Tag Archives: smart

Report: 20% of U.S. broadband households to get smart home devices by next year

A new survey released by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and Parks Associates shows continued strong growth of smart home products in U.S. homes, as 20% of households with broadband intend to acquire one or more smart home devices within the next year. The report, entitled “Internet of Things: Smart Home Devices and Controllers,” revealed that nearly half (48%) of those surveyed who own a smart home device are under 35-years-old.


“It makes sense that early adopters of smart home devices tend to be younger, have a high-tech affinity and are four-times as likely to buy new technology as soon as it is available,” explained Steve Koenig, CEA’s Director of Industry Analysis. “More than half of smart home device owners say they want to use technology as a way to create more time with their family.”

Through its embedded microcontrollers, smart home devices and systems are equipped with processing intelligence, and connected to the Internet through a home network for remote access, monitoring and control capabilities. While 13% of broadband households own at least one smart home device, the survey found unit sales of devices like smart thermostats, door locks, smoke detectors and light switches will continue to offer high-growth rates. In 2014 alone, these types of smart home devices will reach 20.7 million units, while set to increase to 35.9 million units by 2017.


“Now is the time for the industry to deliver on the promise of better, easier-to-use products, systems and services to help consumers manage their homes,” stated Tricia Parks, CEO of Parks Associates. “Roughly one-third of smart device owners spent more than one month shopping around. Manufactures and service providers must engage and educate the consumer during that purchase process if they want to capture them.”

According to the research, consumers have the highest intention to purchase smart lights (16%) and smart thermostats (16%). Overall, nearly two-thirds seek to purchase a smart device that will communicate with another smart device. As the number of smart devices in a household increases, as will the importance of interoperability. In fact, 60% of owners with three or more devices say interoperability is “very important.”

The point of purchase varies, but a majority of smart devices are bought through a retailer or given as a gift. Smart door locks (27%), smoke detectors (25%), and garage door openers (24%) were the most gifted smart home device. Additionally, smart door locks (38%), home or kitchen appliances (34%), and power strips (33%) were among the smart devices most often purchased from a national or local retailer.

Those interested in learning more can download the entire study here.

SKULLY AR-1 is the world’s smartest motorcycle helmet

Well, if hoverbikes are going to be hitting the streets in the near future, riders are going to need a space-age headgear to go with their new vehicle. In comes the SKULLY AR-1, the world’s smartest motorcycle helmet. In a show of support, riders across the globe have responded with unprecedented funding. In fact, the Indiegogo campaign skyrocketed past its original goal of $250,000 in just eight minutes on August 11th, and by midday had nearly tripled that goal with 340 preorders. The Skully AR-1 is the fastest IndieGoGo hardware campaign to reach $1 million to date.


What more could a motorcycle helmet do than protect your precious brain? The AR-1 boasts enough technology to make even most savvy engineer look twice… even our very own Paul Rako! The one-of-a-kind helmet combines a 180-degree rear-view camera, heads-up display, a rear-facing camera, turn-by-turn GPS, electro-chromic face shield, voice control, Bluetooth connectivity and smartphone pairing — all while DOT and ECE-certified for safety!

Just last month, SKULLY Founder and CEO Marcus Weller announced, “We are beyond excited to begin production on what has become the most anticipated motorcycle helmet in history. We are doing something so few companies have the opportunity to do… we are changing an industry and forcing the world to adapt.”


The lightweight polycarbonate helmet features all the regular expectations of a top-of-the-line helmet, such as an anti-fog and anti-scratch visor and a customizable (albeit 3D laser cutting!) fit. To go with these high-end features, the AR-1 does utilize technology in a way never before imagined in this field.

The rear-facing camera provides a 180-degree view on the HUD, along with select vehicle telemetry statistics. The helmet will also come equipped with onboard GPS technology, so even if a rider finds himself or herself outside of cell coverage, they can find their way back home. An embedded high-speed microprocessor aids the device in analyzing and displaying all of the collected data. In the spirit of the open source movement, the company will be releasing an SDK in the coming months so that the riding community can help improve the onboard software applications.

