Tag Archives: Premier Farnell

Newark debuts new Atmel SAMA5D3 Xplained board

Newark element14 has debuted a new Atmel SAMA5D3 Xplained evaluation kit – a low-cost, fast prototyping and evaluation platform for microprocessor-based design.

The board, which is built around Atmel’s SAMA5D3 ARM Cortex-A5 processor-based MPU, is packed with a rich set of ready-to-use connectivity and storage peripherals, along with Arduino shield-compatible expansion headers for easy customization. In addition, the platform is a perfect target for headless Android projects, while a Linux distribution and software package facilitates rapid software development.

“Our partnership with Newark element14 on the development and manufacturing of this kit and its first set of expansion boards enables engineers from all communities to build applications requiring rapid prototyping and evaluation for their MPU designs,” said Jacko Wilbrink, Sr. Marketing Director of Microprocessors, Atmel Corporation.

“The new board offers features such as mid-range graphical user interfaces, capacitive touch capability, wired and wireless communication, free of charge Linux distribution and QT developer’s kit.”

Meanwhile, David Shen, Chief Technology Officer at Premier Farnell, noted that Atmel’s versatile ARM Cortex-A5 processor-based MPUs neatly balance performance with ultra low power consumption.

“This new Atmel Xplained kit, in addition to our soon-to-be-available expansion boards which will add more capabilities to the SAMA5D3 platform, will be very helpful to professional engineers as well as Makers, hobbyists, educators and students, both within and outside their main employment.”

As we’ve previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, the SAMA5D3 series is ideal for wearable computing and mobile applications where low power and a small footprint are critical. Key SAMA5D3 Xplained features include:

  • Fully documented and readily available Cortex-A5 based MPU solution
  • Rich set of peripherals, specifically on connectivity
  • USB power (no need for power adaptor)
  • Flexibility – Arduino-compatible connectors, enabling the user to leverage the extensive Arduino shields ecosystem
  • 
Open Source hardware – All design files available; easy to reuse in customer projects
Software package with drivers and examples for bare metal developers
  • Qt developers kit and Linux distribution free of charge

The SAMA5D3 Xplained – priced at $79 – is slated to ship in mid-March 2014 from Farnell element14 in Europe, Newark element14 in North America and element14 in APAC. You can pre-register for the new Atmel SAMA5D3 Xplained board here.

Open source hardware sees increased use by hobbyists, engineers

Analysts at Premier Farnell expect the use of open source hardware and software to increase among professional engineers and the growing Maker community in 2013.

According to the results of a recent survey commissioned by element14, 56% of professional engineers are more likely to use open source hardware such as Arduino (powered by Atmel MCUs) and other devices, with Maker hobbyists weighing in at a rather impressive 82%.

Similarly, 52% of professional engineers and 81% of hobbyists report being more likely to use open source software in 2013 – while 54% of hobbyists have confirmed using dev kits at least once per quarter for personal projects.

“The numbers paint a very clear picture that open source hardware is showing strong traction among professional engineers and hobbyists as well as educators and students,” said Andrea Koritala, global head of technology integration at Premier Farnell.

“With a high level of crossover between professionals and hobbyists, this increase in adoption extends to the workplace. An engineer on the job is looking for access to many of the same tools and resources accessible to the hobbyist community.”

As Koritala notes, professional engineers rated reference designs as the resource that weighs most heavily in the decision to select a dev kit. Among hobbyists, the most important factor was the availability of online tutorials, webinars and videos.

“This trend also speaks to the importance of ease of access and use, as a strong community can help bring ideas and designs to life,” she explained.

“Engineers have historically been hesitant to fully embrace open source, but the sheer availability of open-source tools and resources has mitigated many of the risks associated with designing in open source for commercial use.”

The above-mentioned survey, conducted in April 2013, included responses from a mix of professional engineers, hobbyists and students. All respondents had purchased one or more dev kits or related products in the year prior to taking the survey.