Tag Archives: Microduino

Rewind: 27 STEM kits from 2015


These STEM toys from 2015 are helping to inspire the next generation of Makers.


STEM education has been a growing venture in schools across the country, with even the President himself making it a priority to encourage students as young as grade-school to pursue the science, technology, engineering and math disciplines. After all, these fields are changing the world rapidly within the areas of innovation, economic growth and employment. But let’s face it; these subjects don’t come easy to everyone, so how do we instill STEM in kids?

With this in mind, many startups have sought out new and exciting ways to entice the younger generation to explore their creativity and develop an interest in hands-on learning. Testament to that, here are several products from 2015 looking to inspire the next generation of Makers.

littleBits Gizmos & Gadgets

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The Gizmos & Gadgets Kit is the ultimate invention toolbox, complete with motors, wheels, lights , switches, servos, buzzers and even the tools to build a remote control.

Jewelbots

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Jewelbots are programmable friendship bracelets that teach girls the basics of coding.

Thimble

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Thimble is a monthly subscription service that delivers fun electronic projects with guided tutorials and a helpful community.

Touch Board Starter Kit

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Bare Conductive’s Touch Board Starter Kit contains everything you need to transform surfaces, objects or spaces into sensors.

Makey Makey GO

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Small enough to fit on your keychain, backpack or bracelet, Makey Makey GO turns everyday objects into touchpads and combines them with the Internet. Say hello to the world’s first invention kit.

RePhone

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RePhone from Seeed Studio allows Makers to create a phone themselves in minutes and hack a new way to communicate with things.

mBot

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mBot is an all-in-one, Arduino-compatible robot that supports wireless communication and employs Scratch 2.0-like coding.

Ringo

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Ringo is a miniature digital pet robot equipped with an accelerometer, a gyrosocope, six RGB LEDs, as well as sound and communication sensors.

Wink

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Wink is an Arduino-driven robot designed to help transition students from graphical programming to more powerful written code languages. It’s also the sibling of the aforementioned Ringo.

Kano

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Kano is a computer and coding kit for all ages that’s as simple as LEGO, powered by Raspberry Pi.

Primo Cubetto

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Primo Cubetto is a smart wooden robot designed to teach kids the basics of coding away from the screen.

Petduino

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Petduino puts a DIY twist on the old-school Tamagotchi.

STEMI

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STEMI is a hexapod that can be built right at home and controlled via smartphone.

mCookie

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mCookies are quarter-sized, stackable modules from Microduino that enable young Makers to bring their LEGO projects to life.

Modulo

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Modulo is a set of tiny modular circuit boards that takes the hassle out of electronics.

The Crafty Robot

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The Crafty Robot is a paper toy unlike any other — plug it into a USB port for 30 seconds, unplug it and you’ve got a moving robot.

Kamigami

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Kamigami is an origami-style robot you can construct and program by yourself. Each one can be configured with a unique set of behaviors and characteristics through a drag-and-drop interface.

Phiro

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Phiro is a LEGO-compatible robotics toy that children can play with, code and innovate in various ways.

Quirkbot

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With Quirkbot, young Makers can devise and configure quirky robots (hence its name), blinking outfits and weird sounding creatures out of regular drinking straws.

Cannybots

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Cannybots are LEGO-compatible, smart toy cars that introduce kids to the worlds of robotics, programming and 3D printing.

3DRacers

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3DRacers is a Mario Kart-like indoor racing game that lets anyone design and 3D print their own car.

Volta Flyer

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Volta Flyer is the world’s first DIY airplane kit that is solely powered by the sun.

Roby

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Roby is a 3D-printed robotic machine that not only drives on four wheels, but can walk on two. If it falls, it can even pick itself up again with its pair of arms.

O Watch

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O Watch is a DIY smartwatch for a kid, by a kid.

LocoRobo

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LocoRobo is a cute, inexpensive robot capable of being wirelessly programmed.

KamiBot

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KamiBot is a programmable, smartphone-controlled paper robot.

Pixel Pals

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Pixel Pals are easy-to-build, fun educational kits that grow from a project to a friend you can program.

Fiat Lux

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Fiat Lux is an Arduino-compatible kit specifically designed for unique wearable projects.

AZIBOt

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AZIBOt is an open source, 3D-printed robot kit for STEM education in Africa.

