Tag Archives: portfolio

Atmel expands Cortex-A5 MPU lineup

Atmel has expanded its ARM Cortex-A5 microprocessor (MPU) portfolio with new SAMA5D3 devices that deliver smaller packaging, extended temperature support and an alternative peripheral mix. The latest SAMA5D3 devices – designed to neatly balance high performance and low-power operation – also offer an expanded ecosystem with new software and hardware.


As we’ve previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, Atmel’s Cortex-A5 processor-based MPUs are capable of achieving 850DMIPS at 536MHz and hitting 1328MB/s at 166MHz bus speed. Indeed, the devices facilitate fast connectivity along with advanced user interfaces for home automation and control panels. Meanwhile, ultra-low power consumption comes in under 200mW in active mode at maximum speed – slipping below 0.5mW in low-power mode for wearables such as smart watches.

“To better meet wearable, portable computing and medical application requirements, we have added a smaller package option to the SAMA5D31 to include a tiny, fine-pitch 12x12mm BGA324 0.5mm ball pitch package,” Jacko Wilbrink, Sr. Director of ARM Products, Atmel Corporation, explained.

“For volumes starting at 100,000 pieces, Atmel offers the SAMA5D3 in-die, facilitating the development of Silicon in Package (SiP) solutions for even smaller form factor designs. Incremental support for the industrial and automotive aftermarket is provided by the new SAMA5D36, a superset device providing a unique combination of user interface (UI) and connectivity features including an LCD, 2x Ethernet ports and dual CAN support. The SAMA5D36 – along with the SAMA5D35 – also supports an ambient temperature range of -40 degrees to 105 degree C.”

According to Wilbrink, Atmel has been shipping its Cortex-A5 processor-based MPUs for over 10 months to customers in a number vertical markets.

“We’ve listened closely to our customers, implementing additional features and functionality to our Cortex A5 processor-based MPUs to ensure we improve their designs or make it possible,” he said. “Simply put, Atmel’s diverse portfolio offers customers all the right features, from high performance and low power to expanded temperature ranges, smaller packaging and a more robust ecosystem environment.”

In addition, says Wilbrink, Atmel’s already robust SAMA5D3 MPU ecosystem has been expanded to include close collaboration with various partners. For example, the free Atmel Linux distribution is now available on the Yocto build system, along with a free Android 4.2 port here.

Meanwhile, more C-language examples are available in the Atmel software package (aka softpack) for non-OS users, with Atmel significantly bolstering its SAMA5D3 ecosystem to include Windows Compact 7 BSP, QNX, NuttX BSP, Micrium uC-OS/III operating system support, Rowley Crossworks or ATollic True Studio development tool support, as well as active-semi power management ICs.

Interested in learning more about Atmel’s expanded Cortex-A5 MPU lineup? You can check out our extensive device portfolio here.

MIT wants to see your Maker portfolio

MIT’s Admissions Department wants young Makers to share their projects as part of the school’s official application process. According to Dr. Dawn Wendell, Assistant Director of Admissions at MIT, a new Maker Portfolio supplement on the MIT Admissions web site is designed to provide a structured way for students to submit information about their participation in a diverse set of projects.

“As we see students getting more involved in the Maker Movement, we wanted to give them a more formalized opportunity to tell us about that part of their life and why it’s important to them, ” Dr. Wendell told the Makezine blog. “[We want to attract students who] are already solving problems and building, playing and creating, engaging in projects that they love doing. [Although] not all successful students at MIT are makers, MIT is a welcoming place for Makers, or students who want to become Makers.”

As Makezine’s Dale Dougherty notes, MIT’s Maker Portfolio is “big news” for the Maker movement and young makers, in particular.

“It’s a signal that the kinds of learning experiences that are gained through making can be recognized and valued in education, as they should be,” he explained. “It also serves as a reminder that the kind of informal learning that happens outside of school is important, and should be considered alongside achievements in formal education.”

As we’ve previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, the growing Maker Movement can best be described as a “contemporary culture or subculture representing a technology-based extension of DIY culture.” Typical interests pursued by Maker culture include engineering-oriented projects such as electronics, Arduino-based robotics, 3D printing with Atmel-powered printers like the MakerBotor, RepRap and the use of CNC tools.

Recently, Will.i.am, the technophile founder of The Black Eyed Peas, offered a ringing endorsement of the Maker Movement and related culture on Facebook.

“Every young person is going to be inspired to be a maker from now on,” said Will.i.am. “It’s like how everyone used to want to be a musician, an actor, an athlete — but a maker is what people are going to want to be.”

Atmel’s versatile temperature lineup

Bits & Pieces recently sat down with an engineering rep to discuss Atmel’s growing portfolio of digital temperature solutions, which the rep aptly described as the “world’s most versatile.”

Indeed, Atmel’s digital temperature sensors can be used to address a variety of temperature monitoring needs in DDR3 DIMMs, lithium ion (Li-Ion) batteries, lithium polymer batteries, plasma televisions and LCD TVs. Additional applications include notebook and desktop computers, workstations and servers, digital video recorders (DVRs), energy meters, industrial controls and various medical devices.

“Atmel offers solutions with selectable temperature resolutions and conversion rates, multiple critical temperature limits, fault-tolerance queuing and selectable hysteresis thresholds,” the engineering rep explained. “The latter accounts for minor temperature variances near the programmed temperature limits, with nonvolatile configuration and temperature registers retaining settings even when devices are powered off.”

Currently, Atmel offers a number of solutions with integrated nonvolatile memory technology, allowing customers to store critical system temperature data as well as application-specific configuration and user preference data.

As expected, devices operate over a variety of voltage ranges and are offered in industry standard packages such as 8-lead SOICs, 8-lead MSOPs and ultra-small 8-pad DFNs. In short, Atmel’s digital temperature lineup is versatile enough to address almost every application.

Interested in learning more? A full list of Atmel’s digital temperature sensor devices is available here.