Tag Archives: Kickstarter Projects

1:1 interview with Jean Anne Booth of UnaliWear


“What really makes the Kanega Watch different is that it goes where you go, both inside your home and away. It is discreetly styled, so there’s no stigma from wearing an assistive device, and it speaks to you in words.” 


In this interview, we feature Jean Anne Booth, a serial entrepreneur with a successful track record in hardware innovation, having previously launched and sold two large and notable companies. Her current project is UnaliWear, a wearable health technology startup that has recently made its Kickstarter debut. She comes with a wealth of experience, and her timing could’t be better as the wearable digital health market continues to unfold. What’s more, Kanega Watch — which we recently featured on Bits & Pieces — is looking to bring a much-needed vision for practical usage to that space.

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Tom Vu: What’s the main driver to going about this once again? Well, considering you did this before as the first person to launch the ARM Cortex-M3 at Luminary Micro?

Jean Anne Booth: Great question! I actually retired for a couple of years after I sold my last company to Texas Instruments. During this period, my mom turned 80, and she had a couple of incidents that made me start looking for a personal emergency response system for her. Many of the assistive devices available are flawed in one aspect of another. Most importantly, there are three reasons, which make them quite hard for seniors to desire to integrate into their lives. First, they are ugly. Secondly, if they have connectivity, the devices usually require some complicated installation of a tethered smart phone or access point. And one of the most overlooked objections, there is a big “HELP” button. This big button is quite visually disturbing. When you see the big “HELP” button made large for usability and functionality, it is so socially stigmatizing. I wanted my mom to live safely while being independent and not being socially stigmatized.

TV: How is the UnaliWear Kanega Watch different from other wearable tech?

JAB: Focus groups have called Kanega Watch a ‘wearable OnStar for seniors’ because we provide discreet support for falls, medication reminders, and a guard against wandering in a classically styled watch that uses an easy speech interface rather than buttons. What really makes the Kanega Watch different is that it goes where you go, both inside your home and away. It is discreetly styled, so there is no stigma from wearing an assistive device, and it speaks to you in words. The watch brand name “Kanega” is from Cherokee for “speak”.

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TV: Is what you’re creating really going to make our lives better?

JAB: Yes, it’s about being there when it counts. You can wear Kanega Watch on 24×7 basis, so you don’t forget to put it back on, and therefore you’re wearing when you need it. There is a very long battery life, unlike an Apple Watch, Android, or Samsung smartwatch. There is no need for an additional device, either an access point or a smartphone. For seniors, or those who are independent but vulnerable, it can help with issues at night like trips to the bathroom. It’s waterproof, not just water resistant, so you can wear it in the shower/bath (this is where a majority of falls happen), and also in your pool exercises. It works anywhere you go, and those who are vulnerable are not trapped at home. Importantly, there is a convenience to this as you’re wearing everything you need to stay safe.

For instance, here is one of the fundamental characteristics of how the watch works, and why our tagline is “Extending Independence with Dignity.” If the Kanega Watch wants to speak, it will ask permission first. It requests permission to speak by buzzing on the wearer’s wrist like a cellphone on silent, so there’s no visual or audible stigma of wearing an assistive device when socially inappropriate — like at church.

If it detects a potential fall, it will ask if you will need help, because two out of three falls do not require help. In fact, Kanega Watch will continuously monitor you – a kind of continuous welfare check. In a suspected fall, if you don’t respond to the request for permission to speak (for example, if you’re unconscious, unable to move, or unable to speak), then it will begin to escalate and then notify emergency and your contacts for help. There’s practical and smart logic built into the wearable.

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TV: How has your experience in this industry going to help in fulfilling the practical/adoptable use of moving wearable tech toward broader acceptance/use?

JAB: To me, it’s not about advancing a category of technology. It’s about harnessing technology to solve real problems, and in this case, about allowing people to live independently, safely, for as long as possible. It’s been an interesting experience transitioning from semiconductors to healthcare, and has proven to be very rewarding building products that directly make people’s lives better. It’s a fantastic feeling!

TV: What hardware startups do you think are actually doing some really interesting things right now?

JAB: That’s a hard question for me because I’m biased toward products that make a difference and are directly useful. Often what is the most cool and interesting is not at all useful! One thing that our Kickstarter campaign has taught us is that the average person buying things that are cool is not quite in the same category as the people who would buy our wearable for seniors.

