Tag Archives: technology

Report: IoT device shipments to reach 1 billion this year

Deloitte predicts 60% of connected devices will be bought for enterprise and industrial use, not consumer… yet. 

Global shipments of Internet of Things (IoT) devices will reach 1 billion this year, 60% of which will be bought for enterprise and industry use, rather than consumers, a new Deloitte study reveals. In its 14th annual “Technology, Media & Telecommunications (TMT) Predictions” report, the research firm explored what it believes to be the realms that will have the greatest impact in 2015. Among those included the IoT, drones, 3D printing and nanosats, each areas that are heavily enabled by Atmel embedded technology.


“We are entering an extraordinary period where consumer technologies are finding increased adoption in the enterprise space. Our data indicates an exponential increase in interest in the IoT by the enterprise, which could have a profound impact on the way business is conducted,” said Eric Openshaw, Deloitte Vice Chairman. “Strong enterprise adoption of the IoT could prove to be a huge opportunity for both vendors and retail consumers alike. The amount of data we will see generated from connected devices will pave the way to measure interactions in a way not witnessed before. And, as a result, will allow organizations to understand customer behaviors and purchase patterns in a whole new light.”

IoT-specific hardware will be worth $10 billion, with consumers’ appetites for controlling their heating, lights and appliances will jump. However, the big story will be around enterprise service and industrial area, which will be valued at approximately $70 billion. The company also anticipates that global smartphone sales will surpass 1 billion for the first time this year, with screen size, speed, storage, software and design being key drivers of growth.

“We expect the pendulum of technology adoption to swing back to the enterprise with company led adoption of wearables, 3D printing, drones and the Internet of Things meeting more needs and generating higher sales for business than consumers,” TMT Risk Services Partner Dennis Moth added. “Although the focus may well be on consumer take-up — think Bluetooth-enabled roller-doors, white goods, etc. — the real value [at this moment] will be in the savings made by industry and business, with smart factories, smart homes, eHealth and telematics.”


The report finds that in 2015, enterprises will lead purchases of 3D printing and drones, signaling a shift away from the consumerization of IT predominant in the last decade that spiked with consumers’ moderate investment in wearable technology such as smart glasses. This year, drones will have multiple industrial and civil government applications, as sales of non-military UAVs will near 300,000 units and drive the installed base to over a million.

Meanwhile, over 500 nanosatellites are expected to be in orbit by year-end. According to Deloitte, nanosats are attractive for many reasons: they are cheaper than conventional satellites, lighter, easier to build and test, and easier to launch. Although increasingly capable of more complex tasks, they are likely to be additive to the existing large satellite market, and not replace it.

Turning its attention to mobile payments, Deloitte predicted that 2015 will be a watershed for the use of contactless technologies like NFC. In fact, by the end of the year, 30 million NFC-capable phones will make at least one in-store payment per month. Deloitte Lead Telecoms Partner Ed Marsden notes, “This technology is likely to exist alongside other means of payments for some time yet.”

In addition, the research firm highlights that the number of homes with broadband Internet will rise by about 2% to 725 million over the next 12 months, with average broadband speeds in most countries increasing by 20%. The gap between those with access to the fastest broadband speeds and those on basic speeds will continue to widen in 2015, providing a varied experience from home to home, especially for high bandwidth applications like streaming video.

Interested in learning more? You can explore each of Deloitte’s TMT predictions in depth here.

Ada Lovelace Day: Celebrating the world’s first computer programmer

A poet, a programmer, a pioneer. On October 14th, the STEM community comes together to celebrate the success and achievements of the world’s first computer programmer. Augusta Ada Byron, Countess of Lovelace — more commonly known as “Ada Lovelace” — was born in London on December 10, 1815. From an early age, she conveyed an astonishing aptitude for mathematics and embodied a true Maker spirit, which together, led Ada to discover a multitude of computer concepts.

Unlike those before her, the Countess was a champion for Charles Babbage’s calculating machine, the Analytical Engine. Ada is commemorated for having the foresight that an instrument of this nature held such significant and scientific uses.


