Writing for the Democrat & Chronicle, Bennett J. Loudon shared his recent experience onboard the Atmel Tech on Tour mobile trailer, which stopped by Rochester Institute of Technology on October 9th. Jam-packed with the latest solutions powering the Internet of Things (IoT), Maker Movement and more, the 40’ x 85’ tractor-trailer drew quite the crowd in Upstate New York, comprised of partners, students and professionals.
“Can you hear it? It’s the faint sound of all your electronic devices talking to each other,” Loudon jokingly writes about the budding Internet of Things. “As we purchase new products, they are likely to include more sensors and computer chips that will let users and service companies monitor and control things remotely as part of what has become known as the IoT.”
Throughout the day, students and professors from RIT joined fellow Makers, tech enthusiasts and engineers to explore next-gen wireless systems, wearable devices, 3D printers and touchscreen sensors. As Loudon noted, hands-on demonstrations included how embedded systems are being used in automotive and transportation applications, robotics, electronic devices and gaming systems, and alternative energy, then integrated into the growing Internet of Things.
“Anything that’s electronic these days, whether it’s in the home, or the car, or the office, is just chock full of microcontrollers,” explained Bruce Muff, Atmel Regional Sales Manager. “We make chips. We’re a chip company. Our primary focus is microcontroller chips. Anything that’s electronic these days has a microcontroller in it at its simplest level to control lights or sensors or communication with things.”
Similar to most corporations throughout the industry, we attend most trade shows, like CES, Electronica and Embedded World.
“However, instead of having people go to Las Vegas to see our trade show booth, we bring it out on the road to the customers, the community and schools, like RIT, to showcase Atmel technology and some of the things that our customers do with our technology,” Muff added. “We wanted to both target the local customer base that we have in upstate New York, companies that develop electronic products that might use our chips, and we also wanted to reach out and make it available to the school here.”
After tirelessly crisscrossing the globe for several years offering hands-on technical training, the Atmel team kicked off a new Tech on Tour era this past January with the tricked-out mobile trailer seen above. Designed to literally drive the Internet of Things (and other next-gen technologies), the big rig brings hands-on training, hackathons, key technology demonstrations and other gatherings based around Atmel MCUs, MPUs, wireless, touch solutions and easy-to-use software tools. With more than 100 stops spanning across 30 states and 4 Canadian provinces, Tech on Tour is estimated to reach nearly 4,000 engineers this year alone.
Al Converse, an engineer for Atlanta-based Trenton Systems, stopped by the ToT truck to discover the latest bits and pieces from Atmel. Converse tells the Democrat & Chronicle, “I came here to stay on top, see what’s applicable to the work I’m currently doing. You have to do this constantly. Technology shifts every time I do a design, and a design typically takes a year to get out the door.”
Loudon notes that when he started out in the 1970s and ’80s, Converse was able to use the same processor for two or three consecutive design projects; however, “Nowadays you can’t do that any more. You’re halfway through the design and the companies have already released a new, faster more powerful product.”
Atmel’s Tech on Tour is making it easier for engineers and designers, like Al, to stay ahead of the game and keep up-to-date with the newest, fastest and most powerful solutions.
Interested in exploring the trailer yourself? You can find an entire schedule — or request a future stop — here.