Rewind: Atmel @ World Maker Faire 2015


Maker Faire New York, Maker Faire New York — a show (and tell) so good we had to say it twice.


Ah, Maker Faire. The only place that can you find everything from a 30-foot-tall, flame-throwing robot and a life-sized game of Mousetrap to a pancake printing machine and a floating head choir that sings when you press their keys.

Over the weekend of September 26th and 27th, tinkerers, modders and hackers of all ages flocked a jam-packed Atmel booth housed inside the always popular Maker Pavilion. There, we showcased a number of gizmos and gadgets that have successfully made its way “From the MakerSpace to the MarketPlace.” Meaning, this particular batch of startups have demonstrated what it takes to bring an idea from mere prototype to full-blown product, many by way of crowdfunding. Among those on display included the Kickstarter sensation and wrist-friendly Keyboardio, the credit-card sized gaming system Arduboy, 14-year-old Quin Etnyre and his Qduino Mini, former Pixar engineer Erin Thompson’s Modulo boards, Microduino’s super LEGO-like modules, and Zippy Robotics’ soon-to-launch Prometheus PCB milling machine. Oh, and who could forget big names like Bosch, Arduino and the one-and-only Massimo Banzi, too?

When it came to projects driven by our mighty AVR and Atmel | SMART MCUs, it didn’t stop at our booth either. In fact, countless others throughout the fairegrounds proudly showed off their embedded creations, with some of them even paying a special visit to our tent like PancakeBot, Zymbit, Dr.Duino and eight-year-old CEO Omkar Govil-Nair with his Arduino-based O Watch, to name just a few. On top of all that, several Atmel team members — Bob Martin, Henrik Flodell, Sander Arts and Artie Beavis — took the World Maker Faire stage to talk prototyping, Arduino, debugging, STEM and how to take your product mainstream.

So with another incredible event in the books, let’s take one last look back before flipping the page to Rome!

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A first look at Maker Faire New York 2015


Heading to the New York Hall of Science this weekend? You’ll find some big names inside the Atmel booth.


Are you excited? We sure are! Atmel is getting ready to take center stage at the 6th Annual World Maker Faire in New York City this weekend, September 26th and 27th. And boy, are we in for a treat! This year will surely be yet another amazing event with more than 830 Makers and 85,000 attendees expected to flock the New York Hall of Science. Once again, as a Silversmith Sponsor of the show, we’ll be shining the spotlight on a wide range of AVR and Atmel | SMART powered projects inside our booth.

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Our team is currently en route to Flushing Meadows, where you will soon find us setting up our space in Zone 3. (Program guide available here.) Over the two-day span, we will be showcasing a wide range of gizmos and gadgets from DIYers and startups who have successfully taken their idea from the ‘MakerSpace to MarketPlace.’ Among the names you will see:

Arduino

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Found at the heart of the Maker community, Arduino is an open-source electronics platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software.

Arduboy

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Arduboy is an open source, credit card-sized device for people to play, create and share their favorite 8-bit games.

Keyboardio

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Keyboardio‘s Model 01 is an heirloom-grade keyboard for serious typists, which features a beautiful hardwood body, an advanced ergonomic design, and is fully programmable with the Arduino IDE.

Microduino

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Microduino are quarter-sized, stackable building blocks that allow Makers of all ages and skill levels to bring robots, music boxes and countless other projects to life.

Modulo

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Modulo is a set of tiny modular boards that takes the hassle out of building electronics, giving Makers the ability to develop custom electronics for their project without having to design and assemble circuits from scratch.

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Quin Etnyre is a 14-year-old Maker, teacher and entrepreneur, who fell in love with Arduino after attending his first Maker Faire at the age of 10. The whiz kid recently successfully funded his Qduino Mini, an Arduino-compatible tiny board with a built-in battery charger and monitor.

Zippy Robotics

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Prometheus from Zippy Robotics lets Makers create real circuit board right from their desktop in just minutes.

Bosch

Bosch Sensotec has developed a prototype indoor navigation device based on Arduino and the BNO055 sensor, which will enable firefighters to quickly escape from dangerous dark or smoke-filled structures.

And that’s not all…

Look who’s talking now!

