Tag Archives: Shenzhen

Atmel’s second 2015 FAE training comes to an end

Taking a look back at the final FAE training of the year… 

We couldn’t have found a more appropriate, well-suited place to host our final internal three-day technical training of 2015 than Shenzhen, China. The city is constantly innovating, with IoT startups popping up on seemingly each street corner, throughout every tech shop, factory and Makerspace. This is a good context to present product updates, show off design tricks and run workshops from early morning to late night. We also network with old friends and make new ones, which further strengthens the teamwork, extends our knowledge base and builds confidence to help our customers bring their ideas to life.


The buzz of the week was the highly-anticipated, full-day workshop on our uber mini Bluetooth Low Energy chipset (the BTLC1000) with overviews of the supported protocol stacks, silicon and software architecture, introduction from product marketing, as well as a hands-on session using Atmel’s standard Xplained development boards, the recently-launched Atmel Studio 7 and Atmel START.

At Atmel, we spread our love equally between wireless and low power. The world’s lowest power 32-bit MCU, the SAM L21, even saw the birth of a new sibling: the SAM L22. This particular board is feature-compatible with the SAM L21, but comes with an LCD controller and some nifty power-save features.

When it comes to IoT applications, performance plays an integral role so we spent time on the new low-power modes and security capabilities of the SAMA5D2. FAEs in a hurry could also complete the entire workshop and connect the SAMA5D2 to a cloud with the WILC1000 Wi-Fi module.


To top off the event, we saw the debut of more wireless technologies with a complete 6LoWPAN stack emphasising security and authentication with Atmel’s wide range of CryptoAuthentication engines.

Still wondering if IoT is a big thing at Atmel? Well, duh! Between low-power MCUs, all major wireless connectivity protocols, security layers and a cloud ecosystem in place, we’ve got each of the necessary pillars covered.

Big thanks to Atmel’s training team, distributors, and of course, FAEs for making this event such a great success! Until next time!

Arduino and Seeed Studio announce partnership at Maker Faire Shenzhen

Seeed Studio will manufacture and distribute Arduino LLC products using the new Genuino brand in Asia.

Back in May, Massimo Banzi took the Maker Faire Bay Area stage for the highly-anticipated “State of Arduino” address. During what was surely one of the most highly-anticipated sessions of the show, the Arduino co-founder announced a New York City manufacturing partnership with Adafruit, the availability of the Arduino Zero and Wi-Fi Shield 101, as well as the launch of a sister brand dubbed Genuino (“genuine” in Italian) for boards outside of the United States.


One month later at Maker Faire Shenzhen, Banzi has returned with some other big news: He and Eric Pan, founder and CEO of Seeed Studio, have unveiled a strategic partnership between Arduino LLC and Seeed Studio. Similar to their collaboration with Adafruit here in America, Seeed Studio will manufacture and distribute Arduino LLC products using the new Genuino brand in China and other Asian markets.

“The new Genuino name certifies the authenticity of boards, in line with the open hardware and open source philosophy that has always characterized Arduino,” Banzi explains. “We are very excited to partner with Seeed Studio to manufacture our products in China. We’ve known and appreciated Seeed for years, we share the same values and I think they are one of the most forward looking companies in China.”


As popular as Arduino has become throughout China, Banzi notes that the brand has been heavily used without permission. Fortunately, Genuino will allow the market to clearly identify which products are indeed authentic and contributing to the open source hardware process. The brand will still emulate the 8- and 32-bit chips that Makers have grown accustomed to over the years, such as the Uno (ATmega328) and Mega (ATmega2560), in a familiar teal and white color scheme.


“Arduino is becoming a global language of making, we are proud to help provide Genuino branded localized products to carry on the conversation in China. Here we already have a huge Arduino user base and growing, it’s time to get us involved deeper with global ecosystem,” Pan added.

Genuino-branded products will be sold on Seeed’s store on Taobao and on Genuino’s official site in the near future.

Atmel heads to Shenzhen to talk Makers

Shenzhen has emerged on the Maker scene for its shortened development cycles, entrepreneurial spirit and DIY culture.

Sander Arts, Atmel VP of Corporate Marketing, continued his trip through China with a stop in Shenzhen on Wednesday, January 21, where he had the chance to explore the latest and greatest innovations coming out of the city, in particular those being created inside Seeed Studio — a hardware innovation platform designed to enable Makers to grow inspirations into differentiating products.


There, Arts had the opportunity to sit down with the Seeed Studio team, including founder Eric Pan, to discuss the Maker Movement, open-souce hardware as well as Chinese DIY culture. Later on, the Atmel VP participated in a well-attended press event with a number of journalists, tinkerers and entrepreneurs to discuss Atmel’s place at the heart of the rapidly growing global movement, and of course, the Internet of Things.


