Tag Archives: Silicon Valley

The Tech Challenge wins Noyce Foundation Award

For 27 years, The Tech Challenge, a signature program of The Tech Museum of Innovation, has inspired creativity and equipped students with hands-on experiences in engineering design and real-world problem solving. In recognition of the museum’s continued efforts in STEM, it was named a recipient of this year’s Noyce Foundation “Bright Lights Community Engagement Award” for the the museum’s annual design and engineering program.

“This award is a tremendous honor for The Tech,” explained President Tim Ritchie. “The prize will be used to deepen The Tech Challenge’s penetration into communities that need it most — those full of kids who are at the margins of the mainstream, for whom deep engagement with science and technology is more elusive than it should be.”

Each year, The Tech Challenge program presents a project geared to solving a real-world problem and teaches the complete engineering process — research, brainstorm, design, prototype, test, iterate. The program, which attracts more than 2,000 students, culminates with two event days during which teams of students present their innovations to volunteer judges from the Silicon Valley technology world. Throughout its history, The Tech Challenge has steadily increased participation among low-income children and girls through targeted and effective community outreach. In fact, nearly 40% of participants are from low-income families and 45% are girls.

In a pool of 94 applicants judged through three rounds, The Tech was one of seven winners. In addition to The Tech, the winners included Explora (Albuquerque, NM); the Hands On Children’s Museum (Olympia, WA); the Science Museum of Minnesota (St. Paul, MN); the Monterey Bay Aquarium; the Museum of Science and Industry (Tampa, FL); and The Franklin Institute (Philadelphia, PA).

“The program’s success in engaging low-income kids and girls has been remarkable,” the Noyce Foundation wrote.

With the emergence of the Maker Movement, a growing number of schools and museums are creating new programs to enable a greater convergence of both art and technology. Many would compare this “new industrial revolution” as the combination of the old shop class spirit with modern-day technology in do-it-yourself spaces.

Atmel would like to congratulate The Tech Challenge for its recent accomplishment. Keep up the good work!

Infographic: Made in the USA

With the month of July officially underway, Atmel is celebrating Independence Day in patriotic fashion, paying tribute to one of the quintessential cornerstones of the nation’s economic engine – manufacturing. Before cueing the Springsteen, firing up the grills and preparing for your 4th of July festivities, we’re celebrating U.S. manufacturing with this nifty infographic, “Made in the USA.”

Just weeks following the inaugural White House Maker Faire, it’s evident that the revival of American manufacturing is upon us, as the rise of the Maker Movement represents a significant opportunity for the United States. Last month, President Obama by increasing the ability of more Americans, young and old, to have access to tools and techniques that can bring their ideas to life.

“Today’s DIY is tomorrow’s ‘Made in America,” urged President Obama. “Your projects are examples of a revolution that’s taking place in American manufacturing – a revolution that can help us create new jobs and industries decades from now.”

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Whether it’s Makers at home, students in universities or engineers in R&D, manufacturing is on the rise. It’s making a comeback and fueling innovation! Although a global corporation, Atmel is proud of the spirit of what many are calling the manufacturing renaissance here in the United States – in both Silicon Valley and Colorado Springs.

In just the past three years, the U.S. has experienced the creation 500,000 jobs, with Atmel the proud employer of 1,532 manufacturing employees. Bolstering American manufacturing is one of the best ways to increase the number of jobs – that manufacturing is at the core of the American ethos.

As in other parts of the country, businesses related to manufacturing have always played an important role in Silicon Valley. Throughout most of the 20th century, it was the American manufacturing industry that helped create the foundation for the middle class. It was the engine responsible for propelling the U.S. to global economic prominence, while setting the standard for quality; be it for cars, television sets or semiconductors.

As manufacturing boomed, industrialization came to change the very fabric of American life, symbiotically. Today, the semiconductor industry directly employs a quarter of a million people in the U.S. and supports more than one million additional American jobs. In 2013, U.S. semiconductor company sales totaled $155 billion – helping to make the global trillion dollar electronics industry possible. The U.S. has also seen a 52 percent increase in investment in the R&D semiconductor space, with $10 billion between 2007 and 2012. To be sure, U.S. semiconductor companies currently represent over half the worldwide market and are responsible for one of America’s largest exports.

