Tag Archives: integrated development environment

Atmel Studio 7 is now live!

Atmel Studio 7 accelerates MCU designs for both developers and Makers alike, bridging the gap between the MakerSpace and MarketPlace.

For those who may have attended the recent World Maker Faire in New York, this announcement should come as no surprise. However, if you were unable to get to the New York Hall of Science to swing by the Atmel booth or sit in on one of our panel discussions over the weekend, we’ve got some great news. The highly anticipated Atmel Studio 7 is now live!


Atmel Studio is a comprehensive, free integrated development environment (IDE) for microcontroller design using both Atmel | SMART ARM-based and AVR MCUs. What’s more, we are also excited to be launching Atmel START — a new, extremely intuitive graphical platform for creating and configuring embedded applications that allow developers to build custom software platforms.

Due to increased complexity and more demanding requirements, embedded developers are turning to IDEs to deliver more intelligence, performance and ease-of-use. Based on the latest Microsoft Visual Studio Shell, Atmel Studio 7 dramatically reduces overall design time by delivering significant performance enhancements for developing and debugging with a simple user interface, improved responsiveness for consumer, industrial and Maker markets, and much more. Plus, the brand-spankin’ new IDE provides real-time application data and power visualization to better optimize application performance and power utilization.

Ideal for the Maker community, the IDE lets Arduino developers quickly port their sketches created in the Arduino environment as C++ projects, and seamlessly migrate their prototypes into the professional Studio 7 environment. This will further streamline a Maker’s ability to help migrate their projects from ‘the MakerSpace to MarketPlace.’

Given the rise of the Internet of Things market and the projected billions of devices to follow, high quality, well integrated embedded software is key to enable designers to devise robust, smart solutions based on today’s connectivity and security standards. Cognizant of this, we are pleased to launch Atmel START which is a web-based tool that helps developers easily integrate basic software building blocks and focus on their own applications rather than having to deal with the headache of configuration and integration.

“Atmel Studio 7 IDE and Atmel START extend our commitment to bridge the gap between the Maker and professional environments, accelerating time-to-market for developers of all levels,” says Steve Pancoast, Atmel Vice President of Applications, Software and Tools. “Our new, innovative development tools and software provide Atmel’s customers with solutions for embedded system designs in low power and wireless communications such as our power visualizer and Atmel START. We are committed to bringing the best tools to market, enabling developers of all levels — from professionals to students, hobbyists and Makers — to get their projects quickly to market.”

Atmel START gives software developers the ability to graphically select software components and configure them for Atmel’s large family of evaluation boards or for their own custom hardware. Developers can build software platforms consisting of low-level drivers, advanced middleware, Real Time Operating Systems (RTOS), high-level communication stacks and more, as well as download the configured software package into their own IDE and make their application.

Atmel START supports graphical configuring of pin-muxes, along with clock trees, and the configured software package can be downloaded for a variety of supported development environments, such as Atmel Studio 7, IAR Embedded Workbench and Keil µVision. In addition to all that, the tool is entirely web-based so no installation is required before you get started — and the downloaded code will always be up-to-date.

“The Atmel START platform makes it easy for developers to get projects off the ground quickly and obtain the most benefit from working with ARM Keil MDK tools,” adds Reinhard Keil, ARM Director of Microcontroller Tools. “By using CMSIS, Atmel has once again proven the value of creating a platform built on a standards-based approach. Atmel START creates a robust and portable software management system that makes it easy for developers to deploy applications in any environment.”

Interested? Atmel Studio 7 is free of charge and is integrated with the Atmel Software Framework (ASF) — a large library of free source code with 1,600 project examples. Those wishing to get started with the IDE can head over to its official page here, as well as explore Atmel START in more depth by downloading the latest white paper on the platform.

AVR XMEGA-A3BU Xplained demo board unboxing

So we cleaned out a storage area and lo and behold, there was an XMEGA Xplained demo board. So I scrounged up a USB cable and plugged it into my computer. I don’t have Studio 6 installed yet, but I thought it would be fun to just un-box it. This is what happened:


You can get your very own XMEGA Xplained eval board for on $29. The LCD alone is worth that.


What a score, the seals are still on the box. I think this was used in FAE training in May.


This is what is inside. There is that great LCD, a CR1225 battery for the real-time-clock (RTC), 3 tact switches and a touch switch, a temp sensor, a light sensor, all the signals on headers, and a JTAG port so you can hang a Dragon on it and see inside the chip while it executes. Sweet.


Here is a close-up. Oh, there is a non-volatile serial memory chip too. Needless to say, I have not read any manuals or paperwork yet, heck I am a man, like my buddy Tim who didn’t read the manual on his $60,000 Cadillac before he drove it to San Diego.


On the backside, you can see the 2010 date, but it turned out the board was way newer, stay tuned. You can see the flux residue where they hand-soldered the LCD. You can’t send an LCD through an IR reflow oven.


