the trouble with dc. Since the voltage is not going through zero 120 times a second it is much harder to quench the arc. The operative word is “plasma”. That is what Fran Hoffart from Linear Tech taught me about li-ion batteries. He said that the burning lithium is certainly a problem. But the real mess is that a plasma ball forms, and that shorts out any other battery cells in the vicinity. An arc is plasma, and that is some nasty stuff. I mentioned to Fran that the iron phosphate chemistry lithium cells are supposed to be burn-proof. Fran looked at me with an expression that said “you can’t be that stupid” and replied “they all burn”. It is remarkable the difference you hear when talking to people who are making and selling the battery cells versus the people like Fran, that are making the chips to reliably charge the cells.

Arc-Flash-outside

I guess that is why that outlaw biker told me that the only thing that he was really scared of was electricity. I asked why and he said “Because it can kill you and you can’t see it.”

Ground, earth ground, common, shield, and power supply return

A recent edition of Design News had a nice story about ground bounce causing problems in LCD panels. Poor or incorrect grounding causes all kinds of horrible problems in electronic systems. The first thing you need to understand is that silly little symbol on your schematic does not magically create an ocean of zero impedance. The ground symbols are just a convention so we don’t have to draw all the separate return paths in our electronic circuits. Many days I think it would be better if we did draw all the grounds as separate wires on our schematics.

The article above bemoans that LCD panel suppliers are connecting their power supply returns to the chassis of the display. The author seems to think this is bad, and I tend to agree, if I understand the problem correctly. He says the LCD panel people do this to lower EMI radiation out of the panel. I have to assume what is going on is that the ITO (indium tin oxide) transparent electrodes on the panel need to be at least ac referenced to earth ground, so they can serve as a shield for the EMI caused by the digital signals inside the panel. But he points out that these fast digital signals can cause the ground to bounce up and that causes memory erasure and all kinds of other problems.

Now a Ham radio person would know the difference between a ground, a shield, and a power supply return. Those RF folks really understand EMI and radiation and low-impedance, even if they are not engineers. Ideally you would have an ITO layer on the display that was continuous and connected to the chassis of the product. That would serve as an EMI shield for all the fast edges inside the LCD panel.

To reduce EMI you want the tightest shortest loops between current carrying conductors. So if there is a ribbon cable to the display, you would want a return line next to each and every signal line. If the ribbon is that twisted pair type that is even better. In addition to putting in power supply returns for the signals, what you folks love to call “ground,” you could also shield the cable by running it a conduit or wrapping it with copper tape. But you have to be very careful where you connect that shield to the power supply returns (aka ground) and also to earth ground, which is that third round pin on your wall plug.

Earth-chassis-signal

The three grounds in your electronic system.

If you connect that shield in multiple places, it will start sharing current with the power supply returns. Now you have changing currents in space, and EMI. I am starting to film a whole YouTube series on schematics, and the first 6 shows are all on the humble ground. So remember, that upside-down Christmas tree that everyone calls ground—that is earth ground. Linear Tech has routinely used it as a signal ground on their datasheets and app notes for 30 years. It is absolutely wrong and sloppy to do this. They are chip guys, maybe brilliant chip guys, but they don’t do system design. If you try to take a product through UL or CE they would like you using earth ground symbols all over the place.

The middle symbol above is chassis ground. That is what you use for a chassis of a car or radio. Unfortunately car makers do use the chassis to return electrical signals, but they are getting smarter and putting in copper wires to make sure the return currents really do return. What we should be using for most all our circuits is the little triangle symbol. And yeah, the power supply common does connect to the chassis common, and you should show that on your schematic. And if your product plugs into a wall, you have to connect the metal chassis to earth ground, unless it is a double insulated product, in which case the plug need not carry the earth ground.

Stay tuned, I will start filming these shows in our new studio here at Atmel and will back-post to them on this blog once I start getting them up.

