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Atmel and other things turning 30 in 2014

The big 3-0. Can you believe it? It seems like yesterday, we were focusing on non-volatile memories and inventing EEPROM. And now, we’re looking back in the rearview mirror over the past 30 years as gaze ahead towards the constantly-connected era, better known as the the Internet of Things.

Ah, 1984. A period when our company was just being founded, Prince was turning the silver screen purple, the first Mac was hitting our desks, and Kevin Bacon was helping a small town get its groove back. Safe to say, if you’re turning 30 this year, you’re in good company… here’s some proof.

Tetris

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Russian programmer Alexey Pajitnov released the first version of the game — which featured seven tetrominos descending from the top of a the screen to form a puzzle stack at the bottom — on June 6, 1984. The game would go on to become insanely popular and… addicting.


The Mac

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Steve Jobs introduced the original Macintosh computer on January 24, 1984. At the time, the model (which would later be renamed to “Macintosh 128k”) was the first mass-market PC featuring an integralgraphical user interface and mouse.


Dell

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Michael Dell created PC’s Limited while a student at the University of Texas on February 1, 1984. Originally, he sold IBM PC-compatible computers built from stock components out of his dorm room, before eventually dropping out to focus full-time on his fledging business.


3D Printing

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In 1984, Chuck Hull of 3D Systems Corporation invented stereolithography, a printing process that enabled a tangible 3D object to be created from digital data. The technology is used to create a 3D model from a picture and enables users to test a design before investing in a larger manufacturing program. Today, a number of Atmel MCUs (including AVR XMEGAmegaAVR and Atmel | SMART SAM3X8E) are used to power these next-gen devices, all inspired by Hull.


IBM Portable

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IBM introduced its Portable Personal Computer 5515 model 68 in February 1984, shortly after the success of Compaq’s suitcase-sized portable machine. At the time, the computer weighed 30 pounds — certainly not “mobile” by today’s standards. The Portable was eventually replaced by the IBM Convertible.


Mark Zuckerberg

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We wouldn’t be sharing this blog on Facebook if the founder of the iconic social channel wasn’t born on May 14, 1984.


HP LaserJet

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The world’s first desktop laser printer for IBM-compatible PCs was introduced in May 1984. It was a 300-dpi, 8 ppm printer that sold for just under $3,500.


Cisco Systems

FILE PHOTO  Cisco Systems Inc. Expected To Post Second Quarter Profits

Networking equipment company Cisco was founded in December of 1984 by two members of Stanford University’s computer support staff. The phenomenal growth of the Internet in the mid-to-late ’90s quickly changed the telecom landscape. Eventually, the company would go on to become evangelists of the “Internet of Everything.”


Computer Viruses

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University of Southern California professor Fred Cohen published a paper entitled “Computer Virus—Theory and Experiments,” where he warned about and shared the first definition of computer viruses.


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

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The TMNT first appeared in an American comic book published by Mirage Studios in May of 1984 in Dover, New Hampshire. The pizza-eating, crime-fighting ninjas were the brainturtles of artists Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman, who in true Maker fashion, started a tiny publishing company out of Laird’s living room.


Legal Taping of TV Shows

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The Supreme Court decided a crucial case in January of 1984. Known as the “Betamax Case,” the court considered whether home VCR users could legally record TV shows for the purpose of watching them later, a practice known as “time-shifting.”


The Declaration of “National Ice Cream Month”

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I scream, you scram, we all scream ‘thanks’ to President Ronald Reagan, who proclaimed July 15, 1984 as the first “National Ice Cream Day.” From there on, the Congress designated July as “National Ice Cream Month.”


“Where’s the Beef?”

Who could ever forget those Wendy’s ads, right? “Where’s the beef?” quickly emerged as a catchphrase throughout the United States and Canada, originating as a slogan for the fast food chain.


TED Conferences

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Born in 1984 out of Richard Saul Wurman’s observation of a powerful convergence of technology, entertainment and design. The first TED included a demo of the compact disc, the e-book and cutting-edge 3D graphics from Lucasfilm, while mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot demonstrated how to map coastlines using his developing theory of fractal geometry. At the time, it was a one-off event held in Monterey, California, organized by Wurman himself.


Transformers

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The Transformers TV show, which made its debut in the U.S. on September 17, 1984. was inspired by the Japanese towline Microman. Transformers shortly thereafter rolled out its own figurines after Hasbro bought distribution rights for the Microman toy molds from Japanese company Takara.