TV: How would you describe your team?

JAB: Today, our team consists of a cadre of three founders. Our CTO Marc DeVinney does all the hardware. Brian Kircher, who I’ve worked with for 14 years, does all the software for the Kanega Watch. I do everything else.

TV: Who do you look up to as a mentor now?

JAB: Jimmy Treybig, founder of Tandem Computers, has been a close friend for years and has always been helpful. Jimmy has been a source of a lot of wisdom. For this particular company, another extremely important mentor is my mother, Joan, who is also our Senior User Experience Advisor. She’s put together a number of focus groups, and has also been a lot of help in detailing the use cases.

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TV: What improvements will your product provide society? Perhaps even help the movement of IoT, connected things and wearables?

JAB: The Internet of Things promises to transform daily life, making it easier to work, shop, merchandise, exercise, travel and stay healthy. Really, thanks to billions of connected devices — from smart toothbrushes and thermostats to commercial drones and robotic companions for the elderly. It also will end up gathering vast amounts of data that could provide insights about our habits, religious beliefs, political leanings, sentiments, consumer interest, sports, and even as far as go to other highly personal aspects of our lives. I think the maturation of IoT and wearables is intertwined together. In some respects, what we are building at UnaliWear is also helping cement together the more meaningful adoption of wearables. In our particular case with the Kanega Watch, we couldn’t solve our user problem unless we could provide a better wearable device that is constantly connected all the time. Ultra-low power is very challenging fundamental backstop for every wearable device, and for most IoT devices as well. Our wearable includes cellular, GPS, and Wi-Fi built into one seamlessly integrated non-obtrusive wearable.

Our design goal for the Kanega Watch is that it must be wearable 24×7. It cannot be in a pocket or have requirements of being tucked into a purse. It also must have enough communications capability so that a senior is not stuck in their home all the time. To meet this goal, we have a unique patent-pending quick swap battery system enabling a user to not have to take the watch off to charge. The wearable can last 2 days for most users, and it comes with four batteries. It’s designed to have two batteries available on the charger and two batteries on the watch at all times. The device eliminates the need to be near a base station or smartphone.

Today, simply using built-in smartphone or app presents a couple of problems. Most seniors today don’t have nor operate a smart phone. Less than 5% of seniors over 80 years in age have a smart phone today. For the few seniors who do have smart phones, there are still problems using a smart phone for falls and reminders, because today’s smart phones still have only about 10 hours of real usage time per day.

TV: By 2050, what are some of your predictions for consumers or users interacting with technology on a day-to-day basis?

JAB: I do think that speech will definitely play a larger part in our interaction paradigm. Remember that popular Star Trek movie scene where they come back in time to save the whales and Scotty goes with Checkov to analyze the strength of the materials being used to make a housing for the whales, and the computer he is given is the original Macintosh. Scotty speaks to the Mac, Checkov reminds him that’s not the interface, and then Scotty picks up the mouse and speaks to the mouse. This seems to show a natural interface into the future as Scotty mistakes the old computer for one he can easily and naturally talk to. Now looking at where we are today – the senior population is the fastest growing population segment in the US, and by 2030 will be 20% of our total population. Today, there are 17 million seniors above the age of 75 who are living independently, yet only 2.2 million of those independent seniors have any kind of monitoring system to get help. Today’s 17 million seniors will burgeon to 27 million seniors by 2030. Natural speech interfaces and connectivity will be control what we’re able to build in the future.

TV: What question might you pose to someone in the middle of making a choice to purchase or carry something that is connected and electronically enabling for a senior in their lives?

JAB: I think the message is simple. We show over and over again that if you want to extend the time and quality of someone’s life, then extend their independence. That means you need products that a senior is willing to wear, and that fits into their active lifestyle. At its core, the wearable is based on an Atmel | SMART SAM4L Cortex-M4 MCU running FreeRTOS as the real time operating system and also includes the ATWINC1500 SmartConnect device for Wi-Fi. The Kanega Watch includes both Wi-Fi and cellular communications; when you’re at home, it uses your Wi-Fi. When you’re away, it transitions seamlessly to cellular.

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TV: Does the Kanega Watch have initial roots from the Maker Movement?