Don’t miss Atmel’s Henrik Flodell as he explores the ways to Take Your Arduino Prototype to the Next Level on Saturday from 11:00am-11:30am on the MAKE: Electronics stage. He will be immediately followed by the Wizard of Make Bob Martin who will demonstrate how to Stretch Your Arduino Environment to Get the Visibility You Need

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On Sunday, Atmel VP of Marketing Sander Arts will hop on the MAKE: Electronics stage at 11:30am to reveal how Makers with an entrepreneurial spirit can Turn Their Prototype Into a Business. Several hours later at 4:00pm, Atmel Head of Social Media Artie Beavis will moderate a lively discussion between Bob Martin, 14-year-old CEO Quin Etnyre, Arduino’s Tom Igoe and Dr. Michael Wang on the ways Arduino Opens New Doors for Educators and Students.

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Go behind the scenes!

You don’t have to be a reader of EDN.com to enjoy a unique meet-up hosted by the site’s LEDitor-in-Chief Lee Goldberg, which will taking place on Saturday 10:30am. The VIP walking tour will take you backstage several of the event’s most interesting exhibits, namely Atmel. You’ll also walk away with tons of t-shirts, evaluation kits and lots of other cool swag.

Those wishing to participate are encouraged to meet in front of the rocket-shaped “Forms in Transit” sculpture, located at the traffic circle that’s just beyond the main entrance. The actual tour of the Faire grounds will kick off at 11:00am sharp! With only 25 spots available, reservations are strongly recommended. To RSVP, write Lee at LEDitor@green-electronics.com.

Can’t ‘make’ it to the Faire? Don’t worry!

You can always follow @Atmel live on Twitter for the latest updates, trends and happenings. What’s more, we’ll even be bringing the show to you live via Periscope. Stay tuned!

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mCookies are Arduino and LEGO-compatible modules


These quarter-sized, stackable, Arduino and LEGO-compatible modules allow Makers to bring their ideas to life. 


If there’s one trend that is continuing to evolve throughout the Maker Movement, it’s modularity. DIYers are constantly seeking expedited and efficient ways to piece together their projects, all while bringing their ideas to life without the hassles of soldering and wiring messes. Joining the likes of littleBits and Modulo, the Microduino crew has launched mCookie — a small, stackable electronic hardware kit for designers, engineers and curious tinkerers of any age and skill set.

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You may recall their first Kickstarter campaign from back in September 2013, which went on to garner well over its pledge goal in just a matter of days. Since then, Microduino has developed over 50 blocks and 30 sensors, and has granted users access to more than 100 basic tutorials, 500 project samples and a burgeoning online community.

Hoping to continue riding its wave of success, the next-generation of Microduino consists of quarter-sized hardware components inspired by the incredibly popular Arduino platform that not only connect magnetically, but can be built into predesigned projects or used to innovate new ones as well. Each open source module is color-coded and is designed to be stacked on top of a main processor to perform one core function — whether that’s expanding Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities, GPS and sensor hubs, audio and battery management, or a core USB.

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As its creators note, there are three microcontroller modules in the mCookie series, all of which powered by Atmel. The CoreUSB is built around the ATmega32U4, while the Core and Core+ are driven by an ATmega328P and ATmega644PA, respectively.

Ultimately, these components will provide users with the ability to build any number of projects, ranging from drones and robots to wearables and smart gardening gadgets. Helping speed up the development process, these devices can be programmed using Arduino IDE and integrated into existing Arduino sketches of all kinds. Aside from that, the modules are even LEGO-compatible and only fit together when the right connection is formed, making them more accessible to people of all ages and eliminating the need for soldering.

Meanwhile, for projects that require a little more reinforcement, spring pins offer rugged surface-to-surface linkage between circuit boards for an extended usable lifetime, and M2 screws can be employed to securely fasten more robust designs. Not only geared towards beginners, experienced and well-seasoned Makers can write their own programs in the Arduino IDE and transmit that program to the hardware via USB, too.

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mCookie comes in a variety of packages, including Basic, Advanced and Expert kits, each of which bundles different boards and sensors. So whether you’re looking for a fast and simple way to devise a remote-controlled LEGO car, a Wi-Fi weather station or even a DIY quadcopter, mCookie is for you. With its incredibly popular crowdfunding campaign complete, Microduino expects to begin shipping units by the end of July 2015.