“Baby Bell” Telephone System

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Led by the Bell Telephone Company and subsequently by AT&T, the Bell System was a system of companies which provided telephone services to a majority of North America from 1877 to 1984. In 1984, the system was broken up into seven independent companies by a U.S. Justice Department mandate, which became known as the “Baby Bells.”


This is Spinal Tap

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Directed by Rob Reiner, the breakthrough mockumentary “This is Spinal Tap” was released on March 2, 1984. The film, which would go on to become a cult classic, chronicled the fictional comeback tour of British heavy metal group Spinal Tap.


What is the Trebek Era of JEOPARDY!

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Alex Trebek has hosted nearly 7,000 episodes of JEOPARDYsince its syndicated debut on September 10, 1984. Over the past 30 years, he has become one of TV’s most enduring and iconic figures, engaging millions of viewers worldwide with his impeccable delivery of “answers and questions.”


MTV’s Video Music Awards

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Long before the days of Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears and Usher, MTV launched its first Video Music Awards (commonly referred to as “The VMAS”) on September 14, 1984. The event, which was hosted by Dan Aykroyd and Bette Midler at the Radio City Music Hall, honored the best music videos from May 2, 1983, to May 2, 1984 — an era when the channel actually aired videos!


The Print Shop

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Brøderbund’s Software Inc.s’ publishing package The Print Shop epitomized the 1980s computing, enabling users to make cards, signs, and even banners. Before printing, it showed a colorful “THINKING” screen as it computed the graphics necessary to print.


The Moon Treaty

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The Agreement Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies is an international treaty that turns jurisdiction of all celestial bodies (including the orbits around such bodies) over to the international community. The treaty was finalized in 1979 and entered into force for the ratifying parties in 1984. As a follow-on to the Outer Space Treaty, the Moon Treaty intended to establish a regime for the use of the Moon and other celestial bodies similar to the one established for the sea floor in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.


Canadians in Space

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One of the first country’s first astronauts, Marc Garneau became the first Canadian in outer space in October 1984.


Virgin Atlantic Airways

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Virgin Atlantic’s maiden flight from Gatwick to Newark Liberty International Airport took place on June 22, 1984.


Space Shuttle Discovery’s Maiden Voyage

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Space Shuttle Discovery was one of the three orbiters of NASA’s Space Shuttle program and the third of five built. The shuttle’s maiden voyage occurred on August 30 through September 5, 1984. Over 27 years of service, it would go on to launch and land 39 times, gathering more flight time than any other spacecraft to date.


Ghostbusters

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“Who you gonna call?” The iconic science fantasy comedy — starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Harold Ramis as three eccentric parapsychologists in New York City who start a ghost-catching business — made its box office debut June 8, 1984.


The Terminator

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On May 12, 1984, two beings from the year 2029 arrive in Los Angeles: one is a Terminator T-800 Model 101 (Arnold Schwarzenegger), a cyborg assassin programmed to kill a woman named Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton); the other is Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn), a human resistance fighter sent to protect her.


The Karate Kid

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Released on June 22, 1984, The Karate Kid was an American martial arts romantic drama film starring Ralph Macchio, Noriyuki “Pat” Morita and Elisabeth Shue. The flick was an underdog story in the mold of previous success, Rocky.


Gremlins

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Who could ever forget June 8, 1984? Not only was it the day Ghostbusters made its debut, but it was the day a boy inadvertently broke three important rules concerning his new pet and unleashed a horde of malevolently mischievous monsters on a small town.


Revenge of the Nerds

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Revenge of the Nerds was an American comedy film highlighting the social life on a college campus. The flick, which starred Robert Carradine and Anthony Edwards, made its premiere on July 20, 1984.


Bruce Springsteen “Born in the USA”

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Plain white t-shirt, check. Jeans, check. Red hat in the back pocket, check. This summer anthem was released on June 4, 1984.


Cirque du Soleil

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Before becoming an incredibly popular mix of circus arts and street entertainment (and certainly long before the days of synchronized dancing drones), Cirque du Soleil was conceived with the assistance of the Quebec government, as part of the celebrations surrounding the 450th anniversary of Jacques Cartier’s arrival in Canada. The first production, Le Grand Tour debuted in the small Quebec town of Gaspé, and was later performed in 10 other cities throughout the province. The first blue-and-yellow big top seats 800, much smaller than its sold-out venues today.


Hulkamania

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“Whatcha gonna do, brother?” Hulkamania was officially coined on January 7, 1984.