Mathematician Mother

Ada had an unusual upbringing for an aristocratic girl in the mid-1800s. Her mother had insisted that she be instructed by tutors on mathematics and science — such challenging subjects were not all that common for women at the time.

A Young Maker

Ada not only showed an astonishing aptitude for math and science from a young age, but possessed an innovation streak as well. In fact, she designed her very own flying machine before the age of 13. This inventive spark was noted by her tutors, who predicted that she would become “an original mathematical investigator, perhaps of first-rate eminence.”

A Teen Analytical Machine

At age 17, Ada was introduced to Charles Babbage at a dinner hosted by friend Mary Somerville. Upon learning of Babbage’s prototype for his Difference Engine, her interest was thoroughly piqued. In 1841, Babbage published his findings in Turin, Italy (the home of the Arduino and its recently-announced open apartment!). During a nine-month period of 1842-43, Ada translated the Italian article and sent Babbage the translated report on his newest proposed machine with her own notes — which came out to be three times the length of the original piece.


A Big Idea 

Long before the days of the ZX Spectrum, Apple I and Atari 2600… there was the 19th century. While computers may have existed as a concept in the mid-1800s, it had yet to come to fruition and materialize into something tangible. One of the first revolutionary ideas for “the computer” was the Analytical Engine, a proposal for a clockwork counting machine conceived by Babbage himself. Ada is credited with a vision on extending the capabilities of these sort of machines to go well beyond mere calculation; in order to facilitate this, she developed an algorithm for Babbage’s engine that would calculate a sequence of rational numbers.

In Ada’s own words, “The purpose which that engine has been specially intended and adapted to fulfil, is the computation of nautical and astronomical tables… The Analytical Engine, on the contrary, can either add, subtract, multiply or divide with equal facility; and performs each of these four operations in a direct manner, without the aid of any of the other three.”

The Analytical Machine was also able to automatically use results of previous calculations in future calculations. This and a number of other components made this machine surprisingly similar in architecture to how modern day computers work.

Ahead of Her Time

Like many inventors, Ada was not recognized as a true visionary during her lifetime, as it would take many years until her ideas would influence the world. Her notes were reintroduced to the world by B.Y. Bowden, who republished them in Faster Than Thought: A Symposium on Digital Computing Machines in 1953. Since then, Ada has received many posthumous honors for her incredible work.

In 1980, the U.S. Department of Defense named the computer language “Ada” after Lovelace herself. (Fun fact: The military standard for the language, “MIL-STD-1815″ was given the number of the year of her birth.) Then, there is The Ada Initiative — a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering women in the tech industry to increase their involvement in the free culture and open source movement.

Today, we continue to see Ada’s influence on the ever-growing Maker Movement. Did you know Limor Fried of Adafruit Industries’ moniker ladyada was created to pay homage to Lady Ada Lovelace?

The Future

Ada Lovelace Day is all about shining the spotlight on the Maker’s achievement and inspiring more women into careers in the technology sector, as well as pursuit of STEM-related degrees.

From IBM President Ginni Rometty and Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer to Oracle CEO Safra Catz and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, her influence continues to spawn a whole new generation of female tech leaders. Not to mention, a number leading lays are helping steward the DIY community, including Ayah Bdhei and Limor Fried — both of whom were recently named by Glamour Magazine to the “35 Women Under 35 Who Are Changing the Tech Industry” list.

Much like a modern-day Maker, Ada saw technology through the lens of humanities and culture, once writing, “We may say most aptly, that the Analytical Engine weaves algebraical patterns just as the Jacquard-loom weaves flowers and leaves.”

Want an Apple computer from 1976? It’ll cost you $400,000

If you’re an engineer, geek, history buff or all of the above with a little extra cash you’d like to spend, you’re in luck. While the Apple 1 computer was originally released to the general public in 1976 at a price tag of $666.66, that piece of computing history is expected to fetch upwards of $300,000 at auction later this month — yes, that’s 600 times its cost 38 years ago!

