Tag Archives: Microsoft

The Arduino MKR1000 rolls the Zero and Wi-Fi Shield all into one

The World’s Largest Arduino Maker Challenge will award 1,000 finalists with the newly-announced MKR1000 boards.

Well, the Arduino/Genuino family has just gained another member. Everyone, meet the MKR1000MKR1000, meet the ever-growing Maker community.


This MKR1000 is a powerful board that combines the functionality of the Zero (Atmel | SMART SAM D21) and the connectivity of the Wi-Fi Shield. It is based on the ATSAMW25 — an Atmel SmartConnect edge node module specifically geared towards IoT — and offers the ideal solution for Makers seeking Wi-Fi connectivity with minimal previous experience in networking.

The combination of 32-bit computational power like the Zero, the usual rich set of I/O interfaces, low-power Wi-Fi with a CryptoAuthentication chip for secure communication, and the ease of use of the Arduino IDE make this board the perfect choice for emerging IoT battery-powered projects in a compact form factor. It should be noted, however, that unlike most Arduino and Genuinos, the MKR1000 runs at 3.3V.

Other key specs include:

  • MCU: Atmel | SMART SAMD21 Cortex-M0+
  • Power Supply: 5V
  • Flash: 256KB
  • SRAM: 32KB
  • Clock Speed: 32KHz, 32.768KHz, 8MHz and 48Mhz
  • Supported Battery: Li-Po single-cell, 3.7V, 700mAh minimum
  • Digital I/O Pins: 8
  • PWM Pins: 4 (D2-D5)
  • UART: 1
  • SPI: 1
  • I2C: 1
  • Analog Input Pins: 7 (ADC 8/10/12-bit)
  • Analog Output Pins: 1 (DAC 10-bit)
  • External Interrupts: 8
  • DC Current Per I/O Pin: 7mA

The newly-revealed board will be available for purchase beginning in February 2016; however, you can be one of the first 1,000 people to lay their hands on the MKR1000 by participating in the World’s Largest Arduino Maker Challenge, a collaboration between Hackster.IO, Microsoft, Adafruit and Atmel.

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This contest is designed to celebrate the burgeoning Maker community with exclusive prizes. Inventors, artists, hobbyists, professionals and developers alike are encouraged to create an innovative and original IoT application, ranging from environmental sensors to gaming, to augmented reality, to robotics or drones using the power of Arduino.cc boards and Windows 10.

The 1,000 Makers who submit the best project ideas will receive the brand-spanking new Arduino MKR1000 (U.S. only) and Genuino MKR1000 (outside the U.S.) boards. Earn bonus points by tapping into the power of the Microsoft Azure cloud to capture, analyze and visualize your data with Azure IoT Suite, Azure IoT Hub, Stream Analytics and Machine Learning.

From there, three finalists submitting the best completed projects will be awarded with a fully-funded trip to either Maker Faire Shenzhen, New York or Rome, a chance to present their creation at the Microsoft and the Arduino and Genuino booths, a professional video production of the project, as well as a whopping $500 gift certificate to Adafruit.


The World’s Largest Arduino Maker Challenge is now live, and those wishing to partake in the contest can sign up/log into Hackster and enter to win the new MKR1000 board by pitching their idea.

Microsoft reportedly set to launch a wearable device in weeks

After rumors of a Microsoft smartwatch first surfaced back in July, Forbes has reported that the company is indeed getting ready to launch a wearable device within the next few weeks.

(Source: USPTO; CNN Money)

(Source: USPTO; CNN Money)

If you recall, Tom’s Hardware hinted that the smartwatch would be equipped with 11 sensors and feature a 1.5-inch display that would actually be located inside the user’s wrist, as it possesses a more natural look and feel.

The gadget will be a smartwatch that will “passively track a wearer’s heart rate and work across different mobile platforms,” Forbes writes. Supposedly, the device will also boast a battery life of more than two days of regular use — a frequently cited factor in the consumer purchase decision process.

“Motorola’s [Atmel MXT112S powered] Moto 360 smartwatch also has a continuous heart rate monitor and has been praised for its stylish design, but the battery tends to last for just 24 hours based on various reviews. Some wearables like the Pebble and Jawbone Up24 boast batteries that last for days or even weeks at a time, but that becomes impossible when a device features a color display like the Apple Watch or Gear,” Forbes notes.