25 dev boards to help you get started on your next IoT project


A closer look at some of today’s most popular development boards to help you get started on your next IoT design.


With billions of everyday objects expected to become Internet-enabled over the next couple of years, Makers are continually seeking new ways to add connectivity to their designs. As a result, hobbyists and engineers are turning to a wide range of IoT development boards and platforms to better accelerate and ease the process.

Being at the heart of the IoT and all, we’ve decided to compile a list of just some of today’s most popular, Atmel powered ones that will surely help as you embark on your next prototype or project. (Keep in mind, there are countless others, with new ones popping up on the daily!)

SAM R21 Xplained Pro

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The Atmel | SMART SAM R21 Xplained Pro is a hardware platform to evaluate the ATSAMR21G18A microcontroller. Supported by the Atmel Studio integrated development platform, the kit provides easy access to the features of the Atmel ATSAMR21G18A and explains how to integrate the device in a custom design. The Xplained Pro MCU series evaluation kits include an on-board Embedded Debugger, and no external tools are necessary to program or debug the ATSAMR21G18A. A great option for those developing an 802.15.4/ZigBee design.

Arduino Uno

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The Arduino Uno R3 is a microcontroller board based on the ATmega328. It has 14 digital input/output pins (of which six can be used as PWM outputs), six analog inputs, a 16 MHz crystal oscillator, a USB connection, a power jack, an ICSP header, and a reset button. Simply connect it to a computer via a USB cable or power it with a AC-to-DC adapter or battery to get started.

Arduino Yún

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The Arduino Yún is a microcontroller board based on the ATmega32U4 and the Atheros AR9331. The board comes with built-in Ethernet and Wi-Fi support, along with a USB-A port, microSD card slot, 20 digital input/output pins (of which seven can be used as PWM outputs and 12 as analog inputs), a 16 MHz crystal oscillator, a micro USB connection, an ICSP header, and three reset buttons. What’s more, Facebook’s Parse recently unveiled a new line of SDKs for connected devices with the first Arduino SDK targeted for the Yún.

Arduino Pro Mini

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Intended for semi-permanent installation in connected objects, the Arduino Pro Mini is based on the ATmega328. The board boasts 14 digital input/output pins (of which six can be used as PWM outputs), six analog inputs, an on-board resonator, a reset button, and holes for mounting pin headers. A six-pin header can be connected to an FTDI cable or Sparkfun breakout board to provide USB power and communications.

Arduino Nano

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The Arduino Nano is a small, breadboard-friendly board based on the ATmega328. The microcontroller has more or less the same functionality of the Arduino Duemilanove, but in a different package. It lacks a DC power jack, and works with a Mini-B USB cable instead of a standard one.

Pinoccio

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With an Atmel ATmega256RFR2 at its core, Pinoccio is a wireless, web-ready MCU packed with Wi-Fi, LiPo battery and a built-in radio. Each unit can communicate with one another using a mesh network, making them 14 times more efficient than standard Wi-Fi devices.

TinyDuino

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The TinyCircuits TinyDuino is an Arduino-compatible, ATmega328P based board in an ultra-compact package that provides Makers with the full power of an Uno in a size that’s less than a quarter.

UDOO

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UDOO is a multi-development platform solution for Android, Linux, Arduino and Google ADK 2012. The board, which is built upon an ARM Cortex-A9 CPU and Atmel | SMART SAM3X8E ARM Cortex-M3 CPU, is designed to provide a flexible environment that lets Makers explore the new frontiers of the Internet of Things and switch between Linux and Android in a matter of seconds, simply by replacing the MicroSD card and rebooting the system.

Libelium Waspmote

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Waspmote is an open-source, ATmega1281 based wireless sensor platform specially focused on the implementation of low consumption modes to enable the sensor nodes to be completely autonomous and battery powered, offering a variable lifetime between one and five years depending on the duty cycle and the radio used.

The AirBoard

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The AirBoard is a thumb-sized, all-in-one MCU designed for ultra-fast prototyping on IoT projects. The open-source board is equipped with an ATmega328P and pre-loaded with the standard Arduino Fio bootloader. The wireless-friendly computer supports automatic over-the-air programming via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or XBee, and can be controlled by smartphone or the web.

