Tag Archives: Modulo

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: 50 boards you’ll want to know about from 2015


Here’s a look at a bunch of boards that caught our attention over the last 12 months. Feel free to share your favorites below! 


“Hardware becomes a piece of culture that anyone can build upon, like a poem or a song.” – Massimo Banzi

Arduino Zero

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A 32-bit Arduino powered by the Atmel | SMART SAM D21.

Arduino Wi-Fi Shield 101

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An IoT shield with CryptoAuthentication that enables you to wirelessly connect your Arduino or Genuino with ease.

Arduino MKR1000

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A powerful board that combines the functionality of the Zero and the connectivity of the Wi-Fi Shield.

Atmel | SMART SAM L21

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A game-changing family of Cortex-M0+ MCUs that deliver power consumption down to 35 µA/MHz in active mode and 200nA in sleep mode.

BTLC1000

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An ultra-low power Bluetooth Smart SoC with an integrated ARM Cortex-M0 MCU and transceiver.

Atmel | SMART SAMA5D2

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An ARM Cortex-A5-based MPU that offers great features integrated into lower pin count packages, making it ideal for applications where security, power consumption and space constraints are key considerations.

Atmel | SMART SAM S70/E70

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An ARM Cortex-M7-based MCU with a floating point unit (FPU) that’s ideal for connectivity and general purpose industrial applications.

ATmegaS128

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A space-ready version of the popular ATmega128.

Adafruit Feather

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A new line of development boards that, like it’s namesake, are thin, light and let your ideas fly. Expect Feather to become a new standard for portable MCU cores.

Adafruit METRO 328

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An ATmega328-driven processor packed with plenty of GPIO, analog inputs, UART, SPI and I2C, timers, and PWM galore – just enough for most simple projects.

Arduino GEMMA

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A miniature wearable board based on the ATtiny85.

Adafruit Bluefruit LE Micro

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A board that rolls the versatility of the ATmega32U4 and the wireless connectivity of the SPI Bluefruit LE Friend all into one.

SparkFun Stepoko

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An Arduino-compatible, 3-axis control solution that runs grbl software.

SparkFun SAM D21 Breakout

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An Arduino-sized breakout for the ATSAMD21G18.

Bosch Sensortec BMF055

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A compact 9-axis motion sensor, which incorporates an accelerometer, a gyroscope and a magnetometer along with an Atmel | SMART SAM D20 ARM Cortex M0+ core.

BNO055 Xplained Pro

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A new extension board, which features a BNO055 intelligent 9-axis absolute orientation sensor, that connects directly to Atmel’s Xplained board making it ideal for prototyping projects for IoT apps.

SmartEverything

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A prototyping platform that combines SIGFOX, BLE, NFC, GPS and a suite of sensors. Essentially, it’s the Swiss Army knife for the IoT.

Qduino Mini

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A tiny, Arduino-compatible board with a built-in battery connector and charger built-in, as well as a fuel gauge.

Tessel 2

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A dev board with a SAM D21 coprocessor, reliable Wi-Fi, an Ethernet jack, two USB ports and a system that runs real Node.js/io.js.

LattePanda

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A Windows 10 single-board computer equipped with an Intel Atom x5-Z8300 Cherry Trail processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage and an ATmega32U4 coprocessor.

LightBlue Bean+

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An Arduino-compatible board that is programmed wirelessly using Bluetooth Low Energy.

Makey Makey GO

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A thumbdrive-shaped device that can transform ordinary objects into touch pads.

Hak8or

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An uber mini, DIY board based on an Atmel | SMART AT91SAM9N12 that runs Linux via a USB drive.

Modulo

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A set of tiny modular circuit boards that takes the hassle out of building electronics.

Microduino mCookie

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A collection of small, magnetically stackable modules that can bring your LEGO projects to life.

The AirBoard

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A compact, open source, wireless and power efficient dev board designed to learn, sketch and deploy prototypes out in the field.