“The AR-1 is our little dent in the universe. The AR-1 will introduce a new era in intelligent transportation by combining optics, intelligent vehicle systems and connectivity to deliver unprecedented levels of safety,” its founder adds.

The AR-1 currently costs $1,399 when pre-ordered with an international price of $1,499, or $25,000 for one of four original prototypes. Interested? More details can be found on SKULLY’s official page here.

SKULLY’s dynamic helmet is just one of many of the latest wearable innovations making an impact. Smart helmets call for smarter designs which call for the smartest MCUs.

Atmel | SMART MCUs are here!

Atmel Corporation, a global leader in microcontroller (MCU) and touch solutions, today announced the company has launched Atmel® | SMART™, the new brand of ARM®-based microcontrollers and has expanded its SMART portfolio with new SmartConnect SAM W23 modules, enabling Wi-Fi connectivity and the best of high performance and low power technology for Internet of Things (IoT) applications.

Atmel® | SMART™ ARM-based microcontrollers deliver the platform for intelligent, connected devices in the era of IoT, wireless and energy efficiency. These solutions include embedded processing and connectivity—as well as software and tools, designed to make development faster and more cost-effective to bring the best-in-class products to market. Atmel® | SMART™ MCUs combine powerful 32-bit ARM cores with industry-leading low-power technology and intelligent peripherals.

“Through the convergence of Atmel’s ultra-low power MCUs and Wi-Fi solutions, Atmel continues to benefit through the vast range of products developed such as SmartConnect,” said Reza Kazerounian, senior vice president and general manager, microcontroller business unit at Atmel. “Encompassing our unique combination of high performance, power efficiency and design flexibility, Atmel® | SMART™ is a true testament to Atmel’s commitment to innovation and is poised to deliver breakthrough technologies and key ingredients powering The Internet of Things.”

As part of the Atmel® | SMART™ product offering, the SAM W23 module offers the ideal solution for designers seeking to integrate Wi-Fi connectivity even with limited experience with IEEE802.11, RTOS, IP Stack or RF. These modules are based on Atmel’s industry leading ultra-low-power Wi-Fi SoC (System on Chip) combined with Atmel’s ARM® Cortex®M0+ based microcontroller technology. This turnkey system provides an integrated software solution with application and security protocols such as TLS, integrated network services (TCP/IP stack) and a standard Real Time Operating System (RTOS) which are all available through a simple serial host interface (SPI, UART) within Atmel Studio 6’s integrated development platform (IDP).

“With the increasing demand for extended battery life and greater connectivity, the SAM W23 eliminates the complexities associated with using traditional Wi-Fi solutions with an ease of use ideal for a vast range of industrial and consumer markets,” said Kaivan Karimi, vice president and general manager of the wireless microcontroller business unit at Atmel. “Whether you are a OEM, a developer or a maker, the SAM W23 paired with our broad portfolio of MCUs enables you to accelerate your development of IoT products, providing increased seamless connectivity with a whole new world of device use cases.”

Evaluation Kit

To help accelerate a designer’s development, the SAM W23, mounted on an XPRO wing, and compatible with any existing Atmel Xplained PRO evaluation board, is available now. The SmartConnect library is a turnkey Software Framework available in Atmel Studio that removes the need to understand the Wi-Fi stack, allowing designers to focus on adding functions.


The SAM W23 is available both as a fully certified module, as well as a reference design kit for OEMS to build modules based on the SAM W23 chipset. Developers can use the SAM W23 platform as a standalone system or as an add-on solution to enable Wi-Fi connectivity in an existing design.

Video: Atmel @ Embedded World (Day 0)

Atmel is at Embedded World 2014 in Nuremberg Germany, where the company has launched a number of new products to drive smart, connected devices in the era of the Internet of Things (IoT).

Some of the new products, along with interactive demos, will be showcased on Days 1-3 of the show at the official Atmel booth located in Hall 4A / #4A-220. Exhibits and demos include:

  • Capacitive touch capability with Atmel’s QTouch technologies – Highlights various home appliances to demonstrate conductive immunity and moisture tolerance, along with an Xplained Pro board and capacitive touch extension board.
  • New ARM MCU solutions – A SAM4E data logger with signal processing based on Atmel’s ARM Cortex-M4 MCUs and a SAM D20 global positioning system tracker based on Atmel’s ARM Cortex-M0+ MCUs.
  • SAM A5 MPU applications – A new SAMA5D3 Xplained board, a low-cost ARM Cortex A5 processor kit, a smart thermostat, a home automation and smart fridge demo with a 7” capacitive touch panel.