(Source: Bonhams)

(Source: Bonhams)

However, the rare motherboard is believed to be one of the original 50 that Steve Wozniak assembled himself on order for Byte Shop’s Paul Terrell in Steve Jobs’ family garage. And, it is said to be only one of 15 that are still fully functional.

(Source: Bonhams)

(Source: Bonhams)

Bonhams in New York will be offering up the item in its first-ever History of Science auction on October 22nd, which will also feature a number of other electronic treasures, books and memorabilia — ranging from a 1921 Magnavox Amplifier to a 1905 Helmholz Sound Synthesizer.

Though 200 or so Apple 1 units were created, only 63 were listed in Mike Willegas’ Apple 1 Registry. The Apple 1 in possession of Bonhams, etched number “01-0070,” is slated to join the registry.

(Source: Bonhams)

(Source: Bonhams)

The auctioneer will likely to start the bidding somewhere between $300,000 and $500,000, which is just a tad bit over the $210,000 tag it sold for in a 2010 London auction.

For a complete list of history items up for grabs, head on over to Bohams official page here.


The Maker Movement is shaping the future

It is no secret that the Maker Movement is gaining a foothold in modern society. Writing for Newsweek, Louise Stewart highlights how the blossoming DIY culture is being adopted in schools across the nation.


In her article, Louise highlights High Tech High (you read that right!) in San Diego. The school resembles a set from a Pixar movie more than a typical, drab American high school. With spinning pulley systems turning a massive clock and a glass-covered piano front and center, it is obvious this isn’t your ordinary venue of education. Created 14 years ago, CEO and Founding Principal Larry Rosenstock describes the charter school’s core principal as “kids making, doing, building, shaping and inventing stuff” without the focus of one single subject.

Today, a growing number of schools (and other educational venues such as museums) are creating new programs and spaces 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.

With the High Tech High’s wide-open learning process, projects can revolve around history, engineering, and physics all at once; instead of segmented pieces. Stewart notes that some of the previous displays at the school have included “a World War I–era restaurant and cabaret, an art gallery, a museum-like exhibit on the history and physics of baseball, [and] simulations of faraway ecologies.” Talk about variety!

Tony Wagner, a resident at Harvard’s Innovation Lab calls High Tech High his “favorite” school and that other educational institutions with Makerspaces are the future. The Newsweek piece details how not just charter schools are seeing the benefit of the growing Maker Movement, evident by the widespread audience at Maker Faires throughout the world.


Stewart reveals how one student at St. Ann’s School in Brooklyn, New York was so inspired by an in-class 3D printing project that he was motivated to purchase his own 3D printer for use at home. Soon, he was designing and printing iPhone cases and his favorite gadgets from video games.

Even public schools are getting in on the act, as Albemarle County Public School’s Superintendent Pam Moran describes her outlook on today’s education as attempting to “make learning so powerful and memorable” and encourage students to be “constantly looking at the world in terms of problems that they can solve.”

As the global Maker Movement continues to converge education and technology, we have to note the youth aren’t the only ones taking advantage of the DIY revolution.


Writing for the Huffington PostAnna Clark details the story of Charlie Lindahl, who learned computer programming in ’68 and ’69 with a modem using an interactive terminal back when everyone was using batch processing with punched cards. “Trying to explain this to people was like being an alien.”

Charlie plans to roll out a startup MerryMaker Labs where a “No Fear Electronics” curriculum will be adopted. Charlie’s goal is to minimize any trepidation an individual would have when thinking about taking a step into the Maker world. Have no fear Makers!

Why are we teaching people to make quirky new gadgets out of old and random stuff? “Because it’s fun!” says Lindahl.

As Clark points out, DIY isn’t just for people with nothing better to do; in fact, it’s for anyone and everyone who are intentional about learning, achievement and skills mastery. From the outset of the Maker Movement, coders, knitters, mechanics, electronics tinkerers, masters of the new 3D printing process, apprentices of digital fabrication and even die-hard engineers are turning to Atmel powered devices to bring their ideas to life — maybe that’s a braille printer, a retro robot, a marshmallow canon, or even a prototype of the next big Internet of Things gadget.