Autonomo

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A matchbox-sized, Arduino-compatible MCU powered by a small solar panel.

Helium

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An integrated platform that brings the power of the cloud to the edge of the network, enabling you to observe, learn and capture actionable insights from existing physical ‘things’ in your environment.

Sense HAT

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An add-on for the Raspberry Pi equipped with a gyroscope, an accelerometer, a magnetometer, a temperature sensor, a barometric pressure sensor and a humidity sensor, as well as a five-button joystick and an 8×8 RGB LED matrix — all powered by an LED driver chip and an ATtiny88 running custom firmware.

Ardhat

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A HAT with an Arduino-compatible processor that responds quickly to real-time events, while letting the Raspberry Pi do all of the heavy lifting.

Wino

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A cost-effective, Arduino-compatible board with built-in Wi-Fi.

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A little board designed for wearable devices that features a BNO055, an ATmega328P and a CR2032 coin-cell battery.

 XeThru X2M200 and X2M300

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A pair of adaptive smart sensor modules that can monitor human presence, respiration and other vital information.

LinkIt Smart 7688 Duo

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An Arduino Yún-friendly platform powered by an ATmega32U4 and MediaTek MT7688 SoC.

Piccolino

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A small, inexpensive controller with an embedded OLED display and Wi-Fi connectivity that you can program using existing tools like the Arduino IDE.

ZeroPi

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A next-generation, Arduino and Raspberry Pi-compatible dev kit for robotic motion structure systems and 3D printers that boasts an Atmel | SMART SAM D21 at its core.

CryptoShield

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A dedicated security peripheral for the Arduino and was made in collaboration with SparkFun’s previous hacker-in-residence, Josh Datko. This shield adds specialized ICs that perform various cryptographic operations which will allow you to add a hardware security layer to your Arduino project.

ZYMKEY

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An add-on board that makes it easy to secure your Raspberry Pi and Linux applications.

Flip & Click

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A two-sided, Arduino-like board with an AT91SAM3X8E for its heart.

ChipWhisperer-Lite

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An open source toolchain for embedded hardware security research including side-channel power analysis and glitching. The board uses a Spartan 6 LX9, along with a 105 MS/s ADC, low-noise amplifier, an Atmel | SMART SAM3U chip for high-speed USB communication, MOSFETs for glitch generation and an XMEGA128 as a target device.

KeyDuino

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An Arduino Leonardo-like board with built-in NFC that lets you replace your keys with any smartphone, NFC ring or proximity card.

Neutrino

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An inexpensive, open source and shrunken-down version of the Arduino Zero that boasts a 32-bit ATSAMD21G18 running at 48MHz and packing 32K of RAM.

WIOT

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An open source, Arduino-compatible board with an ATmega32U4, ESP8266 Wi-Fi module and lithium-ion battery support.

Obscura

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An ATmega32U4-powered, 8-bit synthesizer that enables you to create NES, C64 and Amiga-style chiptune music by simply connecting a MIDI device.

Zodiac FX

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An OpenFlow switch that is powerful enough to develop world-changing SDN apps yet small enough to sit on your desk. Based on an Atmel | SMART SAM4E, the unit includes four 10/100 Fast Ethernet ports with integrated magnetics and indicator LEDs along with a command line interface accessible via USB virtual serial port.

Goldilocks Analogue

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A board that brings sophisticated analog and audio input, output and storage capabilities to the Arduino environment.

NodeIT

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A super small and expandable IoT system for Makers.

Pixel

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A smart display that features an Atmel | SMART SAM D21 MCU operating at 48MHz and packing 32K of RAM, along with a 1.5” 128×128 pixel OLED screen and a microSD slot.

SDuino

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An Arduino crammed inside an SD card.

… and how could we not mention this?

The WTFDuino!

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Do you feel like today’s MCUs are too simple and sensible? Well, one Maker decided to take a different approach by “undesigning” the Arduino into a banana-shaped processor whose form factor is impossible to breadboard and whose pins are incorrectly labelled.

