Tag Archives: microcontrollers

Modulowo launches Explore boards for Atmel Xplained


Modulowo’s new boards want to make IoT development a breeze.


Development tools are becoming increasingly popular and are often used for prototyping, designing new devices, educating and programming. Well, one Poland-based startup has decided to take it one step further by devising a solution to streamline the process for Makers and engineers alike. Modulowo has announced the availability of their new Explore boards for the Intel Edison and Atmel Xplained platforms.

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The Modulowo Explore E is an IoT dev board for Intel Edison Compute Module (with dual-core Intel Atom, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth LE), compatible with Arduino, Linux, C, C ++, Python and JavaScript. Meanwhile, the Modulowo Explore X is a dedicated board for Atmel Xplained.

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The Explore is equipped with a connector for Intel Edison platform, two Modulowo duoNECT connectors for expansion modules, GPIO, SPI, UART and I2C interfaces connectors, two microUSB (USB OTG and USB/UART converter), 12-bit ADC (optional 16-bit) for measuring analog signals, logic level translators (tolerates +3,3V/+5V signals), a battery charger (only for Intel Edison) and a connector for additional power supply to the add-ons.

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One of Modulowo’s most notable features is that its modules can be mounted via pin connectors or directly on the board by castellated holes. These add-ons include sensors, tactile switches, motor controllers, LED drivers, GPS, wireless communication and Wi-Fi connectivity with the ATWINC1500.

Intrigued? You can head over to Modulowo’s page to explore the wide range of development boards.

Let your BLE ideas fly with the Adafruit Feather 32U4 Bluefruit


Trust us, Adafruit’s new board is un-BLE-vable! 


Remember when we brought you a first-ever look at Adafruit’s new lineup of Feather boards back at World Maker Faire? Well, as Ladyada herself promised, the new dev boards are thin, light and ready to let your imagination fly! After having already revealed the first two members of the family — the Feather 32U4 Basic Proto and the Feather 32U4 Adalogger — the team shows no sign of slowing down. Next up: the Feather 32u4 Bluefruit.

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The Feather 32U4 Bluefruit is said to be their take on an ‘all-in-one’ Arduino-compatible and Bluetooth Low Energy unit with native USB support and battery charging.

“Bluetooth Low Energy is the hottest new low-power, 2.4GHz spectrum wireless protocol. In particular, its the only wireless protocol that you can use with iOS without needing special certification and it’s supported by all modern smartphones,” Adafruit explains. “This makes it excellent for use in portable projects that will make use of an iOS or Android phone or tablet. It also is supported in Mac OS X and Windows 8+.”

Like its other siblings, the Feather 32u4 is built around the mighty ATmega32U4 clocked at 8 MHz and at 3.3V logic. This chip boasts 32K of Flash and 2K of RAM, along with built-in USB so not only does it already integrate a USB-to-Serial program and debug capabilities, it can also act like a mouse, keyboard and MIDI device.

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As Adafruit notes, they’ve gone ahed and added a connector for a 3.7V LiPo and a 100mA battery charger. However, the Feather 32U4 will run just fine via microUSB.

“But, if you do have a battery, you can take it on the go, then plug in the USB to recharge,” the team adds. “The Feather will automatically switch over to USB power when its available. We also tied the battery through a divider to an analog pin, so you can measure and monitor the battery voltage to detect when you need a recharge.”

Measuring only 2.0″ x 0.9″ x 0.28” without headers soldered and weighing 5.7 grams, the Feather can be implemented in a wide range of projects. The extremely lightweight and compact board has plenty of pins (20 GPIO), with eight PWM and 10 analog inputs, four mounting holes, a power/enable pin and a reset button. What’s more, the board makes use of the leftover space for a Bluefruit BTLE module as well as two status indicator LEDs.

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“The board is capable of much more than just sending strings over the air!  Thanks to an easy to learn AT command set, you have full control over how the device behaves, including the ability to define and manipulate your own GATT Services and Characteristics, or change the way that the device advertises itself for other Bluetooth Low Energy devices to see. You can also use the AT commands  to query the die temperature, check the battery voltage, and more, check the connection RSSI or MAC address, and tons more.”

