Tag Archives: Lighting

Video: Interactive m!Qbe redefines lighting


The Atmel-powered m!Qbe is an intuitive, interactive platform that allows users to easily control multiple lights. The system comprises a number of components, including the m!Qbe (central) module, m!base, m!charger and WiFi.

The m!Qbe is designed to be used in one room with an m!Base and should, depending on the layout, cover a circle with a diameter of 20 meters.

“Just flip it and switch to the suitable lighting situation for your current activity such as low yellowish light to relax on the couch, bright white light to read the newspaper or different colors for your birthday party,” an m!Qbe rep explained in a recent Indiegogo post.

“Use it in everyday life with many more possibilities than a traditional light switch and much faster than manual control on a mobile device.”

Indeed, the m!Qbe’s three faces, or sides, are designed to “memorize” specific settings.

“You predefine them once and recall them whenever you like,” said the rep.

“In addition, you can add a delay on every favorite. So you can go to bed or leave your home in bright light for instance. The m!Qbe [will] automatically turn off all your [lights] after a while.”

As you can see in the video above, the m!Qbe can be rotated to manually change color or brightness, while a brief touch on the icon switches from one light to another, allowing the user to easily select and adjust specific fixtures.

So, how does the platform work?

 Essentially, the m!Base component communicates with the m!Qbe and the network of lights.

“It converts the detected motion into lighting situations and provides access to the settings of the m!Qbe,” the rep continued.

“The installation of the m!Base is a plug and play solution. In its standard configuration you connect the m!Base with a cable to your network. If you want to connect it wirelessly, please order the WiFi option.”

As noted above, the m!Qbe is built around an Atmel 8-bit microcontroller (MCU), which uses data generated from a three-axis acceleration sensor and a three-axis gyro sensor to precisely calculate motion.

“Additionally on each of the two manual faces, a capacitive touch sensor is integrated and allows to detect touch actions of different lengths. In the m!Base a Linux system transfers the commands received via bluetooth from the m!Qbe to commands for every single lamp in the network,” the rep added.

“For the configuration of this transfer and to read out statistical information a web interface is implemented. If you want to extend the functions of the m!Qbe the easiest way is to modify the software of the m!Base.”

Last, but certainly not least, m!Qbe supports the Philips Hue system that includes not only the connected bulbs but also Friends of Hue such as LightStrips and LivingColors Bloom, along with dimming plugs for more traditional lamps.

Interested in learning more? You can check out the official m!Qbe page on Indiegogo here.

Arduino in a cardboard box

If you went to Maker Faire New York, you saw Atmel’s tables had flashing LEDs on the edge.

LED-tables-Atmel_Maker_Faire

The tables Atmel had at NY Maker Faire had LED strips built into them.

Those strips were powered by these custom “Arduinos in a box.” The cardboard box was perfectly in keeping with cardboard tables, made by chairigami.

Arduino-in-a-box

We created a battery-powered Arduino to run the LED lights on the cardboard tables.

Arduino-guts-in-a-box

Inside the box is an Atmel-powered Arduino, as well as the battery pack used to run the board and LED strip.

Arduino-power-in-a-box

This side has the D-sub connector used to connect to the LED strips. There is also a power connector if you don’t want to run on the internal batteries.

Arduino-USB-in-a-box

The boxes have a cut-out for the USB connector, should you need to do some emergency programming on the show floor.

Arduino-battery-in-a-box

A nice touch is the Velcro strip on the back of the battery pack that holds it to the side of the box. You can see the “ECO” (engineering change order) where the USB hole was on the same side, but that got changed in the prototyping stage. Every product tells a story.

Be sure to check out the Atmel booth at Maker Faire Bay Area (Silicon Valley), World Maker New York (in Queens), and in just a few weeks (April 6-7, 2014) we will be at Maker Faire @ Shenzhen (China).

Using Arduino PWM for constant-current drive

The always excellent Circuit Cellar Magazine has a nice article by Ed Nisley. Arduino PWM vs MOSFET Transconductance describes his characterization of Arduino PWM outputs for the constant-current drive of MOSFETs. His application is LED drive, but you could use the knowledge anywhere, including a programmable current sink. Now Circuit Cellar is a paid-subscription magazine, so I can’t link to free article, but maybe their lawyers will let me take a picture of a picture in the print magazine, to which I am a long-time subscriber.