Doug Flutie’s Hail Mary Pass

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November 23, 1984: A day that will forever live in sports history. What has since been dubbed “The Hail Flutie Game” was a college football game between the Boston College Eagles and University of Miami Hurricanes. The game is most notable for a last-second Hail Mary pass from quarterback Doug Flutie to wide receiver Gerard Phelan to give Boston College the win.


Don’t forget, you can join us in our birthday celebration! Learn how by clicking here.

And the Simply AVR Design Contest winners are…

Back in March, Atmel launched the second stage of its Simply AVR Design Contest, which encouraged Makers, designers and engineers to develop clever, ground-breaking 8-bit microcontroller-based designs using its highly-popular AVR family. After several months of ideation and submissions, we’re excited to announce that the grand prize winner of the contest is Juan Gonzalez for his IoT ATmega2560-powered robot.

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Programmed with Atmel Studio 6.2, the winning IoT project — which garnered nearly 116,000 votes — runs in three modes including Wi-Fi via an Android application, object-tracking mode and MIMIC mode via TCP/IP.

“Atmel AVR MCUs are simple to use, have a robust ecosystem and are extremely flexible, allowing beginner developers to create innovative, out-of-the-box embedded designs beyond traditional applications,” explained Gonzalez.

“The ATmega-powered IoT robot only took me a couple days to put together and I was thrilled when I was notified. Thank you to the Atmel team for enabling me to showcase my design. I will continue to design with AVR MCUs.”

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In total, five winners were selected through public voting on the contest site and Facebook; meanwhile, a separate Simply AVR Design Contest was conducted in parallel in China. Runner-ups included:

Sumit Grover, Remote and GSM-based home automation system

Savvas-George Kokkinidis-Loungos, Wireless remote car device using hand movements

Shreyas Gite, Arduino-powered medical scanner to measure body temperature and other vitals

Rahul Kar, Digital Soduku solver

“I’d like to congratulate our winners for the Simply AVR Design Contest,” said Sander Arts, Atmel Vice President of Marketing. “With over 300,000 votes for all five winners, there was clearly a lot of enthusiasm for the second phase of the Simply AVR Contest. All these projects showcased creative, impressive designs that demonstrate the simplicity of Atmel’s AVR MCUs which extend beyond the traditional boundaries. With a community of AVR enthusiasts, we are looking forward to the continuation of this program.”

With another successful challenge in the books, we’re eager to see what the future holds for these Makers’ prototypes. Perhaps, they will follow in the footsteps of previous design contest champion Pamungkas Prawisuda Sumasta, who recently launched a Kickstarter campaign for his team’s Phoenard all-in-one prototyping device.

Those wishing to browse through some of the other submitted creations can head over to the contest’s official gallery here.

A look back at World Maker Faire 2014

And just like that, another weekend of making has come to an end but not without its ‘Faire’ share of memories. On September 20th and 21st, World Maker Faire 2014 attracted some 85,000 Makers, modders, hackers, hobbyists and veteran engineers from 45 states and 36 countries to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. Inside a jam-packed booth (#EP24), attendees had the chance to meet, mingle and make a wide range of projects — many of which were powered by Atmel microcontrollers.

From announcing the new Arduino Wi-Fi Shield 101 and moderating a Maker panel to hosting a number of hands-on demos and meeting AVR Man himself, it was an incredible two days!

Here’s a look back at the Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth in pictures…

Next, the Atmel team is headed for Maker Faire Rome – The European Edition on October 3-5, 2014. Will we be seeing you in Italy?

Atmel and the Maker Revolution

I was part of the “original” Maker revolution. This was years ago, in the late 1980’s, and I was a latecomer. We used to make our own circuit boards, but slightly different from the ones today.

There was a 386 computer on my desk. My trusty 386 had ISA ports, extension card space, that most of us used as a basis for our designs. The ISA bus was easy to use, and the connector was large, meaning we could use simple, basic, cheap equipment to make our boards. What did we make? Everything! Digital IO, radio, remote control systems, everything. When I was a student, my flat was controlled entirely by one of these cards. Of course, the brain of my invention was the computer itself, it wasn’t easy to create a computer system.