With Adafruit’s Bluefruit mobile app, you can also quickly prototype your next IoT project using your smartphone or tablet as a controller. This data can be read over BLE and piped into the ATmega32U4.

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Among the use cases listed by Adafruit include an HID keyboard, a heart rate monitor and a UriBeacon, to name just a few. The chip comes fully assembled and tested with a USB bootloader that enables you to seamlessly program it with the Arduino IDE.

Intrigued? Fly on over to the Adafruit Feather 32U4 Bluefruit page here. Those wishing to unleash the powers of this impressive board will only have to shell out $30. Not too shabby!

Atmel’s second 2015 FAE training comes to an end


Taking a look back at the final FAE training of the year… 


We couldn’t have found a more appropriate, well-suited place to host our final internal three-day technical training of 2015 than Shenzhen, China. The city is constantly innovating, with IoT startups popping up on seemingly each street corner, throughout every tech shop, factory and Makerspace. This is a good context to present product updates, show off design tricks and run workshops from early morning to late night. We also network with old friends and make new ones, which further strengthens the teamwork, extends our knowledge base and builds confidence to help our customers bring their ideas to life.

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The buzz of the week was the highly-anticipated, full-day workshop on our uber mini Bluetooth Low Energy chipset (the BTLC1000) with overviews of the supported protocol stacks, silicon and software architecture, introduction from product marketing, as well as a hands-on session using Atmel’s standard Xplained development boards, the recently-launched Atmel Studio 7 and Atmel START.

At Atmel, we spread our love equally between wireless and low power. The world’s lowest power 32-bit MCU, the SAM L21, even saw the birth of a new sibling: the SAM L22. This particular board is feature-compatible with the SAM L21, but comes with an LCD controller and some nifty power-save features.

When it comes to IoT applications, performance plays an integral role so we spent time on the new low-power modes and security capabilities of the SAMA5D2. FAEs in a hurry could also complete the entire workshop and connect the SAMA5D2 to a cloud with the WILC1000 Wi-Fi module.

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To top off the event, we saw the debut of more wireless technologies with a complete 6LoWPAN stack emphasising security and authentication with Atmel’s wide range of CryptoAuthentication engines.

Still wondering if IoT is a big thing at Atmel? Well, duh! Between low-power MCUs, all major wireless connectivity protocols, security layers and a cloud ecosystem in place, we’ve got each of the necessary pillars covered.

Big thanks to Atmel’s training team, distributors, and of course, FAEs for making this event such a great success! Until next time!

Adafruit debuts the Feather 32U4 Adalogger


The Feather 32U4 Adalogger is Adafruit’s take on an all-in-one datalogger.


Remember when we brought you a first-ever look at Adafruit’s new lineup of Feather boards back at World Maker Faire? Well, as Ladyada herself promised, the new dev boards are thin, light and ready to let your imagination fly! Following the recent debut of the Feather 32U4 Basic Protothe team has unveiled the latest addition to its family: the Feather 32U4 Adalogger

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The Adalogger is Adafruit’s take on an all-in-one datalogger (or data-reader) with USB, battery charging and a microSD card holder. As it name would suggest, the board is based on an ATmega32U4 clocked at 8MHz and at 3.3V logic, with 32K of Flash and 2K of RAM. And since it features native USB support, not only does it boast built-in USB-to-Serial programming and debugging capabilities, it can also act like a mouse, keyboard and MIDI device.

As Adafruit notes, they’ve gone ahed and added a connector for a 3.7V LiPo along with an integrated 100mA battery charger. However, the Adalogger can run just fine via microUSB.

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“But, if you do have a battery, you can take it on the go, then plug in the USB to recharge,” the team writes. “The Feather will automatically switch over to USB power when its available. We also tied the battery through a divider to an analog pin, so you can measure and monitor the battery voltage to detect when you need a recharge.”

Measuring only 2.0″ x 0.9″ x 0.28” without headers soldered, the Feather weighs roughly five grams. The board has plenty of pins (20 GPIO), with eight PWM and 10 analog inputs, four mounting holes, a power/enable pin and a reset button. Capitalizing on the little space that was left over, the Adalogger packs microSD slot and a green LED.

