A team of Atmel Norway engineers decided to make their own rendition of the Big Bang Theory Internet-controlled lamp scene. (Yes, even Sheldon Cooper would approve of this one.)
How many of you are fans of the CBS hit sitcom series, Big Bang Theory? Well, you’re in luck. If you recall an episode from the show’s first season, entitled “The Cooper-Hofstadter Polarization,” the team of Sheldon Cooper, Leonard Hofstadter, Howard Wolowitz and Raj Koothrappali successfully turned on a lamp via the Internet using an X-10 system.
To do so, the gang sent signals across the web and around the world from their apartment to connect not only their lights, but other electronics like their stereo and remote control cars as well.
“Gentlemen, I am now about to send a signal from this laptop through our local ISP racing down fiber optic cable at the of light to San Francisco bouncing off a satellite in geosynchronous orbit to Lisbon, Portugal, where the data packets will be handed off to submerged transatlantic cables terminating in Halifax, Nova Scotia and transferred across the continent via microwave relays back to our ISP and the external receiver attached to this…lamp,” Wolowitz excitedly prefaced.
What’s funny is, the technology that the group of sitcom scientists was simulating could have just as well been done using a Wi-Fi network controller, like the WINC1500 module. However, at the time of airing back in March of 2008, open access for Internet users looking to control “things” around the house was seemingly something only engineers and super geeks thought possible.
After watching the Trondheim-based crew’s Cooper-Hofstadter IoT experiment above, be sure to check out a detailed description of the technology behind the project and learn more about the IoT Secure Hello World Tech on Tour seminar below.
“Can you hear it? It’s the faint sound of all your electronic devices talking to each other,” Loudon jokingly writes about the budding Internet of Things. “As we purchase new products, they are likely to include more sensors and computer chips that will let users and service companies monitor and control things remotely as part of what has become known as the IoT.”
Throughout the day, students and professors from RIT joined fellow Makers, tech enthusiasts and engineers to explore next-gen wireless systems, wearable devices, 3D printers and touchscreen sensors. As Loudon noted, hands-on demonstrations included how embedded systems are being used in automotive and transportation applications, robotics, electronic devices and gaming systems, and alternative energy, then integrated into the growing Internet of Things.
“Anything that’s electronic these days, whether it’s in the home, or the car, or the office, is just chock full of microcontrollers,” explained Bruce Muff, Atmel Regional Sales Manager. “We make chips. We’re a chip company. Our primary focus is microcontroller chips. Anything that’s electronic these days has a microcontroller in it at its simplest level to control lights or sensors or communication with things.”
Similar to most corporations throughout the industry, we attend most trade shows, like CES, Electronica and Embedded World.
“However, instead of having people go to Las Vegas to see our trade show booth, we bring it out on the road to the customers, the community and schools, like RIT, to showcase Atmel technology and some of the things that our customers do with our technology,” Muff added. “We wanted to both target the local customer base that we have in upstate New York, companies that develop electronic products that might use our chips, and we also wanted to reach out and make it available to the school here.”
After tirelessly crisscrossing the globe for several years offering hands-on technical training, the Atmel team kicked off a new Tech on Tour era this past January with the tricked-out mobile trailer seen above. Designed to literally drive the Internet of Things (and other next-gen technologies), the big rig brings hands-on training, hackathons, key technology demonstrations and other gatherings based around Atmel MCUs, MPUs, wireless, touch solutions and easy-to-use software tools. With more than 100 stops spanning across 30 states and 4 Canadian provinces, Tech on Tour is estimated to reach nearly 4,000 engineers this year alone.
Al Converse, an engineer for Atlanta-based Trenton Systems, stopped by the ToT truck to discover the latest bits and pieces from Atmel. Converse tells the Democrat & Chronicle, “I came here to stay on top, see what’s applicable to the work I’m currently doing. You have to do this constantly. Technology shifts every time I do a design, and a design typically takes a year to get out the door.”
Loudon notes that when he started out in the 1970s and ’80s, Converse was able to use the same processor for two or three consecutive design projects; however, “Nowadays you can’t do that any more. You’re halfway through the design and the companies have already released a new, faster more powerful product.”
Atmel’s Tech on Tour is making it easier for engineers and designers, like Al, to stay ahead of the game and keep up-to-date with the newest, fastest and most powerful solutions.
After tirelessly crisscrossing the globe for several years offering hands-on technical training, the Atmel team kicked off a new Tech on Tour era this past January with a tricked-out mobile trailer. Designed to literally drive the Internet of Things (and other next-gen technologies), 40’ x 85′ trailer brings hands-on training, hackathons, key technology demonstrations and other gatherings based around Atmel MCUs, MPUs, wireless, touch solutions and easy-to-use software tools. With more than 150 stops spanning across 30 states and 4 Canadian provinces, Tech on Tour is estimated to reach nearly 4,000 engineers this year alone.