A computer system requires several components. It requires a processor, and there were quite a few on the market at the time. It also requires memory, but two kinds; random access memory, RAM for short, is where variables are stored, and is the memory that a program uses to copy, calculate and modify data. A computer also requires read-only memory, ROM for short, and this is where the program is placed. Even that was tricky. You see, at the time, in order to “flash” a new program, we had to remove the EPROM device (short for Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory) and place it in ultraviolet light for up to 30 minutes. That was only the beginning. In order to flash a new program, you had to put it into a programmer, a device attached to the computer that wrote data into the device. Once that was done (it took a few minutes), then you could put the chip back onto the circuit board, and away you went. If you made a mistake, or if your program didn’t work, then you had to redo everything, which took over half an hour.

All of this was complicated, and required multiple components. The processor was one component. The RAM was another. So was the ROM. Interrupt controllers? Digital IO? PWM? They were all external components too. There was a reason why computers used to be that big. So we simplified things. The processor was the PC, and we just made extension boards. Of course, this made making things like robots difficult, but we had lots of fun.

The ISA bus was slow, and users wanted PCs to become faster and faster. The ISA bus was soon replaced by VLB, short for VESA Local Bus. It added an extension to the ISA bus, allowing for faster memory transfers. We had faster computers, better graphics, and we could still use our boards. However, it also sent a clear message; we were soon to find a new way of doing things. VLB was replaced by PCI, which was replaced by PCI Express. This bus is lightning fast, but requires complex electronics, and very good equipment to make boards with connectors that fine. Our trusty ISA cards soon ended up in the dustbin. We could still use the serial port or the parallel port, but it wasn’t the same. Most of us stopped.

It was depressing. We tried making our own computers, but they were complicated. External components, long flash times, prohibitive prices… One company was listening.

Atmel's ATMEGA328P-PU an AVR 8-bit processor

Atmel’s ATMEGA328P-PU an AVR 8-bit processor

In 1996, Atmel shipped the AVR processor. It was an 8-bit processor, with a twist. It had internal RAM, and internal flash. No more external components. It could be flashed within seconds, and reflashed. You didn’t even need to take it off the breadboard to reflash it. Founded in 1984, Atmel had already made semiconductor devices for the professional market, but was also very close to Makers. They heard our cry for help, and they delivered. The AVR changed everything.

AVR-XMEGA

The AVR chip was an 8-bit device (32-bit devices also exist), but the computer we used to control our ISA cards was 32-bit. The thing is, we didn’t need 32-bits, and an 8-bit microcontroller was perfect for our needs. The AVR was small, cheap, reliable, and really, really easy to use. We flooded back, we redesigned our boards, and we made. We made everything. How good were the AVR chips? By 2003, Atmel had shipped 500 million devices.

Fast forward a few years, and here we are today. Makers are everywhere. We are back. We are making more than ever. And with awesome sponsors like Atmel, we are here to stay. 2013 was the year of 100 Maker Faires, and they were full of Arduinos.

New Breed of Maker Movement Engineers Blooming from Garages, Maker Faire, Hackerspaces, and Makerspaces

New Breed of Maker Movement Engineers Blooming from Garages, Maker Faire, Hackerspaces, and Makerspaces

What is on the Arduino? Well, most of them have an AVR. The Arduino Due isn’t an AVR-based device, it is an ARM device, but even that is made by Atmel too, and is just as easy to use. 2014 promises to be even more exciting!

New Breed of Engineers - Some Images from Maker Faire Bay Area, there were over 100 Maker Faires in 2013 budding in cities all across the globe

New Breed of Engineers – Some Images from Maker Faire Bay Area 2014. There were over 100 Maker Faires in 2013 budding in cities all across the globe

Arduino Due

Here’s the Arduino Due – with an Atmel ARM Based Processor

With Atmel as a sponsor, Makers are here to stay. If you haven’t tried to make your own device yet, try it! It doesn’t cost a lot, and you don’t need all the complicated hardware we used to have. You will be up and running in mere minutes, and believe me, it is fun! If you have any questions, go and see Atmel at one of the Maker Faires. If you come by the Maker Faire Rome, come say hello, I’ll be there with Atmel to show you just how much this technology has changed my life, and show you how to start.

Atmel teams up with industry leaders to form IoT group

With 212 billion connected devices expected to arrive within the next few years, Atmel is joining forces with tech leaders Broadcom, Dell, Intel, Samsung and Wind River to establish a new industry group focused on improving interoperability and streamlining connectivity. At this point, there are multiple proposals and forums driving varying approaches, yet no single solution addresses the majority of key requirements. The newly-unveiled Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC) looks to define a common communications framework based on industry standard technologies to wirelessly connect and intelligently manage the flow of information among personal computing and emerging Internet of Things (IoT) devices, regardless of form factor, operating system or service provider.