 

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.

Qtechknow

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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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Modulo is now based on the Atmel | SMART SAM D21


Modulo is a simple, modular solution for Makers looking to build electronics.


Back in May, former Pixar developer Erin Tomson unveiled a new set of plug-and-play boards designed to take the headache and hassle out of building electronics. Not long after its Kickstarter launch, Modulo flew by its $10,000 pledge goal having garnered over $50,000 from 315-plus backers. Since then, the Richmond, California-based startup has experienced tremendous popularity at Maker Faires and has even demonstrated its simplicity with some DIY projects of their own, ranging from a tea-brewing robot to a smart sous vide machine.

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Essentially, Modulo is a series pre-made circuit boards that provides Makers with all of the necessary tools to bring their gizmos and gadgets to life, without the messiness of wiring and soldering. Each module is equipped with its own little processor (ATtiny841) that is tasked with handling its operation and communicating with a controller board. While the Modulo Controller had been built around the mighty ATmega32U4 for its crowdfunding debut, Tomson has since upgraded its design to include the much faster and powerful Atmel | SMART SAM D21 — the same Cortex-M0+ MCU at the heart of the Arduino Zero. What this means is that the Controller will work nicely with Arduino and will be well received by the flourishing DIY community.

“This new chip is four times faster, has eight times the Flash storage, and has 12 times the RAM of the ATmega32u4 used in earlier prototypes,” Tomson explains.

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Using a connector on its back, Makers can slide their boards right into the so-called Modulo Base which securely holds them in place. Following a successful Kickstarter run, Tomson had decided to switch the connectors, both for attaching each Modulo to the base and for cables that link the bases together. These improved connectors are easier to assemble and more compact. Furthermore, those wishing to employ a Spark Core, Photo or Electron instead of the Controller can do so by selecting a Spark Base.

The Arduino-compatible Controller boasts six I/O ports that can be used as digital or analog inputs and digital outputs. Four of the six ports can even be used to control servos or output a PWM signal. Additionally, each port has its own power and ground pins to help keep things nice and neat, while circuitry on the board will protect it from any potential wiring mishaps.

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Similar to other DIY dev kits like littleBits, Modulo features a number of different modules with varying capabilities. These include a color OLED display, a push-button illuminated knob, a motor driver, a thumb joystick, a temperature probe, I/O and extension cables, as well as an IR transceiver and a Blank slate that lets Makers devise circuits from scratch. Any four modules can be connected to the Base, or can be daisy chained together for larger projects.

The ARM Cortex-M0+ driven Controller can also act as a bridge, enabling users to manage their modules from Python running Raspberry Pi or a Mac, Windows or Linux computer. Beyond that, they can choose to use the Arduino IDE to reprogram the Controller or connect to the Internet via Spark. Communication between devices is accomplished through the standard I2C bus.

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The Modulo Protocol allows for the Controller to dynamically discover connected devices, assign addresses, retrieve device capabilities and detect bus errors. It is an extension of I2C and can be utilized on a mixed ­protocol bus along with SMBus and traditional I2C devices.

“Modulo wouldn’t have been possible without the contributions of the open source community, so we’re giving back by open sourcing our protocols, hardware designs, firmware and libraries,” Tomson adds.

Those wishing to learn more, explore technical specs or pre-order a Modulo set can head over to its official website here.

Building a smart irrigation controller with Modulo


The brainchild of Erin Tomson, Poseidon is an irrigation controller based on Modulo, Raspberry Pi and Flutter boards.


Like many of us, Erin Tomson has vegetable garden in her backyard. While having fresh, organic crops right outside your door seems like a great idea, often times it can become a daunting task having to constantly water the plants. And though there are a number of commercial sprinkler systems available to automate and monitor the process, the Maker decided to take it upon herself to devise her own irrigation controller with the help of Modulo boards, Raspberry Pi and Flutter Wireless.