I stick a USB cable on it, and wow, it has a backlight on the LCD. It was obvious that the welcome screen here is telling you how to navigate the pre-installed program. That is not a touch-screen, it is telling you the tact switches and the one touch pad on bottom left are your navigation buttons.


Here is the screen with a flash picture—you can read the LCD either way. You can bet I am thinking how to mount this on my Harley and make a voltmeter/ammeter, temp sensor system out of it.


This is what you see if you press “Enter” (the top left button). It’s a sub-menu that displays the temperature, the light intensity, or the production date.


Here is the production date screen.


It took me a while to figure out that there was a touch-pad on the bottom left instead of a tact switch. This is how you go back up the menu tree.


Here is the temperature display. It seems pretty accurate, despite the board saying “NTC SENSOR”. I assume there is a linearization program, negative temperature coefficient sensors are notoriously non linear. This is reading hot since I put my finger on the sensor to see it work.


The top menu had more items and would scroll. This is the page for setting date and time. It was set to Norway time, but the date was right after 6 months.


This is a menu choice that shows how long the board has had its real-time clock powered.


When you stick in the USB the computer prompts you to add a driver. I don’t think that is a good idea. The way this is meant to be used is that you install Studio 6 or use some other IDE or the Atmel Software Framework (ASF) and that has the driver the card needs. So I cancelled. We have all been burned installing things on Windows.

Well this got me pretty fired up. It never occurred to me one of our demo boards would have such a nice program on it pre-loaded. I guess it’s time to install Studio 6. I have been avoiding it, since I am an assembly language dinosaur, and I am sure all this code is in C. After all that is one of the coolest things about AVRs, they were designed to run C and run it well.

In addition to installing our free Studio 6, I will hang a Dragon debugger/emulator onto the card. Thata is another cheap purchase from Atmel, about 50 bucks. There were a couple of those in the storage room too. With a Dragon I can see inside the chip as it runs, single step programs, and read the registers and memory locations.

ECO 1 (engineering change order). Let’s make that navigation screen show more representative symbols for the tact switches, and the touch pad. And let’s move the symbols to the outside corner of the screen, like they are on the PCB (printed circuit board).

ECO 2. Lets add a menu pick to read analog voltages—hang on—holy cow, this thing not only has two 12-bit ADCs, it has 4 comparators. I can see there is a lot to love. And get this—6, count ‘em, 6 USARTs. That will satisfy my buddy Dave who insists on one dedicated UART just for software debug. Sure you can use the debugger when it is hooked to Studio 6 or your IDE, but it is also nice to have a port you can query or that spits out status when the system is deployed in production.

Stay tuned, I will be hooking up one of those Dragons and installing Studio 6 next. Just remember the first rule, never keep a handgun in the same desk you have a computer on. I do expect to be frustrated, it’s been 12 years since I programmed in assembly, and never have used C, but let’s take this little adventure together and see what happens.

Atmel’s ATSAM4LC4CA Cortex-M4 based MCU can power this thermostat

A mid-range thermostat facilitates basic climate control with additional sensing, control and interface capabilities. Key design considerations for next-gen thermostats include a backlit touchscreen display, wireless connectivity, low power sipping, air quality monitoring and an accurate clock-calendar.

Atmel’s ATSAM4LC4CA (ARM) Cortex-M4 based MCU, paired with an AT86RF212/AT86RF231 RF transceiver, can be used to build a reliable mid-range thermostat incorporating the above-mentioned features.


“The SAM4LC offers a highly integrated device with rich embedded peripherals to simplify product design as well as BOM cost. Key low-power sipping features include 90mA/MHz Active Mode Current and 0.7mA Back-Up Mode with RTC, while SleepWalking and Peripheral Event System further reduce consumption by monitoring environment without waking the CPU,” an Atmel engineer explained.

“Beyond temperature control, the SAM4LC boasts SPI, 12-Bit ADC, I2C, USB and USARTS for interfacing with RF transceivers, communications modules, sensors and battery monitors. Plus, it supports low-power capacitive touch and proximity detection.”

Additional key hardware specs include an asynchronous timer with real-time clock, alarm and calendar mode; an advanced display and user interface (UI); and an integrated segment LCD controller which supports a number of functions such as automatic scrolling, animation, segment blink and blank display.

On the software side, the SAM4L offers full support for Atmel’s Studio 6 IDE (Integrated
Development Environment) for developing and debugging Atmel ARM Cortex-M and AVR microcontroller-based applications. The MCU also supports in-house and third-party supplied modules, kits, OS/RTOS/Middleware and various UI Solutions, while the SAM4L-EK evaluation kit enables rapid code development of apps running on SAM4L devices.

Additional information about Atmel’s ATSAM4LC4CA ARM Cortex-M4 based MCU can be found here.

Atmel’s ATmega32u4 drives this mOwayduino robot

The mini mOwayDuino robot – powered by an Arduino Leonardo (ATmega32u4) board – is equipped with a wide range of sensors, including anti-collision, directional light intensity and opto-reflective infrared.