Ed-Nisley_Arduino-PWM-vs-MOSFET-Transconductance_PCB

This photo of the board Ed Nisley used to develop his constant-current source tells you it is not some Spice simulation or a theoretical track. This is a sure tip-off that Ed knows what he is writing about.

Ed-Nisley_Arduino-PWM-vs-MOSFET-Transconductance_scope

This scope shot also reassures you that Ed is not venturing forth some opinion on how the hardware and firmware works, it is proof positive he built this stuff and that it really works. I scratched off the readouts to make sure this is fair use and not a violation of Circuit Cellar’s copyrights.

Analog Guru Paul Grohe taught me that you should always look for pictures of real hardware in articles, and that if the curves are ”too pretty” they are probably marketing BS instead of real data. That is the great thing about this article; it’s got both pictures and data that tell you that you can trust the content.

There is another interesting article in the March 2014 Circuit Cellar issue. It’s about an outfit called ImageCraft. They make a C compiler with an IDE (integrated development environment) for Atmel AVR and ARM Cortex-based MCUs. Now I am a fan of Atmel’s free Studio 6 IDE, but feel free to use whatever IDE you prefer to write the code for your projects.

Now I can’t show you these articles on-line, since Circuit Cellar is a subscription print magazine. You have to give them 50 bucks a year to get it. You can get it as a digital pdf if you want to save trees. Its $85 a year for the both print and digital versions. There are large discounts for two- or three-year subscriptions. Best of all, you can give them something like $225 and get every single issue in history on a thumb drive. Then with your combo subscription you can add your monthly pdf to the archive thumb drive, and still have the print edition to impress your friends and boss.

Atmel’s Tech on Tour heads to Napa

After a successful Tech on Tour (ToT) stop in San Francisco’s SoMa neighborhood, the Atmel Mobile Training Center is heading to California’s sunny Napa Valley.


We’ll be at the Meritage Resort & Spa on 875 Bordeaux Way on March 23-24, 

showcasing a wide variety of tech across a number of spaces including touchsecuritymicrocontrollers (MCUs), wirelesslighting and automotive.

More specifically, you can check out:

In addition, Sander Arts, VP of Corporate Marketing at Atmel, will be hosting a session on easy-to-use, fully integrated solutions for University students at 12:30 pm on March 23 in the Carneros Ballroom.

“In this short session, students will see how Atmel provides a broad portfolio of hardware and software solutions that are easy-to-use and cost-effective for the classroom environment. Our boards and software development kits provide students hands-on training with some of the latest electronics for developing fun applications using Ardunio-based boards to Atmel’s own development solutions,” Arts told Bits & Pieces.

“They will also hear about Atmel’s revamped University Program and how we are using our latest social media channels, mobile trailer, challenges and competitions to engage with University students.”

Interested? You can register for the event here.

Atmel’s Tech on Tour heads to SF



After successfully wrapping up SXSW 2014 in Austin, Atmel’s Tech on Tour (ToT) trailer is back on the road to the Bay Area – with a long-awaited San Francisco SoMa stop scheduled for March 18, 2014.

We’ll be at China Basin, Lot C @ 185 Berry Street (between 3rd and 4th) from 10AM-6PM, showcasing a wide variety of tech across a number of spaces including touchsecuritymicrocontrollers (MCUs), wirelesslighting and automotive.

More specifically, you can check out:

Atmel’s ToT will also be hosting an industry panel on the rapidly evolving Internet of Things (IoT) at 4:00PM.

Join industry experts from Atmel, ARM, Humavox and August for an interactive discussion on how the IoT, the hottest topic in the technology sphere, is impacting today’s market across multiple segments.

Interested? You can register for the event here. See you in SoMa!!!

Atmel is ready to rock @ SXSW!

Atmel’s Tech on Tour trailer is on the road again and heading to Austin, Texas for SXSW. We’ll be at the Hyatt Regency Austin from March 7-9, 2014, so be sure to stop by during the show to see our latest demos.