The recent Forbes report also emphasized that the device will work across different platforms, which is consistent with CEO Satya Nadella’s attempt to widen the company’s product offerings “across all devices.” This meaning that the new wearable will not only be compatible with Windows Phone devices, but Android and iOS handsets as well. When announced, the gadget will mark the company’s first attempt in the category under Nadella.

It’s no surprise Microsoft is looking towards wearable computing; after all, analysts predict the market to be worth $12.6 billion in 2018, with an anticipated 100 million smartwatches to be in use worldwide by 2019. Furthermore, businesses will look to integrate more than 13 million wearable devices with embedded wireless connectivity into their wellness plans over this time period.

“Microsoft’s legacy in machine learning through Microsoft Research could also point to a future business model for a health-tracking device — that is, if it chooses to exploit its close ties with enterprise customers.”

The Tom’s Hardware report in July added that Microsoft’s smartwatch will have a resemblance to a thinner, flatter version of the Nike Fuelband. We guess we’ll just have to stay tuned until its launch to find out more!


Microsoft may mass produce super-sized touchscreens

Remember the “Big-Ass Table,” which first surfaced nearly seven years ago? Even if not, chances are that you’ve seen them before. CNN has one it dubs the “Magic Wall,” while Fox News recently unveiled 55-inch touschcreens of its own. Though Microsoft officials haven’t said a whole lot about its Perceptive Pixel (PPI) displays, the large touchscreen display that can stretch up to 82 inches in size, it appears that it may soon get more visibility in the company’s product line-up.

(Source: TechCrunch)

(Source: TechCrunch)

Speaking at Microsoft’s Australia Partner Conference, Executive Vice President of Devices Stephen Elop says the company is gearing up to “mass produce” its PPI displays. The reports indicate Microsoft wants to work these displays into the rest of the Windows ecosystem to make it as useful as any of their PCs or tablets — some of which are powered by Atmel microcontrollers — especially in collaborative scenarios.


“Microsoft’s intention to mass-produce the hardware means that it will sell touch-based screens of all sizes. With its Nokia hardware purchase, Microsoft sells touchscreens that are best suited for your pocket. With Surface, touchscreens that fit best inside your backpack. And with PPI displays, touchscreens that can only fit on a huge slab of open wall,” writes TechCrunch’s Alex Wilhelm.


Microsoft has not elaborated upon price at this phase, only noting that costs are dropping, but at the moment a 55-inch model is likely to set you back in the ballpark of $7,000, according to TechCrunch’s report.

Regardless, it looks like we’re not too far away from the generational shift of homes outfitted with gigantic touch-enabled, Minority Report-like displays.

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 teardown reveals…

The Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is a Surface-series Windows 8.1 tablet. Making its initial debut in May 2014, the first models began shipping on June 20, 2014.

The Surface Pro 3 features a 4th generation Intel Core processor, 12-inch display, multi-stage kickstand, redesigned type cover and a battery-powered Bluetooth pen.

Recently, the iFixit crew conducted a detailed teardown of Microsoft’s latest tablet, finding Atmel’s AT24C16 two-wire serial EEPROM, as well as Atmel’s UC256L3U 256KB Flash, 32-bit AVR microcontroller.

Interested in learning more about Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3? You can check out the tablet’s official product page here and iFixit’s full teardown here.

Readers may also want to check out some other recent teardowns featuring Atmel components, including the Narrative, Xiaomi MiPad and the Black & Decker Gyro screwdriver.

Inside Microsoft Surface Tablet

The folks at iFixit have taken a good look inside Microsoft’s new Windows RT-based Surface tablet. Of course, we’re happy that the tablet contains four of our maXTouch touchscreen controllers inside, three mXT154E devices and a mXT1386 device. It’ll be interesting to see how widely adopted the Surface might be in the workplace. We played with one recently, and found it very easy to type on the keyboard that’s integrated into the tablet cover. And, of course, there’s access to a version of Microsoft Office and other productivity apps.