Tessel 2

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Tessel 2 is an affordable, accessible and robust development platform that lets Makers build connected hardware devices. The board packs built-in Wi-Fi, an Ethernet jack, a pair of USB ports, and a system that runs real Node.js/io.js. Meanwhile, it employs a processor/coprocessor architecture, combining an Atmel | SMART SAM D21 Cortex M0+ MCU to control I/O and a Mediatek MT7260n Wi-Fi router SoC to run user code, host USB devices and handle the network connections.

panStamps

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panStamps are small wireless modules programmable within the Arduino IDE. Each module contains an Atmega328P MCU and an RF interface, providing the necessary connectivity and processing power to create autonomous low-power wireless motes.

Flutter

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Flutter is a $36 wireless Arduino with a half-mile range that lets users develop mesh networking protocols and connected devices in an efficient yet inexpensive manner. It’s perfect for robotics, consumer electronics, wireless sensor networks, and educational platforms. Flutter is packed with a powerful Atmel | SMART SAM3S Cortex-M3 processor, while an ATSHA204 crypto engine keeps it protected from digital intruders.

SODAQ

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SODAQ is a LEGO-like rapid prototyping board driven by an ATmega328P that gives Makers and engineers the ability to easily connect a wide variety of sensors and devices to the Internet efficiently. With its solar powered data acquisition technology, data can be collected virtually anywhere and seamlessly transferred to the web.

IMUduino BTLE

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Billed as the smallest Arduino Leonardo compatible clone, the IMUduino includes an ATmega32U4 at its core, as well as USB keyboard/mouse emulation, on-board Bluetooth LE, real-time orientation and motion sensing IMU, as well as a 10V max voltage regulator.

SparkFun RedBoard

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The SparkFun RedBoard combines the simplicity of the Arduino Uno’s Optiboot bootloader, the stability of the FTDI and the R3 shield compatibility of the latest Arduino Uno. The ATmega328 based board can be programmed over a USB Mini-B cable using the Arduino IDE.

XinoRF

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The XinoRF is an Arduino-compatible electronics development board with an onboard 2-way Ciseco SRF data radio, which supports over-the-air programming, features built-in wireless capabilities and is powered by an ATmega328P.

The Rascal

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The Rascal is a small, AT91SAM9G20 powered computer that Makers can use to monitor and control their connected world remotely. In addition, it features its own web-based editor on-board, is compatible with most Arduino shields, and can be programmed in Python.

Microduino

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Microduino is a quarter-sized Arduino-like board with an ATmega328P at its heart. With a unique UPin-27 pinout, Microduino’s plug-and-play modules can be easily stacked together to add functionalities.

Nanode

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Nanode is an open-source, Arduino-like board that is equipped with built-in Internet connectivity and based on an ATmega328P. The low-cost, upgradeable board is ideal for those looking to bring their IoT ideas to life.

OpenKontrol Gateway

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The OpenKontrol Gateway is an ATmega328 driven kit that enables communication between many common mediums and protocols. It is totally compatable with the Arduino IDE and supports Wi-Fi, low-power RF, Ethernet and Bluetooth. Beyond that, it can be configured with on-board SRAM, an SD card, a real-time clock, and a coin-cell battery and sports an FTDI programming port.

Arietta G25

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Arietta G25 is an uber-mini system-on-module powered by a SAM9G25 ARM9 processor. The 20mm x 50mm board, which was developed with the Maker community in mind, is ideal for low-power, embedded gadgets and other DIY IoT devices.

WIOT

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WIOT is an open-source, rechargeable development board for the Internet of Things built around the ATmega32U4. WIOT also boasts integrated Wi-Fi capabilities through an on-board ESP8266 module.

SmartEverything

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SmartEverything is a dev board equipped with sensor options, communication interfaces and connection to the cloud for IoT designs. An Atmel | SMART ARM Cortex-M0+ based CPU USB host orchestrator chip manages traffic between peripherals, while an Atmel CryptoAuthentication device (ATSHA204) enables the implementation of a full security SHA-256 hash algorithm with message authentication code. The board utilizes the SIGFOX global network cellular connectivity solution to enable access to the IoT.