We’ll be showcasing a wide variety of tech across a number of spaces, including touch, security, microcontrollers (MCUs), wireless, lighting and automotive.

More specifically, you can check out:

In addition, we’re proud to host a guest appearance by Autodesk, the very same folks behind the world famous Instructables and 123D Circuits.

With 123D Circuits, you can breadboard and simulate your AVR-powered Arduino-based circuits, while writing, compiling and running code right in your browser. When you’re done, you can have the circuit board professionally made and shipped right to your doorstep.

Interested in learning more about Atmel’s tech on tour? You can check out our official ToT page here.

Reza Kazerounian talks IoT and MCUs (Part 2)



EEWeb recently conducted an interview with Reza Kazerounian, Senior VP and GM of the Microcontroller Business Unit at Atmel. In part one of our synopsis, we reviewed how Kazerounian defined the Internet of Things, detailed the company’s comprehensive IoT portfolio and discussed Atmel’s relationship with the rapidly growing DIY Maker Movement.

Kazerounian went on to confirm that Atmel is currently working with a number of customers to market various IoT applications.

reza1cropped

“These customers range from smart metering, to industrial, consumer applications similar to Nest, [as well as] medical and white goods. Many of these customers have been working with Atmel for years and are in production with our technologies today,” he explained.

“With the dawn of the Internet of Things, these products are being categorized under a broader market—the IoT. An example includes connected thermostats in the home and building automation sector, [which] have [actually] been around for a while.”

However, says Kazerounian, it was not until recently that such devices were considered mainstream.

“It took mass adoption of smart tablets, smartphones and other smart consumer devices to enable more of these ‘connected’ devices to be easily accessible to the Internet and available at a cost-effective price point,” he added.

Indeed, “separate” technologies for IoT have been around for some time, but the requirements to seamlessly run numerous technologies simultaneously took longer to achieve.

“For example, connecting your smartphone at home to control your lighting is becoming a reality today. Another important factor for the IoT is wireless connectivity. These connectivity solutions operate on a number of different standards including Wi-Fi, ZigBee, Bluetooth, and others,” Reza continued.

smarthome

“For IoT applications, it’s important to adopt the right wireless standard based on the application and consumer requirements. For example, if you want a device that is connected to a wireless network at home and can traffic the data with a high data rate, Wi-Fi is the most viable type of technology. For wearable devices, you would need a wireless connection with the lowest power consumption available since many of today’s wearable devices run on batteries.”

Kazerounian also noted that the IoT landscape is populated by applications with embedded processing and connectivity requirements that offer companies such as Atmel an advantage.

“[Indeed, we] made a recent investment in our connectivity portfolio over a year ago [by] acquiring Ozmo Devices, a Wi-Fi connectivity company. Adding to our broad wireless product portfolio, this strategic acquisition helped us enhance our Wi-Fi connectivity solutions, an important part of our strategy for targeting the IoT market,” he said.

atmelzigbit

“Atmel also has a broad portfolio of touch technologies, from capacitive touch buttons, sliders and wheels to touchscreens. As sensors and sensing nodes become an important part of the IoT ecosystem, our embedded processing solutions can combine input from multiple sensors to provide real-time direction, orientation and inclination data to bring visibly superior performance to gaming, navigation, augmented reality and more.”

Reza concluded his interview with EE Web by emphasizing that Atmel views microcontrollers (MCUs) as an essential building block for every PC, consumer device, industrial machine, home connectivity device and automobile. To be sure, MCUs are playing an increasingly critical role in the lucrative space.

“As the semiconductor industry has transitioned from PCs to mobile, IoT will now rise to become the predominant market,” Kazerounian explained. 

”This transition will favor ultra-low power and integration of microcontrollers, wireless connectivity, security, touch technologies and sensor management products. Atmel is uniquely positioned and fully committed to maintaining our leadership position in the microcontroller industry – and to do so requires winning in the IoT.”

Interested in learning more? You can check out Atmel’s AVR MCU portfolio here and our ARM lineup here.

Note: This is part two of a two-part series. Part one can be read here.