Even in troubled economic times, the U.S. has managed to add approximately 520,000 manufacturing jobs since January 2010 and supports 17.2 million manufacturing jobs as a whole, with post-recession American manufacturing outpacing other nations. Nearly 12 million (about one in 10) people in the U.S. are employed directly in manufacturing.

Semiconductors – the little microchips controlling all modern electronics – are part and parcel of the American manufacturing landscape. As the building blocks of technology, they’re an integral component of America’s economic strength, national security and global competitiveness. Even more importantly, they’re used to develop the technologies helping us build a better future.

Most notably, the President notes that the path to this new era of American manufacturing has never been easier, citing the new tools and tech that are making the building of things easier than ever. Through resources and technology offered through the likes of Atmel-powered devices and other maker communities, we’ve reached a point at which there’s a democratization of manufacturing.

Sparklers and fireworks aside, today Atmel embraces the official observance of the national holiday through showcasing the best of U.S. manufacturing, investing and more. With that said, the Atmel team wishes you a very Happy 4th of July!

Fourthofjuly_InfoGraphic_Final Print_V3

 

SigFox plans Silicon Valley IoT cellular network

Writing for MIT’s Technology Review, Tom Simonite confirms that SigFox plans on building a cellular network for the rapidly growing Internet of Things (IoT) in San Francisco later this year. 

According to SigFox, the wireless network is intended to make it cheap and practical to link anything to the Internet, including smoke detectors, dog collars, bicycle locks and water pipes.

“If you want to get to billions of connections like that, you require a completely new type of network,” Luke D’Arcy, director of SigFox’s operations in the US, told the publication.

As Simonite notes, the Silicon Valley network is slated to leverage the unlicensed 915-megahertz spectrum band typical used by cordless phones.

“Objects connected to SigFox’s network can operate at very low power but will be able to transmit at only 100 bits per second—slower by a factor of 1,000 than the networks that serve smartphones. But that could be enough for many applications,” he explains. 

”A SigFox base station can serve a radius of tens of kilometers in the countryside and five kilometers in urban areas. To connect to the network, a device will need a $1 or $2 wireless chip that’s compatible, and customers will pay about $1 in service charges per year per device.”

It should be noted that French startup SigFox recently showcased its Atmel-powered global cellular connectivity solution for the IoT at the Atmel booth during Embedded World 2014 in Nuremberg, Germany.

According to company rep Jacques Husser, SigFox-ready devices connect to the Internet without any geographically dependent connectivity costs or location-specific network configuration. The worldwide connectivity solution is managed through the Sigfox Network Operator partnership program, effectively linking local ecosystems to the global network.

That is why, says Husser, the phrase “one network, a billion dreams” has become the company’s slogan. 

Indeed, SigFox utilizes UNB (Ultra Narrow Band) radio technology to connect devices to its global network. The use of UNB is key to providing a scalable, high-capacity network, with very low energy consumption, while maintaining a simple and easy to rollout star-based cell infrastructure.

 The network operates in the globally available ISM bands (license-free frequency bands) and co-exists in these frequencies with other radio technologies – without any risk of collisions or capacity problems.

SigFox currently uses the most popular European ISM band on 868MHz (as defined by ETSI and CEPT), along with 902MHz in the USA (as defined by the FCC), depending on specific regional regulations.

SigFox secures communications in a number of ways, including anti-replay, message scrambling and sequencing. Perhaps most importantly, only the device vendors understand the actual data exchanged between the device and the IT systems. Simply put, Sigfox acts as a transport channel, pushing the data towards the customer’s IT system.

Interested in learning more about Sigfox? You can check out the official company website here.

DIY Makers inspire Silicon Valley

Writing for Reuters, Noel Randewich notes that Silicon Valley was originally made famous by hard-scrabble hackers and modders building radios, microchips and other devices.

“Now, a proliferation of high-tech but affordable manufacturing tools and new sources of funding are empowering a [new] generation of handy entrepreneurs, [while] laying the foundation for a hardware renaissance,” he explains.

Designers work at computer stations at TechShop in the South of Market neighborhood in San Francisco, California April 24, 2014. CREDIT: REUTERS/ROBERT GALBRAITH

“[The] Maker movement [is] sweeping northern California and, in a smaller way, Europe and other countries. Renewed interest in tinkering with objects – versus apps or software – is attracting more money from investors and fostering a growing number of workshops, where aspiring inventors can get their hands on computerized milling machines and other high-end tools.”