JAB: Yes, the roots are definitely Maker Movement – and also a lot of rapid prototyping (hardware’s version of the Lean Startup). We built our first industrial design prototypes at the TechShop in Austin, and our very first alpha design used a 3D-printed “box” as the “watch”. We make a lot of prototypes with rapid turn 3D-printing and CNC-machined aluminum. Before we built our own first prototypes, we created a software prototype on the Omate TrueSmart smart watch, which has dual 1.3 GHz ARM Cortex-A8’s running Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich.” Our only challenge with this prototype is that the battery life was an unsatisfying 5 hours – which meant that I had a battery pocket in my pocket and kept the watch plugged in with a cord hidden under my shirt when I needed to demonstrate over a long period, such as at a conference like SxSW. I like our current prototypes better!


Interested in learning more or have an elderly family member who could benefit from the Kanega Watch? Head over to UnaliWear’s current Kickstarter campaign here.

Rewind: These successfully-funded Kickstarter projects are powered by Atmel

Kickstarter first opened its virtual doors on April 28, 2009. Since then, the wildly-popular crowdfunding site has tracked just shy of $1.5 billion in pledges from 7.6 million individuals actively backing 75,800 creative projects.

Many have pondered as to whether the crowdfunding bubble would burst anytime soon, and as the burgeoning Maker Movement and Internet of Things have conveyed, the answer is ABSOLUTELY NOT! By 2025, the crowdfunding investment market is expected to near $100 billion.

Since its inception five years ago, more than $116 million has been raised for over 1,400 technology projects — a number of which have been hardware gadgets powered by Atmel | SMART and AVR microcontrollers. In fact, 217 projects were based and built around the fan favorite Arduino boards (and AVR) over the last 12 months. Specifically, 160-plus AVR based projects garnered $7 million in Kickstarter funding, of which nearly two-thirds were successful, including:

Robox

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C Enterprise Ltd. (CEL) debuted its new desktop 3D printer and micro-manufacturing platform. Powered by an Atmel | SMART ARM-based MCUthe Robox was designed by its creators to “demystify” the 3D printing process.


The Reactor Core

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The Reactor Core is a hardware programming platform for Arduino boards and stand-alone AVR-based MCUs. Designed by Frank Fox, the Reactor Core is powered by an ATmega328P and an FT232R for USB to serial communication.


ATtiny85 ISP! 

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Designed by Ben Escobedo, the open source ATtiny85 ISP! can probably best be described as a breakout prototyping board for Atmel’s ATtiny85/45/25 lineup.


OpenBCI

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OpenBCI – created by Joel Murphy and Conor Russomanno – is a low-cost programmable open-source EEG platform that gives Makers easy access to their brainwaves. Aside from its ADS1299 IC, the OpenBCI is equipped with an ATmega328 (+ Arduino’s latest bootloader). The Maker duo have have thoughtfully broken out all the Arduino pins, allowing Makers to blink lights or drive motors. In addition, version 3 of the OpenBCI board uses bluetooth low energy (BTLE) for data transmission and programming of the ATmega controller.


White Bread Shield

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Mark Davidson has designed an ATmega328 based Arduino prototyping shield that can also be used as a stand-alone board for various DIY Maker projects. Dubbed the “White Bread Shield,” the platform is compatible with Arduino Uno boards.


MicroSlice

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The MicroSlice is a mini laser cutter and engraver, controlled by an ATmega328. The open source platform is being promoted as a kit that takes approximately 15 hours to build.


The ABXY

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The ABXY – the brainchild of Kevin Houck – is an open source ATmega328 based rapid fire and macro platform for the Xbox 360.


Smart Nixie Tube

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The Smart Nixie Tube is an open-source platform, powered by the versatile ATmega328p MCU of course, that is ideal for any dorm room, bedroom or Makerspace.


UFactory

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UFactory – located in China’s Shenzhen – has debuted a 4-axis parallel-mechanism desktop robot arm. UArm, modeled after the ABB industrial PalletPack robot, is built around an ATmega328 which powers a custom board. 

The platform is constructed with acrylic or wood parts and fitted with standard RC hobby servos.


King’s Assembly

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Solid Art Labs has introduced the King’s Assembly – a unique device that packs a high-precision laser mouse, full mechanical keyboard and an analog joystick into a single platform. For its mapping and programmability, it’s no wonder the team selected the beefy AT90USB128 MCU.