Bend your mind with Atmel’s XSense contest

We all know that bendable, flexible touchscreens are the future, and here at Atmel, we consider ourselves to be riding the crest of that curve with XSense, our high-performance, ultra-flexible touch sensor which allows for some crazy shaped, touch-able devices.

Go to any tech website today, and you’ll see the same ol’, same ol’ curved touchscreen phones and tablets. Cool stuff, but we can’t help feeling there’s got to be something more creative out there.

That’s why we’re inviting you to push past previous touch boundaries and create curved, pliable surfaces for anything you could imagine.

cardash

Sure, we have some ideas about how WE would use curved, flexible touchscreens. We want to hear what YOU would build with touch unleashed.

The sky’s the limit when it comes to creativity on this one, folks, so go crazy!

The top 10 creative ideas get automatically entered to become finalists and eligible for a grand prize of $1500!

But, better yet, if you reckon you could actually build whatever it is you’ve just thought up, there’s extra prize money on the line.

While you don’t need technical expertise to win our creative contest, if your design is built firmly around our Atmel Design Contest Sensor Specifications, you could win our XSense technical design contest for an additional $1500.

Or, if you’re feeling lazy, you can just browse other people’s designs and vote for your favorite. Easy!

The Internet of things, stalk by stalk

The Internet of things (IoT) will enable profound improvements in productivity

Bob Dible is an engineer that now works on his family farm in Kansas. He describes the technological strides made in agriculture. “We generate GPS (global positioning system) yield maps using data from the combine as it harvests. That helps us determine what nutrients are needed the next season at various parts of our 4-square-mile farm. We then program those different nutrient mixes and locations onto the crop sprayer aircraft. As the crop sprayer flies over the field, it uses GPS to locate itself.” The airplane sprays out nutrients or pesticides based on the GPS programming. It dynamically changes the mix of fertilizer based on its location over the field.

The $900,000 Air Tractor model 802 has 1300hp and a payload of 9,249 lbs. In 2013 the plane can change its fertilizer mix every dozen meters. Dible, the former engineer, knows what is coming. “One day we will monitor and grow the corn on a stalk-by-stalk basis. When we plant crops, GPS with RTK (Real Time Kinematics) gives us 1-inch accuracy.” It’s not hard to see Dible’s vision even now. With today’s technology, a small autonomous robot could drive down the rows of wheat (Figure 1).

Figure-1_Rosphere-537x300

Figure 1. A team from the Robotics and Cybernetics Research Group (Technical University of Madrid) has built an experimental farm robot they dubbed the Rosphere.

Sensors on the robot could monitor each and every stalk of corn. Those robots can communicate with each other over a mesh network. A mesh network is like a chat room for gizmos. They identify themselves and their capabilities, and are then a shared resource.

But the real enabling technology is when we put all these mesh networks on the Internet. This is the so-called Internet of Things (IoT). If the robots that evaluate your individual stalks of wheat have a port to the Internet, you get a cascading set of benefits. The server computer on a farm can store and manipulate the corn stalk information. But it can also analyze those crop yields. And it might contact Monsanto’s computers to get the best price and delivery on fertilizers, seeds, and pesticides.

Figure-2_Modern_John_Deere_Tractor

Figure 2. The tractor on the Dible farm, similar to this one, represents a capital investment of almost one million dollars.

The farm’s server computer can contact and execute automated negotiation with several silos in the area, to insure you get the best price for the crop. The tractor Bob uses on the farm has GPS as well (Figure 2). “GPS has really taken over in the past decade in farming. Not only do aerial sprayers use GPS, but we use GPS to spray with ground sprayers such as the John Deer 4720.”

One day ground sprayers will share information with the farm’s server computer. And that server can go on the Internet to order parts, or schedule maintenance on the mechanic’s smart phone while re-scheduling the driver’s time. Already the nearby dairy farm’s newest tractors and loaders “talk” to John Deere’s and Caterpillar’s local dealers.  “The dealers know where the machinery is, how it is running, and when it needs service,” reports Dible.