Ann Miura-Ko, a self-professed tinkerer and partner at Floodgate, tells Reuters she believes nostalgia for the Valley days of yore plays a key role in the Maker boom.

“Just the same way you have kids who have been coding for 10 years at the age of 16, you’re going to see kids who have been making stuff for 10 years at the age of 16. If you see that, you’ll know we’re ready for the Mark Zuckerberg of hardware.”

As Randewich points out, the growing wave of do-it-yourselfers may very well hold the key to manufacturing innovation.

“Hardware is catching up to the open-source revolution, with common standards and a culture that encourages the sharing of designs and building blocks that save inventors the time and expense of reinventing the wheel,” he writes.

“Take the palm-sized [Atmel-powered] Arduino, ubiquitous in the Maker Movement. The roughly $20 item was developed for students, offering low price and relatively easy programming. Arduino lets do-it-yourselfers snap together and program interchangeable components such as GPS chips and motor controllers to run everything from robots to cocktail mixers.”

Meanwhile, Christine Furstoss of General Electric says products of the do-it-yourself movement – improved 3D printing, laser cutters, water jets and other tools – will help the United States safeguard and extend its lead in advanced manufacturing.

“We’re proud of our manufacturing heritage, but we don’t invent everything… The spirit and tools of the Maker Movement are something we want to engage with,” she concludes.

The full text of “Do-it-yourselfers Inspire Hardware Renaissance in Silicon Valley” by Noel Randewich is available on Reuters here.

The home lab of Bo Lojek

I was touring Atmel’s fab in Colorado Springs, so I made a point of contacting Bo Lojek, the author of the great book, the History of Semiconductor Engineering. Although Bo is now a professor at University of Colorado, he worked at Atmel for 15 years. I was honored that he asked me to his home in Colorado Springs. Well, I have a pretty good home lab, but Bo’s lab just blew me away. Bo said he wanted to be an engineer from the time he was 7 years old. It runs in the family, his dad was an engineer too.

So Bo told me that he built his house in Colorado Springs. If one of my Silicon Valley buddies says this he means that he had a custom floor plan home built by a homebuilder. For Bo, it means he had an engineer design the house to his specs, using metal studs, and Bo himself constructed the house, driving all 37,000 self-tapping drywall screws. I think he said it was 3600 square feet. Yes, it’s an engineer’s paradise.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA This is what meets you at the foyer just inside the front door of Bo’s house. Bo said if I came back at daytime I could check out his collection of Dumont scopes in the garage.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA Every engineer worth his salt needs a Data General Eclipse computer in the hallway, just for data processing emergencies. Bo has arranged for all his stuff to go to the University of Colorado when he dies. It will be great to keep this museum together. It will also be a great excuse to visit Colorado Springs, other than to meet the space aliens that the Stargate people have inside the NORAD mountain.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA Bo has some early computer boards nicely framed on the wall.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA Lojek has a huge collection of voltmeters, including this Cubic model V-46A. It uses telephone stepper relays and a handful of transistors to measure voltage. Pretty cool for 1960.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA On Bo Lojek’s bookshelf are propped up some vacuum tube modules from a very early computer.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA And let’s enjoy Bo checking out the whole bookshelf. His house is not only engineer paradise, its college professor paradise.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA While Bo does not have the disorganization of dear departed Bob Pease, he does have a few things littering the floor. I used to use the same Data IO programmers to program the microcontrollers I designed into my consulting work.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA It does not disturb me that Lojek has a stack of early Tektronix mainframe scopes. What bothers me is I have several friends that have the same sort of stack.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA How about these early 2N1302 transistors from honored competitor Texas Instruments?