Tens of thousands of miles later, the big rig has navigated the country — from Silicon Valley to the Hudson Valley, Atmel’s XSense Fab to the White House, Southern California to North Carolina, the deserts of Arizona to the plains of Kansas, the woods of Washington to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Thousands of engineers, execs and Makers alike have set foot onboard the trailer, including AVR Man, Sir Mix-A-Lot and even 13-year-old CEO Quin Etnyre. It has shared good times with our valued partners and lovable ol’ pals while turning heads and making new friends along the way. It has hosted a number of expert panel discussions, found itself parked in a middle of a tradeshow floor (link) and even had the chance to take in some of the landmarks in our nation’s capital. There have been sightings in the wild to selfies standing before the truck. And, after all of that, as we take a look back at the first six months of its inaugural tour, we must say that it’s been pretty truckin’ awesome!
“The IoT is being led by a rising generation of tinkerers, inventors and innovators. These are dedicated people who are working out of universities, garages and small companies. We are going and meeting them,” explained Sander Arts, Atmel VP of Marketing.
Already having made stops in both Minnesota, Illinois and Pennsylvania, the second leg of the tour is well underway. The Tech on Tour trailer will continue driving the Internet of Things (literally…) en route to:
Get your hands-on training and roll up your sleeves with first-hand instruction and building with Atmel’s latest ARM Cortex M0+ microcontroller and development board. This Atmel | SMART SAM D21 is intended for the next IoT, wearables, or industrial embedded system. With connectivity options including interface integration, the SAM D21 device also has various design tools and development boards to quickly jump start learning and design integration. Accelerating your product to MVP and fit the connectivity design parameters and ultra low power sipping parameters are key to today’s next emergent embedded systems.
In a majority of upcoming stops, the one-day sessions will feature hands-on technical training based on the Atmel | SMART SAM D21, an evolution of the industry’s first microcontroller with robust, high-performance, easy-to-use capacitive touch support. The SAM D20/21 represent a paradigm shift for capacitive touch sensing in terms of noise tolerance, power consumption, touch quality, and application integration. This is enabled through the on-chip hardware Peripheral Touch Controller (PTC), complemented with this new generation of touch support in the Atmel Studio 6 development Ecosystem. While onboard the big rig, explore how to easily configure the noise filtering and sensitivity of your user interface, based on specific application based considerations, using the QTouch Analyzer, using live trace logging of capacitive sensing signals. Understand the significantly simplified process of building and integrating a touch based user interface alongside your application, leveraging the interrupt-driven, non-blocking QTouch library code (only 5% of CPU resources, while scanning 10 channels at 50ms scan rate).
Become familiar with this Atmel Software Framework (ASF) compatible design process, giving you the ability to mix and match capacitive buttons, sliders and wheels with standard MCU components of your application such as the differentiated USB, DMA and TCC peripherals on the SAM D21. SMART Microcontroller based products go to market with firmware programmed at the factory.
Whenever a bug is fixed or new feature is implemented, the firmware on the product needs to be updated. The process of updating the firmware becomes easy if the product has the capability of updating its firmware by itself. In this hands-on training we will develop a USB Host bootloader project for a SAM D21 device, that can detect a mass storage device (for example a USB thumb-/flash-drive) when connected to the USB-port. If this device contains an updated firmware image, the bootloader will then update the flash of the device with new firmware.
As you can see, Frame snapped a great picture of Andreas standing next to Atmel’s tricked-out Tech on Tour Truck which travels around the US showcasing a wide range of Atmel-powered products, including those based on ARM’s Cortex-M and Cortex-A5.
ARM’s Ronan Synnott was also at Atmel’s EELive! booth giving a presentation about ARM’s DS-5 support for Atmel SAMA5D3 devices. Ronan described how, with DS-5 Professional Edition, ARM provides a leading-edge software development tool chain for bare-metal, RTOS and Linux based projects. For the SAMA5D3 devices, ARM offers full debug support out of the box when used in conjunction with DSTREAM or ULINKproD JTAG debug units, the Streamline System Performance Analysis tool and the highly optimizing ARM C compiler.
We hope to hear more from Ronan over the next few weeks, so be sure to check Bits & Pieces for additional embedded news and reports.
Meanwhile, Atmel’s Tech on Tour trailer will be headed to Austin, Texas on April 8th. We’ll be talking about low-power system design using Atmel’s ARM-based SAM4L MCU, touch and wireless solutions, as well as offering an introduction to Atmel’s versatile SAM D20 microcontroller.
The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to a future world where all types of electronic devices link to each other via the Internet. In 2009, there were 2.5 billion connected devices; most of these were mobile phones, PCs and tablets. By 2020, there will be over 30 billion connected devices of far greater variety.