DIY Delta Robot Kit

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The Robot Army crew unveiled a DIY Delta Robot kit, which of course was driven by an ATmega328 MCU, that caters to the rapidly growing Maker community. The kit includes all mechanical pieces in grey and neon yellow plastic (the yellow fluoresces under black light), spacers, brackets, ball bearings and hardware required for assembly. In addition, the kit is packed with electronic components, PCB and wire harnesses.


Game Frame

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Game Frame – a grid of 256 ultra-bright LED pixels – was designed by Jeremy Williams to showcase pixel art and old school video games. As its creator notes, video game artists used to draw everything with a sheet of graph paper, a few colors and a couple of animation frames.


Pi-Bot

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STEM Center USA revealed its ATmega328 embedded Pi-Bot, a hands-on robotic learning platform for both students and professional engineers.


OSCAR

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OSCAR is a super high resolution 9.7″ screen with an ATmega32U4 powered adapter that allows users to easily link the display to their PC, Mac or Linux machine.


energyShield

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NightShade Electronics unveiled a rechargeable battery shield for Arduino Uno (ATmega328) and Leonardo (ATmega32U4) boards.


Dual Arduino Micro XplorerBoard

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Rich Electronics developed the XPlorerBoard, a portable platform that allows Makers to easily plug in two Arduino Micro boards (ATmega32U4) and eliminate loose parts with integrated components.


Open Enigma Project

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Designed by the ST-Geotronics crew, the Open Enigma (M4) Project – powered by an Arduino Mega (ATmega1280) – first surfaced towards the end of 2013.


Skirmos

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Skirmos is an open-source, versatile laser tag system that features an ATmega328P MCU, an Arduino bootloader, a color LCD screen (acts as a realtime HUD) and an infrared LED.


EasyPlug

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EasyPlug – designed by InXus Interactive – is a versatile sensor shield for Arduino boards, and enables Makers to connect a plethora of sensors to their board in just seconds.


Vega Edge

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Made of laser-cut leather, the Edge is a wearable light that snaps securely onto your clothing with the help of four strong neodymium magnets. You can wear it discreetly by day or brightly at night with your winter coat, cardigan, hood, scarf, handbag, collar, pocket, belt, or wherever you’d like a touch of light.


Reflowster

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The Reflowster is an ATmega32U4 powered smart outlet designed to instantly turn your toaster oven into a reflow soldering station.


Primo

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Primo is a playful physical programming interface that helps teach children programming logic without the need for literacy. Powered by an Arduino unit, the play-set uses shapes, colors and spacial awareness to instruct programming logic through a tactile learning experience.


MicroView

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MicroView is a chip-sized platform with a built-in OLED (64×48) display that allows Makers to see what their board is “thinking” without having to link with a PC.

 The device, designed by the Geek Ammo crew, is built around the ATmega328P MCU.


Pocket Printer

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Developed by the team at ZUta Labs, the Pocket Printer is an untethered device comparable in size to a CD case that features a set of omni wheels and a printer cartridge tethered to an Arduino board. Once placed down, the device begins to run along the paper, using its aforementioned wheels and a high-res optical sensor to move around, distributing ink wherever it’s needed. For multi-paged documents, simply pick up the printer and place it onto the the next blank sheet of paper.


Printoo

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Printoo is a printed electronics prototyping platform designed to help bring everyday objects to life. The core Printoo module is powered by an ATmega328, while additional hardware modules consist of a display driver, battery connector, batteries (soft and ultra-thin), battery holder, sensor module, solar cell connector, conductive ink adapter, DC motor drivers, electrochromic display, organic photodetector slider, polymer solar cell and LED strip.


Digispark Pro

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Powered by the uber-mini ATtiny167 MCU, the new board is even easier to use than the original Digispark.


Mirobot

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Mirobot – created by Ben Pirt – is an ATmega328 powered DIY WiFi robotic kit designed to help children learn about technology and programming.


Mr. Beam

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Mr. Beam is an open source DIY laser cutter and engraver kit for paper, wood and plastic, whose key components include an Arduino Uno (ATmega328), custom shield and a Raspberry Pi.