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA Lojek has drawer after drawer full of electronic components, including these vacuum tube computer boards.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA Bo told me that when Bob Pease visited his house, he could not tear him away from these two analog computers. I should mention that I knew of Bo because Pease told me what a cool guy he was. Bob knew Bo because Bob edited Bo’s book. Since English is Bo’s second language that was a lot of work, but Pease was happy to do it since it was such an important contribution from such a cool guy.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA Here is a close-up of the analog computer that so entranced Bob Pease.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA All this cool stuff above is just stacked like cordwood all over the house. This is where we finally got to Bo Lojek’s lab bench.  Bo told me he likes to write or read for a while, but then he has to go to the bench to do some experimentation. It reminds me so much of my mentor Bob Pease, who had an equal love for working with his hands a soldering iron.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA Every surface in Bo Lojek’s house is a treasure trove of memorabilia and electronic equipment.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA Here is a very early computer board that used “air gap” integrated circuits. Analog Devices’ Barrie Gilbert told me that he got into electronics because surplus WWII magnetrons were so beautiful to look at he had to learn how they worked.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA And how about this, a Bob Widlar business card? I love the title “ROAD AGENT”. Widlar had style.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA And when your engineer friend tells you he has a walk-in closet— this is what he means.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA Lojek has an artistic streak. Amongst the pretty glass are a handful over very early galvanometers, some from the 1800s.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA More cool galvos and such. I wonder if the founder of Digi-Key has that same telegraph key? Ronald Stordahl started out Digi-Key by selling electronic telegraph key kits to Ham radio operators.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA Here Bo Lojek admires a framed set of Minuteman missile circuit boards. Jim Williams had an interconnected set on his living room. Check the Minuteman missile PCBs and Jim Williams out in this video.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA OK, so I lied. That picture earlier, the one I called Bo Lojek’s lab bench. That was just the emergency downstairs lab bench useful of quick jobs. Here is the real lab bench. Next time I get to his house, I will fire up that big soldering iron and put it down right before the picture, so there will be a wisp of smoke coming off of it, like a Cowboy’s 6-shooter.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA That main bench above has a side bench on another wall.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA And books, boy do college professors love books.

It was a real treat to see Bo. He said he is going to try and make it to the next Analog Aficionados party, so I will remind him so he can be among like-minded souls out here in Silicon Valley. The party will be Feb 8 2014, the Saturday before the IEEE ISSCC conference.

AVR ATtiny10 runs LED blinker for 6 months

Check out our new AVR site. In celebration, I want to tell you about a neat project. My buddy Wayne Yamaguchi had a whole bunch of tiny coin cells left over from a project. So he whipped up a little AVR blinker using an AVR ATtiny10. The one he gave me flashes every two seconds and is quite bright. Wayne’s design intent was to put this inside a phosphor-coated globe and have a UV LED charge up the phosphors every few seconds. For this round he is just using a white LED, but you can see “UV” on the silkscreen. Wayne has done some quick calculations and it looks like if you slow it down to one 3mA flash every 8 seconds it should last for 6 months. Wayne’s trick it to take the AVR out of active mode and put it to sleep, and use the Watch Dog Timer to wake it up, flash the LED and then go back to sleep. Wayne describes the ATtiny10 project here.

ATtiny10-blinker_Yamaguchi_finger

This flasher works 6 months off a CR1220 lithium cell. Using the ATtiny watchdog timer is the secret to such miniscule power consumption.

It’s interesting to note that Wayne started out with a MCU from an Atmel competitor and found it unsuitable. As many other friends have noted about these other MCUs, Wayne said, “…a lot more coding had to be done to get the job accomplished.” He also ran into limitations where he had to do a work-around in the competitor’s chip. Another friend has commented that competing MCUs can often do one thing well, but when it needs to do two tasks, even simple ones, there are real headaches. That is why they love AVR chips. AVRs were “invented” as a complete modern architecture. Once you know one chip, it’s easy to move around to others in the AVR family, even the AVR 32-bit chips.

The only reason Wayne did not start with the AVR is that he thought he could not keep his obsolete Studio 4 install, which he knows and trusts, and still program the ATtiny10. I asked around, and my Atmel pals told me that everything Wayne would need is in the Atmel Software Framework (ASF). Sure enough that lead Wayne to a solution, and he had his ATtiny10s working under Studio 4. I kept telling Wayne to just upgrade to Studio 6, which will let you program AVR-32 and our ARM-based MCUs as well as all the 8-bit AVRs. Wayne did not want to risk changing environments, since he has several existing products that he changes and customizes and supports with Studio 4. My friends say the answer there is to just run virtual computers with VM Ware or Virtual Box. You can have Studio 4 on one Windows install and Studio 6 on another. Or you can set restore points and go back and forth between the two Studios on one install.