As Reza Kazerounian, Senior VP and GM of the Microcontroller Business Unit at Atmel notes, the IoT is a combination of multiple market segments, tens of thousands of OEMs and hundreds of thousands of products.
“It is seen by many as the next wave of dramatic market growth for semiconductors. If you look at the different estimates made by market analysts, the IoT market will be worth trillions of dollars to a variety of industries from the consumer to financial, industrial, white goods and other market segments,” he told EEWeb in February. “Companies that provide cloud-based services, service providers and semiconductor companies will also benefit from this market. The number of small or new companies that are showcasing connective devices has increased – there will be 50 billion connected devices by 2020. These nodes will have characteristics such as low-power embedded processing, a human-machine interface and connectivity.”
Reza also noted that Atmel views microcontrollers (MCUs) as an essential building block for every PC, consumer device, industrial machine, home connectivity device and automobile. To be sure, MCUs are playing an increasingly critical role in the lucrative space.
“As the semiconductor industry has transitioned from PCs to mobile, IoT will now rise to become the predominant market,” he explained. ”This transition will favor ultra-low power and integration of microcontrollers, wireless connectivity, security, touch technologies and sensor management products. Atmel is uniquely positioned and fully committed to maintaining our leadership position in the microcontroller industry – and to do so requires winning in the IoT.”
Atmel’s Kaivan Karimi expressed similar sentiments during a recent a Tech on Tour (ToT) panel discussion in San Francisco’s SoMa neighborhood. More specifically, he focused on how rapidly the Internet of Things is evolving by integrating various connected capabilities in our daily lives that range from consumer and health to intelligent, autonomous Google cars.
“For the IoT to thrive, the industry must continue to consolidate standards across multiple connected segments. In addition, security and privacy can definitely make or break the IoT, at least from a mass market perspective,” he said. ”Of course there are always going to be people with evil intent. That isn’t the question. Rather, the challenge is how to best manage and protect the terabytes of valuable data generated by various IoT devices. I personally believe the need for comprehensive security and privacy policies are so pressing that it will prompt our legislators to take appropriate action.”
According to Karimi, future IoT models will likely see individuals opting in and out of specific data collection options, ranging from devices tasked with glucose monitoring to platforms like real time breathalyzers and wearables that measure physical responses to specific activities.
“In addition to wearables, cars are also going through a massive transformation, no less significant than the migration from analog to digital,” he added. “We are entering an age where drivers will not only step up their interaction with their vehicles, but cars will also start talking to each other to avoid fatalities, as well as monitor the weather in real time and even alert drivers to natural disasters such as tsunamis and flooded roads.”
In addition, Sander Arts, VP of Corporate Marketing at Atmel, will be hosting a session on easy-to-use, fully integrated solutions for University students at 12:30 pm on March 23 in the Carneros Ballroom.
“In this short session, students will see how Atmel provides a broad portfolio of hardware and software solutions that are easy-to-use and cost-effective for the classroom environment. Our boards and software development kits provide students hands-on training with some of the latest electronics for developing fun applications using Ardunio-based boards to Atmel’s own development solutions,” Arts told Bits & Pieces.
“They will also hear about Atmel’s revamped University Program and how we are using our latest social media channels, mobile trailer, challenges and competitions to engage with University students.”
Atmel’s ToT will also be hosting an industry panel on the rapidly evolving Internet of Things (IoT) at 4:00PM.
Join industry experts from Atmel, ARM, Humavox and August for an interactive discussion on how the IoT, the hottest topic in the technology sphere, is impacting today’s market across multiple segments.
Interested? You can register for the event here. See you in SoMa!!!
So if you are attending one of our ToT events, or happen to see us stopping to refuel, be sure to come on over and take a selfie with the Atmel crew and our tech-packed mobile trailer. Don’t be camera shy, because you could win a brand new Samsung Galaxy Tab 3!
Atmel’s Tech on Tour trailer is on the road again and heading to Austin, Texas for SXSW. We’ll be at the Hyatt Regency Austin from March 7-9, 2014, so be sure to stop by during the show to see our latest demos.
With 123D Circuits, you can breadboard and simulate your AVR-powered Arduino-based circuits, while writing, compiling and running code right in your browser. When you’re done, you can have the circuit board professionally made and shipped right to your doorstep.
As we’ve previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, Atmel’s XSense is a high-performance, highly flexible touch sensor which allows engineers to design devices with curved surfaces and even add functionality along product edges.
Essentially, this means manufacturers now have the capability to build light-weight, sleek, edgeless smartphones, tablets and other touch-enabled devices.
The founder of the Nastymix record label, Sir Mix-A-Lot debuted in 1988 with Swass. The rapper is perhaps best known for his 1992 album Mack Daddy and its Grammy Award-winning single “Baby Got Back.”
You can check out additional photos of Sir Mix-A-Lot’s visit below.