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The initial aim of this new project is to create an open source code that will transform the Internet of Things from mere concept into a reality that benefits consumers, developers and end users. This will help ensure that OIC specifications and open source implementations will help companies design products that intelligently, reliably and securely manage and exchange information under changing conditions, power and bandwidth, and even without an Internet connection.

“Atmel is excited about our participation in OIC to establish an open source framework that goes beyond the digital home and supports services for multiple verticals including consumer, industrial and automotive markets,” said Kaivan Karimi, Vice President and General Manager of Wireless MCUs at Atmel Corporation. “Together with other industry leaders, we are committed to building a strong technology infrastructure for the Internet of Things; one that is instrumental in solving the pain points where other industry standards fall short today.”

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Leaders from a broad range of industry vertical segments – from smart home and office solutions to automotive and more – will participate in the program to enable emerging applications in all key markets. However, the first OIC open source code will target the specific requirements of smart home and office solutions. For instance, the specifications could make it simple to remotely control and receive notifications from smart home appliances or enterprise devices using securely provisioned smartphones, tablets or PCs. Possible consumer solutions include the ability to remotely control household systems to save money and conserve energy. In the enterprise, employees and visiting suppliers might securely collaborate while interacting with screens and other devices in a meeting room. Specifications for additional IoT opportunities including automotive, healthcare and industrial are expected to follow.

“Open source is about collaboration and about choice. The Open Interconnect Consortium is yet another proof point how open source helps to fuel innovation,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director of The Linux Foundation. “We look forward to the OIC’s contribution in fostering an open environment to support the billions of connected devices coming online.”

Member companies will contribute software and engineering resources to the development of a protocol specification, open source implementation, and a certification program, all with a view of accelerating the development of the IoT. The OIC specification will encompass a range of connectivity solutions, utilizing existing and emerging wireless standards and will be designed to be compatible with a variety of operating systems.

“The rise and ultimate success of the Internet of Things depends on the ability for devices and systems to securely and reliably interconnect and share information,” said Doug Fisher, Intel Corporate Vice President and General Manager of the Software and Services Group. “This requires common frameworks, based on truly open, industry standards. Our goal in founding this new consortium is to solve the challenge of interoperable connectivity for the Internet of Things without tying the ecosystem to one company’s solution.”

This exciting news follows yesterday’s big announcement of Atmel’s definitive agreement to acquire Newport Media, Inc. that will enable Atmel to offer designers and Makers the industry’s most complete wireless portfolio of smart, connected devices for the Internet of Things (IoT). The acquisition will immediately adds 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to the company’s offerings and will accelerate an introduction of low-energy Bluetooth products.

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“Combined with our existing Wi-Fi and Zigbee solutions and industry leading microcontroller portfolio, Atmel is positioned for substantial growth in the Internet of Things marketplace.” explains Atmel CEO Steve Laub.

Have questions regarding the OIC? Learn more by reading the entire press release. Interested in the ever-evolving Internet of Things? You’ll want to check out our extensive Bits & Pieces IoT article archive here.


Designing IoT devices with Thingsquare and SAM R21



As we’ve previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, a number of recent Thingsquare demos have been powered by Atmel’s versatile SAM R21 Xplained PRO evaluation board – illustrating the seamless integration of Thingsquare’s software stack with Atmel’s new SAM R21 ultra-low power wireless microcontroller (MCU).

According to Atmel Product Marketing Director Magnus Pedersen, the SAM R21 allows Atmel’s customers to easily develop connected lighting, smart metering and wireless sensor network systems based on true Internet-connectivity and open standards such as IPv6 and 6lowpan.

“Our customers are demanding complete, easy-to-use IoT solutions that can quickly bring a full system to market,” said Pedersen. “Our cooperation with Thingsquare is an example of that, with a web-based toolchain and open source firmware to offer our customers a fully integrated hardware and software solution for various IoT applications.”

Recently, a Thingsquare rep told Bits & Pieces that a number of engineers and Makers are choosing the SAM R21 and the Thingsquare system to build secure and future-proof Internet of Things (IoT) applications and connected devices.

“The Thingsquare system and the SAM R21 SoCs follow you throughout the entire process from idea to market,” the rep explained. 

”The system supports IPv6 / 6lowpan, wireless mesh networking, firmware updates and end-to-end encryption. You can also easily build smartphone applications to interact with your SAM R21-powered devices.”