Hummingbird Duo Robotics Kit

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BirdBrain Technologies (a Carnegie Mellon University spinoff) debuted the Hummingbird Duo, a robotics kit powered by an ATmega32U4 MCU.


Lil’Bot

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Created by Chris Hakim, Lil’Bot is a low-cost, open-source balancing robot powered by an ATmega328 MCU.


The Papilio DUO

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The Papilio DUO is a board that allows Makers and developers to easily draw circuits, move pins, connect extra serial ports and even link a Bitcoin miner to the ATmega32U4.


LazerBlade

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Designed by Darkly Labs, the LazerBlade is an entry-level laser cutter and engraver kit targeted at Makers, artists and DIY hobbyists that is driven by an ATmega328 MCU.


CNC xPRO

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Spark Concepts has debuted the CNC xPRO on Kickstarter, a versatile platform powered by an ATmega328.


Ai.Frame

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The open source Ai.Frame is a miniature robot powered by an Arduino Mini (ATmega328) paired with infrared and ultrasonic sensors.


DuinoKit Essential Project

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Designed by math teacher Dan Alich, the DuinoKit Essential Project (DEP) is a cost effective development system for aiding the learning of electronics and programming.


PopPet

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PopPet is as an “expandable, customizable and easy-to-assemble” robot kit powered by the an ATmega8 microcontroller.


M-One

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M-One is described by the MakeX team as a “personal desktop factory” for Makers, designers, artists and engineers.


IMUduino BTLE

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The innovators over at Femtoduino have developed an uber-tiny device for all of your emulation needs, the IMUduino BTLE. Powered by an ATmega32U4, the Arduino-compatible board comes in at just under 2.7 grams and is packed with USB keyboard and mouse emulation, Bluetooth LE (BLE), real-time orientation and motion sensing IMU, as well as 10V max voltage regulation.


ChainDuino

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Michael Tedeschi originally created the ChainDuino after realizing that he wished it were simpler to connect multiple Arduino Uno (ATmega328p) boards with readily available Cat5 cable.


Homey

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In an effort bring homes to life, Homey converges all of the smart devices under one roof and allows homeowners talk to them. Homey can learn a homeowner’s habits and predict their next move to make their life more efficient.


AmbiLED

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The AmbiLED HD is the first high-resolution ambient light conversion kit for computer monitors. The wireless ambient light strip affixes directly to the back of your TV, thus allowing for your field of view to be flooded with visual stimulation.


Multi-Program Laser Trip Wire Set

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Straight out of the ‘90s movie Entrapment, crowdfunding veteran Patrick Thomas Mitchell has created a system of laser trip wires designed to keep any area secure.


CANBus Triple

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Driven by an ATmega32U4, CANBus Triple has been developed in hopes of providing an Arduino-style device for cars that can be used to bus data and add awesome functionality to your vehicle.


Pax Instruments T400

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The Pax Instruments T400 is a simple, inexpensive and open-source temperature datalogger. Designed by Charles Edward Pax, the ATmega32U4 powered T400 is a first in a new class of affordable lab instruments.


Dr.Duino

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Dr.Duino is a fully-equipped breakout board for testing all features of the Arduino platform. Created by Long Island-based Innovative Electronic Solutions LLC, the newly-launched device enables developers using the popular board to have a genuine fixture for testing their Atmel based designs. Think of it as a shield for your shields!


DUO Light

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Maker Jack Eisenmann has developed a lightweight, single board computer that can connect to an SD card, a composite video monitor and a keyboard, and provide a low-level computer programming experience.


LED Matrix Shades

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Garrett Mace of macetech LLC recently designed a pair of open-source, programmable stunna Matrix Shades.


TinyScreen

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With much of the tech community is abuzz about larger screen sizes, the TinyScreen is here to show customers just how adaptable a miniscule display can be in a world overrun by massive screens. Led by Maker Ken Burns, TinyCircuits successfully launched a campaign for its


MicroDuino

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Paying homage to Game Boy’s 25th birthday, the MicroDuino Studio team has now debuted the Microduino-Joypad, an 8-bit multi-functional game console capable of playing all-time classics ranging from Tetris to Snake. The open-source gadget will allow Makers to relive some of their greatest childhood memories of clicking away at those giant buttons on a vintage Nintendo handheld.