Modulo Kickstarter photographs

For those unfamiliar with Modulo, the tiny set of modular circuit boards — which is wrapping up an extremely successful campaign on Kickstarter — provide DIYers with an easy-to-use, hassle-free way to devise electronic projects. Each board is equipped with its own little processor (ATtiny841) that communicates with an ATmega32U4 driven Controller. Makers then can slide their modules right into the so-called Modulo Base which securely holds them in place.

Dubbed Poseidonthis recent project is comprised of three parts: the Modulo hardware that controls the system and provides a visual display of its status, a Raspberry Pi running the Open Sprinkler Pi software and Flutter Wireless modules to command the remote sprinkler valves.

As Tomson notes, piecing together the hardware was pretty straightforward. The Pi connects to a Modulo Controller via USB. Each valve is then linked to a pair of outputs on a Modulo Motor Driver, which in turn, provides power to the valve with positive and negative polarity to turn it on/off.

“I used Galcon 3652 valves, but any DC latching solenoid valve should work. For AC valves, you’d need to connect relays between the motor driver and valves,” she adds.

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As for its web interface, the Maker ran Open Sprinkler Pi software that enabled her to display the various zones, set schedules, delay water based on weather forecasts, as well as manually operate the sprinklers. In order for the program to control the Modulo hardware, Tomson wrote a plug-in using the Modulo Python API to handle the outputs.

What’s more, should a garden be too far away from a home’s Wi-Fi network, she was able to add wireless connectivity to Poseidon through Flutter’s boards. Those units are equipped with an Atmel | SMART SAM3S Cortex-M3 MCU, while an ATSHA204 crypto engine keeps it protected from digital intruders. This allows Makers to easily (and securely) develop projects that communicate over a half-mile across a house, a neighborhood, or in this case, a backyard.

Tomson connected the Flutter controller over USB to the Raspberry Pi, which relays commands to the Flutter board and transmits them wirelessly to the remote station. Out in the garden, a second Flutter module is connected to a Modulo Base with another motor driver and color display.

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“This secondary flutter setup controls the vegetable garden’s sprinkler valve and also show’s the system’s status. It’s a simple setup that works great,” the Maker reveals. “DC sprinkler valves like these don’t require very much power so you can even run the remote station off a solar panel and battery!”

With spring in full swing and summer just about here, make sure your garden and lawn are cared for with this DIY irrigation controller. Want one of your own? Head over to Modulo’s official project page here.

Build an automatic temp controller for your grill with Modulo


Slow and steady wins the taste!


It’s 4th of July weekend, and that can mean only one thing: time to cue the Springsteen and fire up the grill! Given the finger-lickin’ deliciousness of BBQ ribs, chicken and pulled pork, it’s no wonder that it has become one of the oldest and most popular cooking methods throughout the world. One style in particular, American Southern, involves roasting meat at low temperatures for many hours in the presence of smoke emitted from a charcoal grill. This also happens to be former Pixar engineer and Modulo Labs founder Erin Tomson’s favorite.

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As the Maker explains, though charcoal may be an excellent fuel source, it can be a bit difficult to maintain stable temperatures for extended periods of time. And so, she decided to build an automated temperature controller for her grill using a set of Modulo devices.

For those unfamiliar with Modulo, the tiny set of modular circuit boards — which recently launched on Kickstarter — provide DIYers with an easy-to-use, hassle-free way to devise electronic projects. Each board is equipped with its own little processor (ATtiny841) that communicates with an ATmega32U4 driven Controller. Makers can slide their modules right into the so-called Modulo Base which securely holds them in place.

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In order to streamline her BBQing process, Tomson employed one Modulo Base along with four other modular pieces. These included an Arduino-programmable controller as the brains of the operation, a full-color OLED display to show the temperature and its coinciding graphs, a knob for setting and adjusting parameters, as well as a thermocouple interface to measure the extreme temperatures within the grill. From there, the Modulo Arduino Library simplifies communication between the main board and its corresponding modules.