Interested in learning more? To quickly set up a prototype, you can use the Thingsquare system with SAM R21 Xplained Pro boards, as described here. Of course, Thingsquare can also help with your entire software project as well.

For additional information, contact sales@thingsquare.com. For hardware-related questions, contact Atmel.

New shields for Arduino



Arduino has debuted two new shields for use with the company’s wildly popular lineup of Atmel-based boards.

First up is a USB host shield based on the MAX3421E. This USB peripheral/host controller contains the digital logic and analog circuitry required to implement a full-speed USB peripheral or a full-/low-speed host compliant to USB specification rev 2.0.

The shield can be used with the “USB Host Library for Arduino” hosted by Lauzus from circuits@home on GitHub (click to download zip).

Next up is the ArduinoISP (AVR-based in-system programmer) based on David Mellis’ project FabISP and useful to anyone needing more space on their Arduino board.

Interested in learning more? For more details about using the Arduino ISP please visit the Getting Started page. You can also learn how to program an ATtiny and read your Arduino built-in EEPROM using ArduinoISP on Scuola here.

Ai.Frame is an open source robot

The open source Ai.Frame – which recently surfaced on Kickstarter – is a versatile miniature robot powered by an Atmel-based Arduino Mini (ATmega328 MCU) paired with infrared and ultrasonic sensors.

“The robot’s sophisticated structure is designed to make motion both precise and versatile,” an Ai.Frame rep explained in a recent post.

“The Apollo [model offers] 16 degrees of freedom, while the Rex has 9. Operated by an efficient controlling system, the Ai.Frame executes your commands almost instantly.”

AI.Frame can be controlled via a smartphone or tablet, gamepad or even a wearable harness that accurately captures upper torso movements.

“As experienced engineers, we have a thorough understand of robot configuration and construction, [so] we incorporated rich body details into the Ai.Frame to simulate the structure of the human body,” said the rep.

“The Ai.Frame Apollo’s skeleton contains 109 pieces and its outer shell contains 12, while the Ai.Frame Rex consists of 98 pieces. We also made made a concerted effort to optimize the molding and screws for the strongest possible structure. Nonetheless, you can choose to either build an Ai.Frame from scratch or to have us assemble it for you.”

Additional advanced key features include:

  • Roadblock avoidance
  • Voice recognition capabilities
  • Auto standing

Interested in learning more? You can check out the project’s official Kickstarter page here.

Arietta G25 SoM eyes open hardware baseboard

As we’ve previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, the Arietta G25 is an uber-mini system-on-module powered by Atmel’s versatile SAM9G25 ARM9 processor.

According to CNX-Software, Acme Systems, the company that manufactures the board, is now considering designing an open source hardware baseboard for the module.

If produced, the baseboard would likely feature:

  • Arietta G25 SoM connector (Vertical mount)
  • 1x USB Host port
  • I2C Sensors –  temperature, humidity sensor and light
  • Mosfet output for RGB led strip
  • 2x relay output
  • 1x filtered dry input
  • 2x servo RC motors output
  • Audio interface with embedded microphone and jack for PC speakers using Wolfson WM8731 codec
  • Expansion headers for external modules

Interested in learning more? The initial schematic is already available here, while feedback for the potential open hardware baseboard can be submitted here on the company forums.

Makelangelo is a $200 art robot

The Makelangelo 2.5 – which recently made its Tindie debut – is described as “sitting on the sweet spot between power and price.”

Sold as a bare-bones kit (sans the Atmel-based Arduino Uno which can be purchased here), the platform is regulated by Java software tasked with converting pictures into lines.

Essentially, the software sends the lines to the robot one at a time with GCODE. The robot leverages trigonometry to calculate the length of each belt.

Meaning, to move from point A to point B the robot determines the change in belt length and subsequently pulls the belts at the right speed to move in straight lines. 

Repeat 10,000 times and yes, you have a beautiful picture.

Currently available on Tindie at a $200 price point, kit contents include:

  • 2x ROBO-0022 Makelangelo 3 motor mount for wood
  • 1x ROBO-0021 Makelangelo 3 pen holder
  • 1x KIT-0002 Adafruit motor shield v1
  • 1x ELEC-0001 5.5*2.1 female power plug
  • 2x MOTO-0003 Stepper Motor, NEMA17, 12v0.3a
  • 3x MECH-0051 Timing Belt, GT2-6×1000
  • 1x MECH-0070 Makelangelo 2.5 laser cut parts

Interested in learning more? You can check out Makelangelo’s official Tindie product page here.