Atmel’s Wi-Fi connectivity solutions – A Turtle Beach i60 headset and Roku 3 box used on a Vizio M-Series flat panel on display.
  • Atmel SmartConnect Integrates the company’s Wi-Fi technology with a Cortex M0+ core.
The new SAMR21 family of wireless MCUs (supported by the new SAMR21 Xplained PRO evaluation kits).
  • ZigBee and open-source 6LoWPAN solutions with cloud services.

Other notable demos include Ivee Sleek Wi-Fi, a voice-activated assistance for the home that helps manage and control connected devices without hands; a finger print, voice-search, secure Bluetooth / USB drive that displays passwords; a tiny automatic camera and app that boasts a searchable and shareable photographic memory and a 5mm x 5mm Cortex-A5 System on Module card. 

A polyphase smart e-metering board based on a dual ARM Cortex-M4 core system-on-chip with an integrated metrology AFE will also be on display in the booth.

Along with the new Atmel Studio 6.2 and Atmel-ICE, we will be demoing our latest integrated development platform and advanced debug probe. We will also be highlighting a new SAMA5D3 Xplained cost-effective kit based on the ARM Cortex-A5 processor MPU, as well as the new Xplained Mini ultra-low cost evaluation kit with an Atmel 8-bit AVR, low pin-count MCU for less than USD $10. 

In addition, we plan on hosting several Arduino board demonstrations based onAtmel MCUs for our Maker community.

And, by popular demand, Atmel will also be showcasing its advanced AvantCar demo, a next-generation automotive center console concept with curved touchscreens that illustrates the combined use of Atmel’s XSensemaXTouchQTouch and 8-bit AVR MCU technologies.

Meanwhile, Atmel’s low-power MCU Expert Bob Martin is scheduled to present “Differentiating and Optimizing for Static and Active Microcontroller Modes” during the hands-on workshop: “Applying Optimizing Techniques for Ultra-low Power Microcontrollers” (Class 07) on Wednesday, February 26. In this 9:00 am – 5:00 pm CET day-long session, Martin will be presenting at 9:15 am CET. Last, but certainly not least, Atmel will be announcing winners from its AVR Hero Design contest at the show.

17 million wearable bands to ship in 2014

Basic and smart wearable band shipments increased dramatically in the second half of 2013, with analysts at Canalys predicting a significant acceleration of the trend in 2014. Indeed, over 17 million wearable bands are forecast to ship this year, driven primarily by devices with wearable-specific sensors.

According to Canalys analyst Chris Jones, basic band vendors boast greater wearable expertise and have shipped more numbers to date. Nevertheless, the category of smart bands is already growing faster than its basic counterpart.

“Increasingly, smart bands will adopt basic band features as the two categories converge,” he confirmed.

Though currently a relatively small market serving fitness enthusiasts, wearable bands represent a massive opportunity in the medical and wellness segment. 

Indeed, 2014 will be the year that wearables become a key consumer technology, with the smart band segment expected to reach 8 million annual shipments. More specifically, Canalys estimates this number will grow to over 23 million units by 2015 and over 45 million by 2017.

“The wearable band market is really about the consumerization of health,” said Canalys analyst Daniel Matte. “There will be exciting innovations that disrupt the medical industry this year, and with the increased awareness about personal well-being they will bring to users, having a computer on your wrist will become increasingly common.”

To be sure, Canalys analysts say high-margin smart bands that incorporate sophisticated sensor technology will offer vendors enormous profit potential.

“Android will be critical for developing the smart band app ecosystem, though significant changes will be required before it is suitable for wearable devices,” Matte concluded. “[We] expect Android to enter the smart band market soon in a meaningful way. [Of course], battery life and quality of sensor data will [also] be vital metrics of success for all smart bands.”