“You simply create an object for each module that you’re using,” Tomson adds. “I tested the system by BBQing pork spare ribs and beef back ribs. At first the controller needed some parameters to be tweaked and minor bugs to be fixed, but after an hour or so it was dialed in and kept a steady temperature for the remainder of the cook. Though it seemed to work well, I think I should probably ‘test’ it again soon.”

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Want to create an automated temp controller for your charcoal grill? Head over to the Maker’s entire project log on Hackster.io.

11 projects we saw and loved at MakerCon


Here’s a look at some of the impressive projects from MakerCon 2015.


Maker Week is well underway and safe to say that MakerCon kicked things off with a bang. There, we had the chance to engage in several lively discussions, listen to industry thought-leaders and visionaries, as well as receive hands-on demonstrations from some of today’s rising startups. As we walked through the historic Palace of Fine Arts during the two-day event, we couldn’t help but note the collection of innovative gizmos and gadgets on display at MakerCon Showcase — which is essentially a mini Maker Faire in itself. From a pancake printer to a smart aquaponics system, the showcase had it all. Here’s a handful of the impressive projects we had a chance to get up close and personal with… (For the rest of you, we’ll be sure to catch up with you at Maker Faire!)

Modulo

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Currently live on Kickstarter, Modulo was founded by former Pixar engineer Erin Tomson as a way to take the hassle out of building electronics. The set includes a series of tiny chips, each equipped with its own little processor (ATtiny841) responsible for the operation and communication with a controller board (ATmega32U4). These modules easily slide right into a Modulo Base that securely holds them in place and electrically links the devices without the usual tangle of wires.

PancakeBot

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As its name would suggest, PancakeBot allows Makers to print out flapjacks into just about any design one can imagine. Not only developed to inspire, entertain and bring out the creativity at home, the machine has some serious commercial appeal for brands wanting to make a lasting impression. The ATmega2560 based breakfast bot uses a proprietary system to extrude the ingredients as it glides over the griddle, while the combination of compressed air, a special vacuum and an on-board interface helps control batter flow.

Zymbit

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Santa Barbara startup Zymbit debuted the first three products within its evolving Internet of Things suite: the Zymbit Orange edge device, the Zymbit Iris interactive display and Zymbit Connect software. The platform is being billed as the first pre-configured hardware and software solution that is a finished, secure, out-of-the-box-ready product for seriously creative Makers and developers looking to get their connected prototypes off their desk and into the market in days, not months.

Flutter Wireless

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Born out of his own frustration of wirelessly connecting two Arduino boards, Taylor Alexander went on to invent Flutter Wireless, which not only gained enormous popularity among the DIY crowd but garnered over $150,000 on Kickstarter back in 2013. The $36 wireless Arduino with a half-mile range lets users develop mesh networking protocols and smart 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.

uARM

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The brainchild of Shenzhen startup EVOL, uArm is a desktop 4-axis parallel-mechanism arm, modeled after the ABB industrial PalletPack robot. The project is comprised of laser cut acrylic or wood parts, powered by standard RC hobby servos and controlled by an ATmega328 embedded custom board.

Kijani Grows

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Kijani Grows produces and installs smart aquaponics gardens for homes, schools and corporate settings. The latest version of its garden kit is driven by a Linux/Arduino controller board (Atheros AR9331 and ATmega2560) that enables the system to remotely detect and respond to physical environments.

Keyboardio

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Makers Jesse Vincent and Kaia Dekker are looking to revolutionize the traditional QWERTY layout with their butterfly-shaped keyboard that places a greater emphasis on the thumb, lessens the stress on your pinkies, and offers a more natural position for the hand and wrist — something that may prove to be a lifesaver for those suffering from carpal tunnel or arthritis. Keyboardio puts keys such as control, alt, delete, shift and a new ‘function’ button under the typists’ palms, all within easy reach of the thumbs. What’s more, the gadget is Bluetooth-enabled permitting users to switch between devices and carry it from one meeting to the next.