Perhaps your mesh network of corn examination robots finds a particularly virulent pest or fungus. They could go on the Internet and notify all the farms around yours, as well as the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture). Perhaps you’re a cattle rancher. You use RFID (radio frequency identification tags) on each cow. Foreign countries might embargo your beef if any cases of Mad Cow disease strike anywhere else in your country. But with individual identification of the cattle, you can prove their provenance, and if your tracking systems are linked to the Internet, your sales to foreign markets will continue unimpeded.

Mesh network antecedents

There are antecedents for the mesh network and the Internet of things. In the 1970’s the American military was bedeviled by North Vietnam soldiers using the Ho-Chi-Minh trail to bring supplies south to support the war effort.

Figure-3_Seismometer_patent_US3984804-2

Figure 3. A patent filed in 1971 and granted in 1976 put vibration sensors into radio darts that could be dropped from aircraft.

So the Navy invented small darts that had seismometers inside (Figure 3, Reference 1). These darts could detect footsteps and vehicle traffic and communicated over a radio network. They formed a literal mesh, and although they did not connect to the yet-to-be-invented Internet, they did report to an overarching communications network.

The Mesh in space

The military benefits of a sensor mesh hooked to a network were apparent to people in the science and space communities. NASA Airborne Science operates a fleet of aircraft that can communicate with orbiting satellites (Reference 2). In 2004 NASA started missions that would allow the satellites, the aircraft, and ground stations to interact and communicate over a network. This lets NASA better track and understand hurricanes, polar ice conditions and other changing geophysical events. The real-time knowledge of events is an obvious improving, but a system like this also gives real-time knowledge of itself. Researchers might schedule a mission and only after the planes had landed did they see that the data form a sensor was corrupt of missing. Equally frustrating, they might not have seen that there was an event of interest they could have included in the mission if they only could follow it as the data was taken.

Figure-4_NASA_Dryden_Global_Hawk

Figure 4. NASA uses the Global Hawk drone in a network of satellites and ground stations (courtesy Wikipedia).

The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) has made this NASA “network of things” even more useful. Now the operation of the Global Hawk UAV can be moderated and maintained by the network (Figure 4). While not the canonical “Internet of Things”, the NASA network, dubbed NASDAT (NASA Airborne Science Data Acquisition and Transmission) is an Ethernet network just like the Internet.

NASA connecting disparate things together such as airplanes, satellites, instruments, and ground control, presages what the Internet of things will do. With the NASA system, now the airplanes “know” what instruments they are carrying. The instruments in the plane can be fed location, speed, altitude and other flight parameters. The satellites “know” what airplanes and instruments they are connected to and the airplanes “know” what satellites are tasked to its flight. Missions can be far more dynamic and opportunistic. If ground controllers detect some condition or location, the instruments and airplanes can interact and modify the mission to get some important data collected. Flights can be changed in mid-mission by ground control, and all the varied implications will be “understood” by the interconnected instruments, airplanes, satellites, and people.

The Internet lets a mesh network see the future

The power of communications between networks is just one aspect that the IoT can do. Sprinklers are another application close to the hearts of farmers. Having sprinklers on a mesh network brings benefits. For instance, the network nodes that mount on the sprinkler could control and monitor water flow. They could report back to the farm server computer on usage and maintenance problems that reduce water flow. The mesh could even measure rainfall and adjust water delivery accordingly. The system becomes even more potent when you connect it to the internet. Now the farmer’s water system can connect to weather services that predict the rainfall. That way the sprinklers won’t waste water irrigating immediately before a big rainfall.

Industry Leads the Way

Industrial sprinkler systems for farms have led the way (Figure 5).

Figure-5_PivotIrrigationOnCotton

Figure 5. Crop irrigation systems have hundreds of microcontrollers in them. Now they will be linked to the Internet (courtesy Wikipedia).