Recently, 35-year-old Shenzhen — which is located in the southern region of China — has emerged as quite the innovation hub, spurring Makers from all walks of life to delve deep into their imaginations and develop their ideas. Leveraging on its experience in manufacturing goods and access to parts, countless entrepreneurs, tinkerers and hobbyists have been drawn to the city.

“Shenzhen is a unique environment for passionate Makers with an entrepreneurial spirit,” Slate’s Silvia Lindtner explained.


The city’s capabilities have aided manufacturers in greatly shortening the production timeline from ‘Maker to market,’ which greatly enhances experimentation and provides a reliable, cost-effective solution for startups. In fact, the last few years have experienced an uptick in new companies coming to Shenzhen to finalize their concepts with notable examples including Pebble and Oculus Rift, Slate reveals. Additionally, hackerspaces and accelerators (like HAXLR8R and Highway1) have had an integral influence on innovators, another surefire sign that the Maker Movement has, indeed, arrived.


“Makerspaces will likely enable a new wave of tech startups in China as in the U.S. To be sure, Makers working with their peers are now able to more easily realize their goals, while bringing products to market with new platforms such as e-commerce sites and crowdfunding. 

Nevertheless, major companies in China are somewhat cautious about encouraging grass-root innovations, even though some of them are actively involved in a collaborative dialogue with Makers as part of a strategic open innovation strategy,” Eric Pan, founder of Seeed Studio, told in a recent interview.


Developed in 2008, Seeed Studio is a convergence of manufacturing and a true embodiment of the so-called Maker culture. The company designs and produces its own open hardware kits, platforms and custom PCBs, while serving as a distributor for a large number of brands like the Atmel based Arduino. Moreover, it has even played a pivotal role in establishing the hardware incubation project HAXLR8R as well as the very first Maker Faire in Shenzhen.


Just last year, MAKE: Magazine‘s Dale Dougherty announced the inaugural full-scale Maker Faire in China, which successfully recognized the significance of the city as a global capital for DIYers. An estimated 30,000 people walked the tree-lined streets to partake in the event, while 300 Makers manned 120 exhibits.

“Maker Faire Shenzhen shined a light on the externalities and ecosystems of making itself: the political regimes which regulate; the infrastructures which support it; the forms of work that drive it; and the culture and history that shape it,” an earlier Guardian article noted.


“One thing is for certain. The inherent entrepreneurial spirit of the Chinese people will help the Maker culture grow – and vice versa. 

The biggest hurdle, from what I can tell, may very well come from established educational facilities, simply because Chinese students expect to be trained in traditional methods when specific professional skills are required. 

However, exposure to multiple academic disciplines will encourage people to people think out of the box and explore different ways of approaching problems and opportunities. In addition, being asked more open-ended practical questions instead of simply memorizing facts would go a long way in encouraging students to try out real-world solutions,” Pan says.

Why Shenzhen is the factory of the world for Makers

Writing for the UK-based Guardian, Georgina Voss notes that hosting a Maker Faire in Shenzhen, which some describe as the “factory of the world,” makes quite a lot of sense.

Indeed, Dale Dougherty, founder of MAKE Magazine and creator of Maker Faire, recently confirmed that the first official Maker Faire held in Shenzhen earlier this month successfully celebrated the emergence of the Maker Movement in China, while recognizing the significance of the city as a global capital for DIY culture.

“The city’s history rippled into Maker Faire Shenzhen, which sat in the shadow of high-rises. As expected, many of the classic Maker Faire features were in place: soldering workshops, talks by ‘Makers’, people looking awkward in Google Glass,” Voss explains.

“Yet Maker Faires are often characterized by lots of DIY projects and arts-tech mash-ups and these were conspicuously lacking. Instead, most stalls were occupied by fully realized electronics products – brainwave-controlled drones, robots, lots and lots of 3D printers – either ready for market, or in their beta stage and shipping later in the year.”

According to Voss, the region’s strengths in consumer electronics may also be particularly well-suited to the potential outputs of ‘Maker to Market’ outputs, starting with simplified prototypes built on open hardware technologies such as Arduino boards.

“Several hardware start-up accelerators have also set up shop in the city, including Haxlr8r and PCH’s Highway 1, and they acknowledge that […] regional innovation systems exist: participants spend time in Shenzhen to learn about the manufacturing and supply chain networks in the city, before being returned to the Bay Area to pitch for funding,” says Voss.

“The easy-to-use, flexible and low-cost technologies which underpin [accelerators] – open hardware microcontrollers and 3D printers, for example – have their own materiality and their own geography.”

Voss also points out that all of the factors which define Shenzhen as a competitive industry hub make it particularly attractive to Makers, including cheap and available raw materials, manufacturing skills and facilities, as well as clear entry points into supply chains.

“The ‘Maker’ identity can be framed by flattened shared qualities and values, working with technologies whose provenance is not always transparent. But nothing in technology is so simple or so isolated,” she concluded.