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The 32U4 Adalogger comes fully assembled and tested, with a USB bootloader that lets you quickly use it with the Arduino IDE. Sound like the $21 board for you? Head over to its official page. Meanwhile, stay tuned as Adafruit continues to reveal the newest members of the Feather family here.

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!

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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.

DIPDuino is Arduino-compatible board in a DIP32 package


DIPDuino is an Arduino-compatible board that combines a number of useful interfaces in one DIP32 package.


While the idea of having an entire MCU platform in a DIP format isn’t all that new,  Alex Gornostayev just wasn’t satisfied with some of those on the market today, like the Teensy and Arduino Nano. And so, the Maker decided to create his own Arduino-compatible board that crams many useful interfaces all into one easy-to-use DIP32 package.

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The aptly named DIPDuino goes a step further than most of today’s breakout boards. Based an ATmega1284RFR2 along with a 2.4GHz ZigBee transceiver, the unit is equipped with a 128×32-pixel OLED display, a microSD card reader, a serial FTDI port, 1MB of SRAM, a full JTAG debugger port, USB and pin power supply, LEDs, and a stabilized 3V and 3.6V power output.

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Looking ahead, Gornostayev is planning on using the board for a number of DIY projects, ranging from an OLED watch to a weather station and a home automation system. Aside from that, one of his friends even wants to build a DIPDuino-based RepRap controller. The possibilities are endless! However, first he would like to improve its software so that the firmware can be programmed and updated from an SD card.

“I want to be able to be able to program DIPDuino from SD card. Just save BIN file on SD card and boot the device. The bootloader must be able to flash the firmware and it does not look too complicated. (I call this project ‘DIPBoot’).”

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“I want to implement a simple BASIC translator for DIPDuino to be able to write programs in BASIC using simple text editor, save it on SD card and execute it form file on DIPDuino (which will be DIPBasic in this case),” Gornostayev adds. “This is really cool, because I will be to write programs on any devices, including smartphones or even DIPDuino itself, and execute them without any compilers and connections.”

Intrigued? Read more about the project on its Hackaday.io page here.

The Metro Mini is a tiny dev board powered by an ATmega328


The brainchild of Adafruit, Metro Mini is an easy-to-use, breadboard-friendy chip with USB-to-Serial built in.


Inspired by the countless years of tinkering around with AVR MCUs, Adafruit has unveiled a brand-spanking new, tiny development board for Makers. Dubbed Metro Mini, the breadboard-friendly, easy-to-use chip can be programmed with the Arduino IDE.

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Based on the versatile ATmega328, the Metro Mini packs 32KB of Flash, 2KB of RAM, a clock speed of 16Mhz and comes pre-loaded with the Optiboot bootloader. The slick black and gold unit includes 20 GPIO pins — six of which are analog as well and two reserved for the USB-Serial converter. What’s more, there is also total of six PWMs available on three timers.

“We sure love the ATmega328 here at Adafruit, and we use them a lot for our own projects. The processor has plenty of GPIO, analog inputs, hardware UART SPI and I2C, timers and PWM galore – just enough for most simple projects,” the Adafruit crew writes. “When we need to go small, we use a Pro Trinket 3V or 5V, but if you want to have USB-to-Serial built in, we reach for an Adafruit Metro Mini.”

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Another nice feature is that, measuring just 0.7″ x 1.7″ x 0.2″ in size, the Metro Mini is small enough to be implemented in a wide range of projects. In addition, the device boasts 5V on-board regulator with 150mA out and 3.3V 50mA available via its FTDI chip. Rounding out the beautifully-designed piece are a series of four indicator LEDs for easy debugging and hardware SPI, I2C and UART-to-USB ports.

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“The Metro Mini comes as a fully assembled and tested board, with bootloader burned in and also a stick of 0.1″ header,” Adafruit notes. “Some light soldering is required if you’d like to plug it into a breadboard, or you can solder wires or header directly to the breakout pads.”

Sound like a dev board for your next project? Head over to its official page here to get started. Looking for something just a little bit bigger? You can always try its larger sibling, the Metro.

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