Carl Giroux works for electronics distributor Avnet as a technical account manager selling into the sprinkler manufacturers. He estimates that a typical farm sprinkler setup boasts over 300 MCUs (microcontroller units), or about one MCU per sprinkler nozzle.

While industrial sprinklers for farms are already connected, they are a glimpse into what will become available for consumers. Ugmo makes a sprinkler system that is suited to golf courses and expensive homes (Figure 6).

Figure-6_Ugmo_UG1000

Figure 6. The UgMO sprinker system measures ground moisture and adapts the water usage.

It has a network of moisture sensors that communicate over RF links to monitor and adjust water usage (Reference 3). This wireless sensor network can reduce you water usage 50%. With the constant cost reductions in electric products, you can bet this system will find use in more and more homes. You can also see how the next step is to connect this system to the Internet so home owners can get the same benefits as farmers and commercial installations.

The IoT helps consumers

Consumers will benefit the most from IoT.

Figure-7_Omron_HJ112

Figure 7. This older pedometer uses sophisticated electronics to evaluate your motion and connects to your PC with a USB port. Future devices will wirelessly connect to the Internet (courtesy Wikipedia).

Dave Mathis is a software consultant in Silicon Valley. He advises his overweight friends to buy a pedometer, to keep track of how much walking they do (Figure 7). “Don’t get a 5-dollar pedometer— the sensor is a little ball and spring, like the tilt mechanism in a pin-ball machine,” he warns. “Get the 50-dollar pedometer.” Mathis notes the expensive pedometers use accelerometers, like a video game controller. These are much more accurate in counting your steps and level of activity. It’s only fitting that you would spend more money for something that helps keep you healthy. Of all the machines and gizmos you own, your body is the most important. Your automobile has millions of lines of software and dedicated hardware to monitor its condition. Your body deserve as much.

It’s nice if your pedometer can connect with your treadmill. That way the treadmill can adapt its routine to how much walking or running you have already done. Its better when your pedometer can communicate to your phone. Now the phone can tabulate and record your progress, and remind you when you lag. But it is a whole new opportunity when your pedometer can go on the Internet. Now your progress can go on your Facebook page. When you lag, your friends might send a tweet or email or even call you on a telephone to remind you to not give up. The exercise information from your pedometer might go to your doctor or pharmacy. That way they can adjust the dosages of medication based on your level of activity.

It’s pretty obvious that the industrial farm is leading the way for consumer technology. We can dream when auto makers talk about autonomous cars that drive themselves. But this is already reality on a farm. Dible notes that the tractors and combines use GPS to control steering. “This relieves the operator from having to concentrate on driving. It allows closer monitoring of the equipment which helps lessen mistakes.” Between seed technology, special fungicides, herbicides, pesticides, new methods, and improved control, farming is changing as fast as any other high-tech endeavor.  But it is also like working on an engineering program – lots of long hours, and attention to details. “The only thing about being an engineer is that you spend your time solving other people’s problems.  Now I have to solve my own problems,” quips Dible.

The IoT means safer roads

Already legislative bodies are having automakers look at having connected automobiles to provide for safer roads (Reference 4). The NTSB (National Traffic Safety Board) knows that having vehicles communicate with each other will help reduce fatalities. This technology might first be applied to trucks and busses. But the benefits are obvious for all vehicles. Even motorcyclists will benefit from connected vehicles (Reference 5). Every year, thousands of motorcyclist die or get injured because the other driver did not see them. With connected vehicles the motorcycle can have the car warn the driver of an impending collision. Autos might even simulate the noise of a motorcycle in the surround-sound audio system in the car, to help call attention to the motorcycle.