“Maker Faire Shenzhen shines a light on the externalities and ecosystems of making itself: the political regimes which regulate; the infrastructures which support it; the forms of work that drive it; and the culture and history that shape it.”

The full text of “Making in China: Maker Faire Shenzhen Highlights the Global Politics of the Maker Movement,” written by Georgina Voss is available on The Guardian here. Readers may also want to check out “Atmel looks back at Maker Faire Shenzhen” which can be read here.

Atmel looks back at Maker Faire Shenzhen

Dale Dougherty, founder of MAKE Magazine and creator of Maker Faire, notes that Maker Faire Shenzhen, held the first weekend of April 2014, celebrated the emergence of the Maker Movement in China and recognized the significance of Shenzhen as a global capital for DIY culture.

“Maker Faire Shenzhen was the first full-scale Maker Faire in China. An estimated 30,000 people walked the tree-lined streets to interact with makers, participate in workshops and listen to presentations,” Dougherty explained in a recent Makezine article.

“[The event] was a showcase for 300 makers who manned 120 exhibits. Organized by Eric Pan and his team at Seeed Studio, Maker Faire Shenzhen was a public demonstration of the robust productivity of China’s makers. The Maker Movement could play a major role in China in transforming both China’s view of itself and the world’s view of China as a center of innovation.”

As we’ve previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, Atmel attended the Faire from April 6-7. Our booth – #4 – was located right next to Center Stage.

In addition, Sander Arts (@Sander1Arts), VP of Corporate Marketing at Atmel, gave a detailed presentation about Atmel microcontrollers, the IoT and Makers.

Sander’s well-attended presentation garnered a significant amount of attention in the local press from a number of journalists, including those writing for CNET, Ifanr, LeiPhone, PowerSystemsDesign (China) and 01EA.

“Various Maker teams demonstrated their projects, ranging from 3D printers to open-source vehicles, VR and wearable devices at Maker Faire 2014 in Shenzhen, highlighting the extensive possibilities of the Internet of Things,” wrote Cui Qiwen, Ifanr.com.

“As the robust brain behind all these maker projects, Atmel was also present at the convention.”

Xia Hang of LeiPhone, expressed similar sentiments.

“… Atmel accounts [for a] significant role that drives and inspires various projects in different categories such as LED, 3D printing and Arduino. Atmel’s MCU-based Arduino development platform enables more entry-level [projects],” Hang explained.

“Through Maker communities, Atmel has constructed close relationships with Makers in mainland China, not only by providing technology support, but also offering opportunities to present their maker projects through holding AVR Hero Contests. [As Sander says], ‘we are the Makers’ enablers, but the power is with you.'”

Meanwhile, CNET’s Tao Jingjie confirmed that Atmel maintains a close relationship with Makers via its AVR-based 8-bit MCUs and ARM-based 32-bit MCUs/MPUs.

“Atmel powers Makers to convert innovative ideas into actually commercialization-possible products, including LED projects, 3D printing projects, Arduino projects, and so on,” said Jingjie.

“It also held the global AVR Hero design contest, in which the products [that won] the award will achieve funding from Atmel [along with help] to enter the market in the future.”

Interested in learning more about the Maker Movement in China? You can check out our article archive on the subject here.

Makers tap into China’s open hardware scene

Writing for CNBC, Lynn Lee notes that a grassroots innovation movement centered around open hardware and Maker culture is evolving in China.

“Where high-tech research and development was once seen as something only large companies could afford, more and more individuals are going it on their own,” Lee explained.

Image Credit: CNET China

To be sure, hackerspaces, which Lee describes as “key” to a booming DIY or Maker Movement, were non-existent in the China of 2010. However, the global concept has quickly taken off in a number of Chinese cities such as Shenzhen, Shanghai and Beijing.

“There are people here who are passionate about the maker culture and innovation. There is an open hardware scene in China tapped into the global maker movement and it is growing,” Dr. Silvia Lindtner of the University of California, Irvine and Fudan University in Shanghai told CNBC.

Image Credit: CNET China

“In recent years, China has become an essential enabler in the global maker movement. That’s because many factories in Shenzhen have long adopted a system of open-source sharing in order to lower production costs.”

Lee also highlighted the Shenzhen-based Seeed Studio founded by Eric Pan, which works to combine the potential of open-source hardware with opportunities offered by Guangdong’s electronics supply chain.

“Makers looking to produce prototypes of their designs and small batches of samples can turn to Seeed for help,” Lee noted. “The company also hosts an active community on its site, where proposals are pitched and projects with the most support are manufactured and made available for sale.”

As we’ve previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, Eric is understandably enthusiastic about the open source movement, as he also organized the Shenzhen Maker Faire and established the hardware incubation project “HAXLR8R” with Cyril Ebersweiler.