DrumPants

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Ever catch yourself drumming on your thighs? Your table? Your desk? Your steering wheel? Now, starting a one-man band is as simple as wearing this musical kit. DrumPants, dubbed by its creators as “the world’s industrial quality wearable musical instrument,” transforms your outfit into a full ensemble with 100+ built-in high-quality sounds. Its control box — powered by an Atmel | SMART ARM Cortex-M3-based MCU — features an ultra-low latency Bluetooth 4.0 chip, a built-in sound engine for 1/8-inch headphone jack, 128 instrument sample banks and a Micro-USB for connection to a laptop or PC.


APOC Pro

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Developed by AeroSplice, the APOC Pro is an advanced open-source Gamma particle and X-ray radiation detector powered by an ATmega328 MCU.


Makesmith CNC Router

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Designed by Bar Smith and Tom Beckett, Makesmith uses off-the-shelf parts to put viable CNC technology into the hands of engineers, DIY hobbyists and Makers.


Controllino

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Designed by the SG-Tronic team, the Controllino is an open-source programmable logic controller (PLC) built around Atmel’s ATmega328 and ATmega2560 microcontrollers. The Arduino-compatible PLC allows Makers to produce and control their next Internet of Things project, ranging from industrial to home automation applications.


Nomiku Wi-Fi

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In an attempt to make sous vide cooking more accessible to the home chef, the team behind the Nomiku Immersion Circulator unveiled a new prototype that features Wi-Fi connectivity. Embedded with an ATtiny88 MCU, the Nomiku can receive inputs from the accompanying Tender smartphone application. Tender, available on the iOS and Android platforms, grants users the ability to share recipes throughout the sous vide cooking community. With a few clicks and the correct ingredients, a home chef could have a Top Chef winner’s recipe brewing on their stove in just a matter of minutes.


DrinkMate

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Developed by the team at Edge Tech Labs, DrinkMate is a lipstick-sized breathalyzer that plugs directly into your smartphone. Unlike others of the past, the world’s smallest breathalyzer — which measures 1.8″ long x 0.62″ in diameter — works in conjunction with the Android phone’s app and displays his or her blood alcohol content (BAC) results instantly with no calibration, no mouthpiece and no battery.


MangoCube

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MangoCube is a pocket-sized, Arduino-compatible development board powered by an ATmega32u4 MCU. Created by London-based Maker Bhargav Mistry, MangoCube provides developers with an uber-mini, stackable header-friendly board that comes in three versions: MangoCube LEO, MangoCube BLE (Bluetooth 4.0) and MangoCube Wi-Fi. Additionally, it can be found in a selection of five vibrantly colored cases, each of which allow a Maker to express his or her personality.


Lo-Fi SES

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Designed by the Assorted Wires crew, Lo-Fi SES is a hackable 8-bit chiptunes device generated quite a bit of buzz on Kickstarter. Based on an Atmel AVR MCU, the Lo-Fi SES replicates the shape of a good ol’ SNES controller, whose buttons are used to trigger samples, change tempo, as well as play, record and delete tracks. The controller, which is the heart of the Lo-Fi SES experience, comes equipped with a default playlist of onboard sounds including a lo-fi drum set. Bring back attack sounds from those childhood video games!


MAID Oven

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Powered by an ATmega32L, the MAID (Make All Incredible Dishes) Oven is an all-in-one device that can learn your eating habits, like daily caloric intake, and then suggest new recipes for you based on its pre-programmed optimization algorithms — which are driven by an ARM processor. The appliance functions as a microwave, convection oven and top-heater, meaning that it can whip up anything from a bag of popcorn or Eggo waffles to a birthday cake for a family celebration.


BeON Home

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While there has been an influx of smart bulbs in recent years, none of them may be nearly as intelligent as one Cambridge-based startup’s new system, which has been designed to out-smart would-be intruders. As its creators note, the BeON Burglar Deterrent aspires to give off the impression of a lived-in home while you are away. Embedded with an Atmel | SMART SAM G ARM Cortex-M4 MCU, BeON’s sound processing engine can detect the tone of a doorbell and will immediately trigger the lights on in sequence to simulate your active presence, thereby increasing its level of ‘smartness.’ (Think of it as a professional grade Home Alone contraption.) Aside from the ATSAMG53 based sound algorithm, each BeON bulb boasts a backup rechargeable battery, ensuring its burglar prevention powers work even without power.