Having the vehicles talk to each other is just the first step, similar to an occasional dynamic mesh network. When the vehicles can go on the Internet, it brings all the same beneficial network effects. You can collect, organize and share data worldwide. This might be anonymous data, to alert highway engineers of a dangerous intersection. Or maybe you will use the data to automatically lower your car insurance rates, since you have so few near-accidents on the road. There will be no need to worry about telling your teenager to drive safety. The car will do that for you, and even take the keys away if he is being reckless.

The IoT in your home

All this industrial and automotive technology is poised to leap into the consumer electronics world. We are on the cusp of an interconnected revolution. Gary Shapiro is President and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). He recently wrote an article about smart homes (Reference 6). He notes that the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and HGTV (Home and Garden Television) have partnered to build the first-ever high-tech smart home (Figure 8).

Figure-8_HGTV_Smart_home_kitchen

Figure 8. The HGTV Smart Home 2013 is intimately linked to the Internet and its own devices (courtesy HGTV).

“The HGTV Smart Home 2013 connects many of the home’s appliances and devices,” notes Shapiro. The outdoors has pool automation that controls lighting, temperature, and fountains from a tablet. You can operate the exterior awnings remotely on demand, but they also include sensors that automatically close the awning to protect against rain and wind. The garage door sends an alert to a smart phone when a door is left open, and families can control the home’s door locks remotely. The occupants can remotely program pre-set temperatures for the shower. The window shades are also connected, and you can raise or lower them remotely.

The Internet of Things will not only let each of these devices communicate to you, it will let them communicate with each other. That way, opening the window shades might cause the microcontroller running the shade to communicate to the air conditioner, to make sure the house stays comfortable with sunlight streaming into the rooms.

Shapriro notes “Who knows, we might surpass the The Jetsons, and the consumer electronics industry might revolutionize the concept of smart living altogether.”  If Dible’s farm can monitor and care for each stalk of corn, it’s not hard to see that our homes and cars will monitor and care for each of their occupants. The Internet of things is ready to let us make another great stride in human progress.

References

1 Theodore C. Herring, A. Reed 3rd Edgar “Acoustic and seismic troop movement detector.”  Patent US3984804 A. 29 Nov 1971.

2 Forgione, Joshua B, Sorneson, Carl, Bahl, Amit, “Network Interface Links Sensor-Web Instruments,” NASA Tech Briefs, pg 14, July 2013. http://ntbpdf.techbriefs.net/2013/NTB0713.pdf

3 http://www.appliancedesign.com/articles/93619-eid-gold-ugmo-ug1000

4 http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/07/23/19643634-ntsb-calls-for-wireless-technology-to-let-all-vehicles-talk-to-each-other

5 http://www.americanmotorcyclist.com/blog/13-06-27/DC_Insider_Vehicle-to-vehicle_communication_technology_is_coming_%E2%80%93_What_does_it_mean_for_motorcyclists.aspx

6 http://www.appliancedesign.com/articles/93643-association-report-cea-smart-living

Optimizing charge cycles and battery life

Bits & Pieces has been on a roll this week with an automotive theme in honor of the latest additions to Atmel’s touch family: the mXT336S and mXT224S. In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at how Atmel optimizes automotive charge cycles and battery life with its MCUs.

As automotive enthusiasts know, Li-ion technology is currently the first choice for modern high-performance batteries. To be sure, Li-ion batteries are up to 30 percent smaller and 50 percent lighter than conventional NiMH batteries – yet manage to store significantly more energy.

However, while the batteries do offer concrete advantages in terms of size, weight, recharge speed and resistance to memory effects, Li-ion has a higher cost compared to other battery types. Of course, this can definitely be improved by using a battery management system like Atmel’s which optimizes battery performance.

“Our Li-ion battery management solution offers high accuracy analog measurement functions in combination with efficient active cell balancing ensuring optimum usage of battery capacity,” an Atmel engineering rep told Bits & Pieces. “Specifically, the megaAVR, ATmega32HVE2 and ATmega64HVE2 microcontrollers (MCUs) can be used to improve the performance and longevity of 12V standard lead-acid batteries.”