“MakerSpaces will likely enable a new wave of tech startups in China as in the US. To be sure, Makers working with their peers are now able to more easily realize their goals, while bringing products to market with new platforms such as e-commerce sites and crowdfunding,” Pan told Bits & Pieces during a recent interview.

Shenzhen (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

“MakerSpaces are gradually helping Chinese tech companies discover additional possibilities, although the Maker role is likely to increase, with participants in the DIY culture setting technology trends in conjunction with major industries.”

Interested in learning more about China and the Maker Movement? You can check out our article archive on the subject here.

Will Makers change Shenzhen?

Writing for the EE Times, Junko Yoshida says local culture in Shenzhen is rapidly changing, with a growing number of hi-tech workers reportedly joining the rapidly growing Maker Movement (chuang ke).

Indeed, RPTechWorks founder Yang Yango told Yoshida that “labor intensive” Shenzhen will eventually become a city known for fast prototyping with “shortened development” cycles. 

Qifeng Yan, ex-director of the Nokia Research Center in Shenzhen and currently director and chief researcher at Media Lab (Shenzhen) of Hunan University, expressed similar sentiments in an interview with Yoshida.

However, Yan noted that many individuals in Shenzhen lack free time and space. As such, the Maker Movement in Shenzhen (and China as a whole) is evolving into something quite distinct. 

More specifically, it is intertwined with the existing electronics ecosystem in Shenzhen, as Makers help local companies open DIY workshops, kick off fresh projects and even open new startups.

“The electronics market on Huanqiang Road has always been a destination for every EE. But its importance is increasing for the rest of us, with the maker movement catching on,” Yoshia concluded.

As we’ve previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, hardware development is becoming a more agile process with the aid of prototyping tools like Atmel-powered RepRap and Arduino boards – both of which are helping to facilitate innovation across the world and particularly in China.

“MakerSpaces will likely enable a new wave of tech startups in China as in the U.S,” Seeed Studio founder Eric Pan told Bits & Pieces during a recent interview. “To be sure, Makers working with their peers are now able to more easily realize their goals, while bringing products to market with new platforms such as e-commerce sites and crowdfunding.”

Interested in learning more about China and the Maker Movement? Previous Bits & Pieces articles on the subject are available here. Atmel also will be at Maker Faire Shenzhen 2014 in April, so be sure to stop by and see us if you are in the area!

Putting a mini industrial robot arm on your desk

UFactory – located in China’s Shenzhen – has debuted a 4-axis parallel-mechanism desktop robot arm. UArm, modeled after the ABB industrial PalletPack robot, is built around Atmel’s ATmega328 MCU which powers a custom board. 

The platform is constructed with acrylic or wood parts and fitted with standard RC hobby servos.

Most of the unit’s mass is concentrated at the base, which acts as a stabilizing factor while facilitating optimized response time. Three servos on the base control the arm’s primary movement, while a mini servo (on the top) moves and rotates an object.

“Once you got your uArm, you can immediately customize it with your own components. For example, you can add a LED to make a computer-controlled desk lamp, install it on the arm on a mobile robot chassis base and move it around, play music, or make a small assembly line at your desk,” a UFactory rep explained in a recent Kickstarter post.

“The possibilities are infinite; there are many more fun applications that can be done by using your uArm kit. And as you try to make it work, you will learn a lot about robotics and coding. Since it [can] be easily controlled with a smartphone (Android and iOS), people with [little or] no programming background [will] also enjoy the fun of robotics.”

UFactory has also coded a basic Windows app that allows the uArm to be maneuvered with a keyboard or mouse.

“Our embedded inverse-kinematics algorithm [allows] the uArm to be precisely controlled using coordinates,” the rep continued.

“[In addition], we have written an Arduino library specifically for controlling the uArm. So if you are familiar with Arduino, you can program it directly with Arduino IDE. By calling different functions, you can move uArm to [a specific] position without doing tons of hard math.”

Interested in learning more about the Atmel-powered uArm? You can check out the project’s official Kickstarter page here.

A xylophone-playing robot?!

Makeblock is an aluminum extrusion construction system for DIY mechanics and electronics that can be used to create robots, toys, machines and even art-ware.

Recently, the folks at Makeblock constructed a “Music Robot” to showcase the versatility of its kit, using an Arduino Uno (powered by Atmel’s ATmega328), timing belt, sliding rail, step motor, electromagnet and motor driver.

“So far, the robot can be controlled by [an] application via USB cable installed on [a] computer, [or] by [a] smartphone [using] Bluetooth,” a Makeblock rep wrote in an Instructables blog post. “The special application for Android [devices] is in [the] planning [stage].”

Makeblock – which was recently covered by Makezine – is a startup located in Shenzhen, China.

Additional information about Makeblock’s xylophone-playing robot can be found here on Instructables and here on the official Makeblock forum.