ATtiny10-blinker_Yamaguchi_prototype

Wayne Yamaguchi uses toner-transfer and a homemade acid bath to make prototypes in an hour.

Another interesting thing in Wayne’s blog linked above is a picture he has of the prototype. At first blush it looks like he used a router like a LPKF machine to do the board. But if you look closely, you can see some un-etched copper at the edges. Wayne uses toner transfer and a ferric chloride tank to make his own PCBs in a couple hours. The reason they look like routed boards is that Wayne is smart enough to generate the Gerbers this way so that he uses the minimum amount of ferric chloride to etch the copper. Why etch off big areas if you don’ have to? He outlines this technique in an article about prototyping I wrote a few years ago.

Now wayne did the prototype raw-copper PCB in a day to get started, but he wanted a nicer board for development (see pics and below). For this he turned to OSH Park up in Oregon. He panalized the boards as you can see from the break-away tabs on the edge. The bottom line is each PCB ended up costing him a dollar. I think he was out 20 bucks for the order and got 18 boards. OSH Park collects orders for small lots and puts them all onto a 18×24 panel used in the PCB fab industry. I like the looks of the boards since you get a silkscreen and soldermask. Don’t think, “Its just a prototype, I don’t need a silk or soldermask.” It’s you the one soldering on the board and a silkscreen tells you what goes where. It’s you re-soldering stuff and hand-soldering stuff and the soldermask is a blessing, especially with tiny parts. You want your prototype to be as close to production as possible. OSH Park panelizes two-layer boards every other day and gets a four-layer panel together every four days. You might wait a bit, but I have heard of several happy customers. For small boards like the Blinkie, they make great sense. For anything more serious I will stick with Proto-Express, right here in Silicon Valley. They do 4-mil spacing, can do 24oz copper (not at the same time!) and once your board is perfect, they have a partner in China to do high-volume for cheap. Three standard 2-layer boards in 4 days for about $90 and three 4-layer boards for $150 or so. And that is silk both sides if I remember right.

In addition to the info on his blog post linked above, Wayne sent me an email with the information about the flasher. He uses Evernote to store his notes as he does a project, so below are his notes to himself. I put in current Digi-Key pricing.

Wayne-Yamaguchi_Blinkie-LED-flasher

Wayne Yamaguchi shows the Blinkie flasher he designed.

Wayne did this project a couple months ago. What was interesting was how much longer the flasher ran compared to his calculations. We are not sure if this is because the batteries really have more energy when you discharge them this way, or maybe there is some other factor we don’t understand. It’s good news nevertheless. I can tell you the flasher he gave me a couple months ago is still flashing every 2 seconds. Here are Wayne’s notes:

CR2016, CR2032 Battery Info UV Blinker

2016 – 90mAH

2032 – 240mAH

Compute the average current if LED is pulsed 1 sec every 10 minutes.

1 minute = 60 seconds, 10 minutes = 600 seconds.

1 out of 600.  0.17% duty cycle.

If the LED current is 10mA then average is 17uA.

Attiny10 Power down supply current @3V is 4.5uA.

Attiny10 pricing (Sept 17, 2013):

All prices are in US dollars.
Digi-Key Part Number ATTINY10-TSHRCT-ND Price Break Unit Price Extended Price
Quantity Available Digi-Key Stock: 21,464

1

0.69

0.69

Can ship immediately

25

0.576

14.4

Manufacturer Atmel

100

0.464

46.4

1,000

0.4256

425.6

Manufacturer Part Number ATTINY10-TSHR
Description IC MCU 8BIT 1KB FLASH SOT23
Lead Free Status / RoHS Status Lead free / RoHS Compliant

CR1220 battery Energizer Specifications.  Typical Capacity 40mA/Hr.  down to 2V.

$0.90 each at Digi-Key (Panasonic)

The Nichia 310 in the open bag measure 3mA @3V.

Watch Dog Timer table (from ATtiny10 full datasheet):

ATtiny10_WDT_prescale

CR1220 UV Blinker Board as rendered by OSH Park.