Tapster

Tapster

Jason Huggins built a robotic contraption capable of mimicking the human touch as way to test and automate new software applications on mobile devices. Programmed with Node.js, Johnny-Five and Arduino, Tapster is entirely open-source and can be configured specifically to a user’s liking.

Future Make Technology

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While many of today’s 3D printing products rely on a feed of ABS/PLA plastic that is heated and extruded through a hot nozzle, the Future Make crew seeking to change that with the launch of their 3D pen Polyes Q1. Unlike other devices on the market, photo-polymer ink is spit out of a cool nozzle and immediately solidified when exposed to blue LED light. What this means is no more nasty smells or burns!

Gigabot

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Gigabot, re:3D’s flagship technology, gives Makers the ability to 3D print industrial strength, extremely large objects at an affordable price point. With a build envelope of 24” x 24” x 24” and a robust aluminum frame, the machine can construct objects up to 30 times larger than competing desktop models.

DomeCandy

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In an effort to revolutionize the boombox, one South Carolina startup has digitally fabricated an open-source, Arduino-compatible Bluetooth speaker kit for Makers.

17 smart crowdfunding campaigns you may want to back this week


Every Friday, we’re taking a look at some of the smartest, most innovative projects that have caught our attention on Kickstarter and Indiegogo over the last seven days. 


NEA

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This sleek, unibody machine comes in three different sizes, making it like the Golidlocks fairytale of 3D printing — one for papa, mama and baby bear. NEA 3D is currently seeking $75,000 on Indiegogo.

C.H.I.P.

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This $9 computer lets you save documents, surf the web over Wi-Fi and play games via Bluetooth. Next Thing Co. is currently seeking $50,000 on Kickstarter.

Modulo

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This set of tiny modular boards will take the hassle out of building electronics for Makers. Modulo Labs is currently seeking $10,000 on Kickstarter.

CyPhy LVL 1 Drone

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This easy-to-use, intuitive drone shares captures high-quality footage effortlessly. CyPhy Works is currently seeking $250,000 on Kickstarter.

Smart Plate

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This connected plate instantly tracks and analyzes everything you eat. Maker Anthony Ortiz is currently seeking $100,000 on Kickstarter.

Wallet Drone

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This mini drone, which is being billed as the world’s smallest quadcopter, fits into a wallet-size controller. Maker Robert Morrison is currently seeking $11,894 on Indiegogo.

Linkitz

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This set of electronic components simply snap together in different combinations to create custom wearables. Dr. Lyssa Neel is currently seeking $95,000 on Kickstarter.

ARbot

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This spherical robot and mobile app combination allow you to partake in augmented reality tank battles in your office, at home, or just about anywhere. Roboboom is currently seeking $32,000 on Indiegogo.

NFTY

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This all-in-one charging solution acts a portable power bank for your wearable devices, smartphones and tablets. NFTY is currently seeking $50,000 on Indiegogo.

auris zwing

Speaker

This smart boombox is equipped with a 7-inch touchscreen and built-in Wi-Fi that connects to an Android platform for uninterrupted streaming of today’s most popular apps. auris zwing is currently seeking $75,000 on Indiegogo.

Radian 2 Bluetooth

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This Bluetooth-enabled controller is ideal for creating still, panning, tilting and sliding time lapse footage. Alpine Labs is currently seeking $153,471 on Kickstarter.

Lumkani Fire Detection

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This early-warning fire detection system integrates the mesh network of in-home fire detectors and sends text alerts with GPS coordinates to community leaders and authorities in the event of a fire. Lumkani is currently seeking $45,000 on Indiegogo.

nScope

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This portable device boasts a USB-powered oscilloscope, function generator and power supply to transform any laptop into an electronics workbench. nLabs is currently seeking $25,000 on Kickstarter.