The little robot is also fitted with an RGB LED indicator, frontal LED, red rear LEDs, three-axis accelerometer, microphone, radio frequency module, a two-hour LiPo rechargeable battery and an SPI expansion kit.

In addition, the mOwayduino crew has designed a number of hardware add-ons, including a WiFi module that allows users to control the ‘bot via a mobile device or link with social network sites and email servers. Meanwhile, an optional camera streams real-time images to a PC, helping the mOwayduino learn how to recognize shapes or colors and respond to visual codes.


On the software side, the mOwayDuino robot can be programmed via Arduino’s IDE (Integrated Development Environment), as well as Java, Python and Scratch.

According to TechCrunch, the Indiegogo campaign to fund production of the ‘bot will kick off in less than two weeks.

“If we succeed, in three months, it will be on market. For people supporting the Indiegogo project, mOwayduino will be available at a special price,” a company rep told the publication. “If we exceed the money we need for the production, we will develop a graphical programming app for tablets.”

Building a remote process control node with Atmel’s SAM4L MCU

A remote process control node is an electronic device that monitors and controls manufacturing in factories, refineries and other industrial environments. Such nodes can either be linked to wired or wireless networks to communicate with a system controller.

Remote process control nodes typically require low active and standby power consumption, as many nodes are battery powered or have significant power restrictions. Plus, nodes are often in remote, inaccessible or physically dangerous locations, making changing batteries somewhat of a complex task.

Similarly, safe and predictable operation is a must, as is the need to detect and respond to alarms with the lowest latency possible. The same is true for secured communication and update capabilities, along with preventing commands and data from being overridden or altered by nefarious hackers.


Atmel’s versatile SAM4L (ARM) Cortex-M4 based MCU (microcontroller) lineup, paired with an ATZigBit RF module (or AT86RF231/232/233 RF transceiver), ATZigBit RF module and an AT30 EEPROM/temperature sensor, can be used to build a safe, secure and reliable remote process control node that more than fulfills the above-mentioned requirements.

“Atmel’s SAM4L offers low active and standby power consumption, safe and predictable operation, and secured communication and update to address the needs of a remote process control node,” an Atmel engineer told us.

“The SAM4L is fully functional down to 1.68V. In active mode, the total power consumption is as low as 90uA/MHz. In backup mode with RTC running, the current consumption is as low as 0.7uA. And last, but certainly not least, the DMA controller, event system and intelligent peripherals with SleepWalking dramatically reduce CPU activity and power consumption.”

It should also be noted that Atmel’s event system has a guaranteed response time, allowing the system to safely detect and respond to alarm conditions. An embedded AES/DES encryption engine ensures secure high data rate communications without waking the CPU, while a hardware-based random number generator (TRNG) facilitates truly secure node identification, along with firmware updates to help prevent hacking.

On the software side, engineers will have easy access to the SAM4L-EK full-featured kit and SAM4S software package for fast development and code evaluation. In addition, Atmel’s Studio 6 & Atmel Software Framework (ASF) supports all Atmel 8-bit and 32-bit MCUs. There is also a free IDE (integrated development environment) with compiler, free software libraries of production-ready source code and Common APIs for project portability.

Additional information about Atmel’s SAM4L MCU lineup can be found here.

Atmel’s SAM4L ARM MCU tech powers game controllers

Atmel’s SAM4L ARM-based microcontroller lineup redefines the MCU power benchmark, delivering the lowest power in both active (90µA/MHz) and sleep modes – 1.5µA with full random access memory (RAM) retention and 700nA in back-up mode.


Simply put, the SAM4L lineup is the most efficient MCU tech available today, achieving up to 28 CoreMark/mA (using the IAR Embedded Workbench), while also offering the industry’s shortest wake-up time at 1.5µs from deep-sleep mode.

The SAM4L is targeted at a wide variety of portable and battery-powered consumer, industrial and medical applications.


However, the MCU lineup can also be used to power next-gen game controllers, along with related Atmel tech like the AT24C/AT25/AT93C serial EEPROM and ATR2406 RF transceiver.

On the software side, designers can look forward to an extensive ecosystem from Atmel and its partners, with an integrated development environment (IDE) and compiler (Studio 6 is free and integrated), along with multiple libraries.


And last, but certainly not least, there are also production-ready software packages available for drivers, software services and libraries. Interested? Additional information can be found on Atmel’s SAM4L MCU page here.

Engineering TV Talks Atmel Studio 6

Engineering TV’s Paul Whytock talks about Atmel Studio 6 with John Fogelin, Atmel’s principal technologist for software platforms MCU. From the company’s booth at the recent Electronica show, the two talked about how increasing software complexity has created the need for integrated development environments to evolve into platforms. The Atmel Studio 6 integrated development platform, for example, includes the Atmel Gallery apps store for third-party extensions and plug-ins. These additional tools have transformed Atmel Studio into a more comprehensive environment for efficient design of AVR and ARM core-based applications. Watch interview.

Have you tried Atmel Studio 6? What do you think about the platform?