Yamaguchi_CR1220_PCB

Here is the PCB layout for the CR1220 battery Blinkie

 Using 3mA for LED current and 40mA/hr battery capacity gives these run-times:

Delay

tiny10current

average LED current

Estimated Run Time

1 sec

4.5uA

30uA

1,159hrs – 48.3days (~1.61 mos)

2 sec

4.5uA

15uA

2,051hrs – 85.47days (~2.84 mos)

4 sec

4.5uA

7.5uA

3,333hrs – 139 days (~4.62 mos)

8 sec

4.5uA

3.75uA

4,848hrs – 202 days  (~6 mos)

0.25 sec

4.5uA

120uA

240hrs – 10.04 days

0.125 sec

4.5uA

240uA

163.6hrs – 6.82 days

64mS

4.5uA

480uA

82hrs – 3.4 days

CR2016 (20mm lithium) UV Blinker Board as rendered by OSH Park.

Yamaguchi_CR2016_PCB

Here is a PCB layout for the Blinkie using the larger CR2016 battery.

Note to self: It appears that the ISPmk2 (in-circuit programmer) does program at 3V or other voltages.  The error message during programming is verification failed.  But, it appears to be programmed correct.

As a side note, future blinkies should have the LED driven from the free pin PB2.

Run-time test: 64ms sec Blinkie.  1220 battery.

6/22/2013 2.975v

6/26/2013 – 2.750V 6:16   (Should have ended today)

6/27/2013 – 2.736V 10:08am

6/28/2013 – 2.728V 2:06pm

7/3/2013 – 2.43V 9:57am

7/4/2013 – no LED.  Could be still running, but, LED is not visible.

Wayne-Yamaguchi_Francis-Lau_Blinkie-LED-flasher

Wayne Yamaguchi (L) explains the LED flasher held by crack protégé Francis Lau. Lunch was at the Pho Kim restaurant in San Jose.

ATtiny10-blinker_Yamaguchi_flash

It took a few tries, but I finally caught the Blinkie flashing when I snapped the picture.

-30-

Atmel celebrates July 4th… infographic style

For many, the Fourth of July is all about the festivities and fireworks. Here at Atmel, it’s also a day when we pay tribute to one of the quintessential cornerstones of the nation’s economic engine – manufacturing.

As in other parts of the country, businesses related to manufacturing have always played an important role in Silicon Valley. Throughout most of the 20th century, it was the American manufacturing industry that helped create the foundation for the middle class. It was the engine responsible for propelling the US to global economic prominence, while setting the standard for quality; be it for cars, television sets, or semiconductors.

As manufacturing boomed, industrialization came to change the very fabric of American life, symbiotically.

Today, the semiconductor industry directly employs a quarter of a million people in the U.S. and supports more than one million additional American jobs. In 2012, U.S. semiconductor companies generated $146 billion in sales – helping to make the global trillion dollar electronics industry possible. To be sure, U.S. semiconductor companies currently represent over half the worldwide market and are responsible for one of America’s largest exports.

Even in troubled economic times, the U.S. has managed to add approximately 520,000 manufacturing jobs since January 2010 and supports 17.2 million manufacturing jobs as a whole, with post-recession American manufacturing outpacing other nations. Nearly 12 million (about 1 in 10) people in the U.S. are employed directly in manufacturing.

In 2012, U.S. manufacturing contributed to $1.87 trillion to the economy, up from $1.73 in year prior and every $1 of manufacturing activity returns $1.48 to the U.S. economy. In terms of cost savings, U.S. factories’ access to cheap energy equates to cheaper costs than overseas oil and pricey shipping.

Semiconductors – the little microchips controlling all modern electronics – are part and parcel of the American manufacturing landscape. As the building blocks of technology, they’re an integral part of America’s economic strength, national security and global competitiveness. Even more importantly, they’re used to develop the technologies helping us build a better future.

TIME Magazine recently wrote that new “Made in America” economics is centered largely around cutting-edge technologies, like 3D-printing and robotics, two industries near and dear to Atmel’s heart and that of the Maker Movement we support.

Last December, President Obama made his case for a reinvigorated manufacturing base, a vision that is not unachievable. According to Moody’s Economy.com, if every American spent an extra $3.33 on U.S. made goods, it would create nearly 10,000 new American jobs.

Although Atmel is an international corporation, we’re awfully proud to be headquartered in Silicon Valley, just as we are to operate a major fab in Colorado Springs.

Happy July 4th to one and all!

4th of July_FINAL-01