Wond

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This handheld stylus excites, sustains and controls vibration of your guitar strings or any steel-stringed instrument. Innovator Paul Vo is currently seeking $35,000 on Kickstarter.

Fizzics

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This battery-powered countertop machine transforms store-bought beer into a draft-quality beverage through oscillation and high-frequency sound waves. The Fizzics team is currently seeking $50,000 on Indiegogo.

HearNotes

HearNotes

This pair of earbuds deliver uncompressed, high-fidelity stereo audio without a single wire to get in your way. HearNotes is currently seeking $75,000.

Remocam

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This smart security camera can be placed anywhere — at home or in the office — and controlled remotely from your smartphone. Remocam is currently seeking $50,000 on Indiegogo.

Did you happen to miss last week’s notable campaigns? If so, you can check them out here. Also, if your project is powered by Atmel MCUs and you’ve been featured on our blog, be sure to download the respective badges here for use in your ongoing marketing efforts. 

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Modulo is a modular dev system for Makers


Modulo is a simple, modular solution for Makers looking to build powerful electronic devices.


When it comes to developing DIY projects, we as Makers love modularity. This was true back in the ‘50s when interlocking LEGO bricks, and even earlier, in the sticks-and-spool days of Tinkertoys. With that in mind, it’s no wonder why one Northern California startup has gone ahead and devised a set of swappable modules that will enable users to easily design electronic systems without ever having to assemble a circuit board from scratch.

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Each Modulo is equipped with its own little processor (ATtiny841) — aside from the mini color display that is driven by an Atmel | SMART SAM D21 — tasked with handling its operation and communicating with an ATmega32U4 driven Controller board. Using a connector on its back, Makers can easily slide their modules right into the so-called Modulo Base which securely holds them in place — no breadboard, wiring and soldering mess! What’s more, those wishing to use a Spark Core, Photo or Electron instead of the Controller can do so by selecting a Spark Base.

“This vastly simplifies the process of building and programming devices, since you only need to deal with high-level concepts (e.g. get temperature or set motor speed) not I/O pin mappings, wiring, data sheets, and registers,” the Modulo Labs team writes.

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The Arduino-compatible Controller boasts six I/O ports that can be used as digital or analog inputs and digital outputs. Four of the six ports can even be used to control servos or output a PWM signal. Additionally, each port has its own power and ground pins to help keep things nice and neat, while circuitry on the board will protect it from any potential wiring mishaps.

As with a number of other DIY dev kits, Modulo is offering a wide range of components for its initial Kickstarter run. Among the initial modules are a color OLED display, a push-button illuminated knob, a motor driver, a thumb joystick, a temperature probe, as well as I/O and extension cables. In other words, all of the necessary resources a Maker would need to get started with their gizmo or gadget. Four modules can be connected to the Base at anytime, however for larger projects, these can easily be daisy chained together.

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When used with a Mac, Windows or Linux computer, a Maker will have the ability to manage all of their modules using Python over USB. The ATmega32U4 embedded board can also act as a bridge, enabling users to control their modules from Python running Raspberry Pi. Beyond that, they can choose to use the Arduino IDE to reprogram the controller or connect to the Internet with Spark. Communication between devices is accomplished through the standard I2C bus.

So, what can you make with this development kit? For starters, though its creators highlight a variety of projects ranging from an intelligent water system to keep your grass nice and green to an automated fish feeder for Nemo to a tea-brewing robot for your crumpets, the possibilities are endless.

“Modulo couldn’t exist without the amazing work of the open-source community, and it won’t exist without your generous support. We want to give back, so we plan to make the hardware, software, and firmware all open and available for you to use and modify. We’ll also provide eagle CAD files and firmware that you can use to create Modulos of your own design,” Modulo Labs founder Erin Tomson notes.

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Looking for a simple yet powerful modular solution to construct a DIY project? Look no further. Head over to Modulo’s official Kickstarter page, where its team has already well exceeded its $10,000 goal. Shipment is expected to begin in November 2015.