As the engineering rep notes, the above-mentioned MCUs are designed for intelligent battery sensor applications – with the devices determining the state of charge and state of health for 12V standard lead-acid batteries by measuring the battery voltage, current and temperature.

“For cars with idle-stop-go function, this feature is mandatory to retain sufficient battery energy for a guaranteed engine start,” the engineering rep added. “Combined with the Atmel ATA6870 Li-ion battery monitor IC, it forms an ideal system solution for replacing 12V standard lead-acid batteries with Li-ion batteries.”

Additional key features of an Atmel-powered battery management system and components include:

  • Active balancing – The industry’s first to feature active cell balancing for high cell count Li-ion batteries to prevent energy loss.
  • Maximum safety – Highest accuracy due to simultaneous cell voltage measurement of the cells in the entire battery stack leading to precise state-of-charge and state-of health calculations.
  • Smart sensing – Allows engineers to measure the battery voltage, current and temperature with up to 18-bit accuracy.
  • Valuable development tools – PC-controlled development kits help devs easily build a battery management system and get the most of the battery management devices.

Interested in learning more? Detailed information about using Atmel’s powered system can be found here.

Atmel powers data concentrators

Data concentrators are typically used in AMR (automatic meter reading) and AMI (advanced metering infrastructure) architecture to collect information and data, often from multiple meters, before forwarding the data to a utility company. Understandably, they are heavily used in densely populated areas.

Some AMI architectures might utilize a multi-utility communications unit or communications gateway at each home, instead of a meter, to support the HAN and WAN. These communications products or meters connect to a data concentrator, which manages anywhere from 10-2000 devices, depending on the architecture and communication medium adapted.

Atmel microcontrollers can be used to provide the necessary connectivity and processing power for data concentrators, MUCs and communications gateways.

Indeed, Atmel MCUs offer a number of key features for engineers, such as multiple connectivity options that include Ethernet, multiple UARTs, USB and SDIO. Meanwhile, select AVR microcontrollers support USB and OTG, with full or high speed Atmel solutions offering support for a variety of USB classes, including CDC, HID, MS and DFU. Atmel also offers power line communications (PLC) system-on-a-chip (SoC) solutions with full digital implementation to deliver high performance, high temperature stability and best-in-class sensitivity.

dataconcentrators

Additional key specs include robust processing power supporting application functionality, CryptoAuthentication for security, RF transceivers to facilitate intelligent connectivity and non-volatile serial memory to enable data logging.

“It is important to note that data concentrators are usually positioned in transform centers, and collect communications from several different homes for transfer to the utility. As such, not all of the above communications examples will be supported on any one unit. Basically, communications depend on the AMI architecture implemented,” an Atmel engineering rep told Bits & Pieces.

“Some AMR/AMI architectures do not use a smart electricity meter as the hub of the home system, but instead utilize multi-utility communications (MUC) and communications gateways. These products can connect to a single HAN, or can look after several in an apartment block. MUCs and communications gateways usually supply a bridge between the HAN and WAN, and will connect to data concentrators. Atmel solutions deliver the robust processing power and solid security that is key for critical communications.”

A full list of suggested Atmel devices for data concentrators can be found here.

Video: Experience touch like never before

Devices powered by Atmel’s maXTouch controllers boast a wide array of features to facilitate a superior user experience.

This includes intelligent touch processing algorithms, optimized noise suppression, high responsiveness, pinpoint precision and sensor hub technology – all fusing together input from motion-processing sensors such as accelerometers, gyroscopes and magnetometers.

This allows engineers to design a highly responsive, high-fidelity touch experience in mobile devices – even in the most punishing noise environments.

Key applications include:

  • Smartphones
  • Tablets
  • Windows 8 Notebooks and Ultrabooks
  • Digital still cameras
  • e-Readers
  • GPS systems
  • Portable media players

Want to learn more about Atmel’s maXTouch S technology? You can check out additional details here.