Phoenard

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


AllPixel

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Designed by the team at Maniacal Labs, AllPixel is a USB interface capable of controlling up to 680 pixels on any popular LED strip equipped with a USB port. Based on an ATmega32U4, the small, open-source board measures just 2.7″ x 0.9,” as well as provides easy USB control of all major programmable LED strips. It is compatible with Linux, Mac and Windows platforms, and can run on any device that supports Python, including Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone Black, or pretty much any desktop/laptop.


Arki

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Arki is a stylish wearable band that not only tracks a wearer’s daily activities, but seeks to improve posture along the way. In short, the device analyzes your steps, then vibrates if and when you aren’t standing tall. The brainchild of Los Angeles and Seoul-based startup Zikto, the latest tech to adorn our wrists is powered by an Atmel | SMART SAM4LS ARM Cortex-M4 microcontroller. The gadget offers all the classic activity tracker functions, however in a rather attractive and fashionable package. A popular complaint around fitness trackers is that they are bulky and not practical to wear in professional settings. However, the newly-unveiled device caters to everyone, from activity seekers to fashionistas, with its waterproof casing and interchangeable straps to match any ensemble.


AirBeam

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Designed by the Brooklyn-based HabitatMap team, AirBeam is a portable, palm-sized system for mapping, graphing and crowdsourcing air pollution in real-time as you make your way around city streets. While the wearable instrument may not purify the air, it does enable you to monitor what you are breathing in, thereby increasing your awareness of the budding issue. As its creators note, pollution is among the leading causes of chronic illnesses as well as contributor to a number of terminal illnesses. In an effort to share and improve the atmosphere, the device is powered by an ATmega32U4 and based on the Arduino Leonardo bootloader.


SnapJet

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Have you ever browsed through your smartphone pics and wished you could print copies in a moment’s notice? A new device, aptly named SnapJet, is now making that a reality. The open-source, instant-film printer uses Polaroid technology to let users wirelessly print their photos directly from a smartphone. Powered by an Atmel AT90USB1286, the mobile device also features an OLED display and other connectivity options — like USB and BLE — just in case you feel the need retouch a few pics, or for those Makers out there, the urge to reprogram or hack the open-source device.


SmartBox

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The RepRap-based printer, which features a build envelope of 200 x 200 x 180mm, is equipped with an easy-to-use LCD screen, an SD card slot, an extrusion nozzle measuring 0.4mm in diameter, as well as an integrated aluminum frame. Based on an ATmega1284P MCU, the SmartBox team claims to be the lowest-cost FFF 3D printer with a large building space and an LCD screen convenient battery. In addition, the machine’s convenient battery was designed to eradicate any possibility of the printer shutting down during a power outage, meaning no more fretting over losing that project after countless hours of hard work!


MeArm

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Developed by Benjamin Gray and Jack Howard, MeArm aims to bring a simple robotic arm well within the reach (and budget) of everyday educators, students, young Makers and parents alike. Powered by an Arduino Leonardo (or Uno), the MeArm is essentially a shrunken-down version of an ordinary industrial robot arm. Meanwhile, its MeBrain platform is based on an ATmega32U4 MCU — which is the same chip used in the Leonardo — the MeBrain’s two joysticks are responsible for commanding the MeArm. By simply plugging the robot arm into the board and the board into a power supply, Makers can control the robotic contraption as well as a few movements to play back.


SuperDuino

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Created by Maker Mohsin Farooq, SuperDuino is a coin cell operated, Arduino-compatible board with a built-in 1.7-inch color display and a three-axis accelerometer. Designed for experienced engineers, hobbyists and students alike, the ATmega328 based SuperDuino comes with a series of tutorials which can be used to create anything from a temperature or humidity controller, to a capacitance or frequency meter, to a smartwatch, to a talking clock, to a digital logical analyzer, to even a game controller for Flappy Bird or Bricks Breaker.


L3D Cube

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What better way to ring in the holidays than by transforming your living room into a dance party? With the L3D Cube, now you can. Developed by the Looking Glass Factory crew, the 3D fixture is a true DIY kit allowing Makers to create their own “volumetric” display in just 30 minutes. After constructing the easy-to-assemble box, users can download a number of visualization apps to it or program it themselves using either Arduino or Processing language.