Apio

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Apio is an open-source IoT platform, which lets Makers and designers create their own smart systems and connected objects in a matter of minutes. It is comprised of two USB devices, the General and Dongle, both of which are based on an ATmega256RFR2 and ATmega16U2, along with a custom operating system and SDK.

LightBlue Bean

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The LightBlue Bean is a Bluetooth Low Energy, Arduino-compatible microcontroller. Using Bluetooth 4.0, it is wirelessly programmed, runs on a coin cell battery and is perfect for smartphone-controlled projects. Powered by an ATmega328P, the board features a three-axis accelerometer, a temperature sensor, an RGB LED, and includes iOS, OS X and Windows 8 support.

Build your own Pebble Smartwatch


Why buy the latest smartwatch when you can make one yourself with off-the-shelf components and breakout boards? 


Despite the ongoing craze for wearable technology, most notably smartwatches, a number of young Makers are finding that can sometimes be a bit out of their price range. Rather than having to tirelessly scalvage funds and spend their savings, tinkerers like Jonathan Cook are electing to create their own devices. The aptly named Open-Source SmartWatch combines readily available breakout boards, careful soldering and a 3D-printed frame to make a one-of-a-kind timepiece that displays notifications from your smartphone, not to mention is easily customizable in function and pleasing to the eye. Aside from already being crowned winner of last year’s Arduino Challenge and having garnered “Maker of Merit” ribbons at Maker Faires, Cook recently featured his DIY accessory on MAKE: Magazine.

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As the Maker notes, the watch design is pretty straightforward, consisting of four major components housed in a 3D-printed case: a battery charging circuit, vibrating motor for silent alerts, a programmable Microduino Core+ (ATmega644PA/ATmega1284P) with power regulation and BLE connectivity, and an OLED display with push-buttons.

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“Breadboarding the project is a snap. Wiring it into a small enclosure meant for the wrist is quite another matter. Break out your fine-point soldering iron and follow these complete instructions.” As for its programmable core, Cook connected the Microduino board to a programming port, a BLE chip for communicating with a wearer’s mobile device, and a voltage regulating circuit.

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“A 3.7V 500mAh LiPo battery is wired to a JST connector and a two-position switch. Switched to the right, the circuit is in battery mode. Switched left, it’s ready for LiPo charging via the JST connector.”

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Meanwhile, the Open-Souce SmartWatch’s vibrator circuit is comprised of a diode, 1K and 33Ω resistors, capacitor, NPN transistor, and motor. The circuit is then connected to the megaAVR based Microduino, which enables the device to buzz the wrist for an incoming call or alerts. Speaking of which, in addition to the typical time and date functionality as seen on any watch, Cook has sought out to develop an interface that any smartwatch wearer would want such as email access, Facebook notifications, Twitter updates, among a number of other features. Rounding out the design, the Maker implemented an OLED screen and a pair of tiny LEDs that are wired to seven of the digital pins on the ‘duino.

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Those interested in learning more about the 3D-printed smartwatch can access a detailed step-by-step breakdown of the build here.

Atmel based smartwatch shines at Maker Faire Rome

Jonathan Cook’s Atmel based BLE smart watch has now not only been named the official winner of MAKE‘s Arduino Challenge, but has collected a “Maker of Merit” ribbon at Maker Faire — The European Edition recently held in Rome.

Powered by an ATmega644PA Microduino Core and an ATmega1284P microcontroller (MCU), the device features Bluetooth LE connectivity and in true Maker style, a 3D-printed case. As Cook notes, “The core of the watch consists of three small boards: A Microduino Core +, a Bluegiga BLE112 chip, and a voltage regulator.”

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“The watch is the latest iteration of an ongoing BLE watch endeavor Cook has been exploring for the past nine months,” MAKE Magazine’s Mike Senese explained in a recent article.

In addition to the typical time and date functionality as seen in any watch, the Maker has sought out to develop an interface that any smartwatch wearer would want — email access, Facebook notification, Twitter updates, etc.

When he first started his project, Cook claimed that he had a series of goals in mind, such as building 100% Arduino-compatible hardware, insuring sufficient program memory, featuring at least one day’s worth of battery life, including BLE as both central and peripheral, and keeping it in a compact, convenient size.

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Those interested in learning more about the 3D-printed smartwatch can access a detailed step-by-step breakdown of the build here.