When you put it like that, the popularity of the Maker Movement makes perfect sense. “See, when a system stops working — say American manufacturing — doldrums can drag on for years. As certain careers disappear and new roles emerge, folks in transition are wondering, ‘Is there something else out there that I can do?'” asks Lindahl.

Some Makers are constructing new careers as they construct new gadgets. Some Makers are skilled artisans seeking a supportive or collaborative community. Some Makers are hobbyists interested in the robotics wave. Heck, some Makers are even hip-hop artists, musicians and professional athletes. This is what makes the DIY culture so special and ubiquitous.


“And some savvy startups are creating kits to simplify the process. littleBits makes prototyping with electronics simple and fun, like putting together a puzzle. Arduino is an inexpensive microcontroller that can be used for many small DIY or physical and wearable computing projects. Adafruit is a company that sells the pieces and makes the tutorials. Among other things, you can sew your own owl,” the Huffington Post article accentuates.

With more and more creative individuals being given opportunities to explore their innovative habits, the Maker Movement likely won’t be slowing down anytime soon. We can expect to see more people, ranging from hobbyists to embedded designers, turn to creating products instead of only consuming them. This is the future. And, this is fun!

Will you be joining us for World Maker Faire in New York? Don’t miss the panel discussion, “Curiosity, Imagination and Motivation: The Natural Inclinations of Young Makers,” with Atmel’s Bob Martin and Daniel Ujvari, Arduino’s Massimo Banzi, Qtechknow’s Quin Etnyre and littleBits’ Ayah Bdeir, as they explore the ways in which the STEM initiative and Maker Movement are influencing young Makers and helping to create tomorrow’s industry innovators.

Levi’s Stadium is the new ‘smart home’ of 49ers

September 14th not only marked the first regular season home game for the San Francisco 49ers, but ushered in a new era of smart, constantly-connected sports stadiums as well.


Located just minutes down the road from Atmel headquarters in Santa Clara, California, Levi’s Stadium is the brand-spanking-new home to the Bay Area’s beloved NFL team. Built at a cost of more than $1.2 billion, the recently-opened venue boasts a number of high-tech that would make any geek cheer. For starters, there are 680 free Wi-Fi access points distributed around the stadium (which is nearly one access point for every hundred fans) as well as 12,000 Ethernet ports, all supported by a supersonic 40-Gbps fiber optic connection that delivers broadband speeds 40 times faster than any other stadium.

According to TIME Magazine, this is all possible due to nearly 400 miles of cabling running throughout the structure. In addition, there are almost 1,200 Wi-Fi antennas located throughout the outdoor arena that boost the wireless signal every 100 seats or so. Another cutting-edge feature of the stadium is a collection of about 1,700 beacons, which can be used to know the whereabouts of spectators and provide them with useful, targeted information.

In a recent Broncos pre-season game, the new stadium had 20,000 concurrrent Wi-Fi users, with a peak data usage of over 2 gigabits a second. For three hours, the average was above 1 gigabit per second in terms of usage, VentureBeat reports.


Much like the debut of the Botlr robot, the location of Levi’s Stadium deep within Silicon Valley likely helps enhance the building’s tech credentials. According to TIME, Sony has been a major contributor to the new stadium, contributing over 2,000 TVs, including 70 high-tech 4K units. Some of these flashier features will be obvious to fans, including the two giant scoreboards and 108-inch screen in one of the stadium’s restaurants. However, much of the technology will be hidden from view in a state-of-the-art computer network that would make many a tech startup jealous.

“This is truly a one-of-a-kind fan experience, with the world’s greatest showcase of 4K technology from the best of Sony’s professional and consumer products. For every event, every fan will be immersed in the pinnacle of entertainment and technology to enhance their experience,” Sony COO Mike Fasulo explains.


Additionally, SAP has sponsored a bunch of touchscreen kiosks throughout the venue where fans can partake in 49ers trivia. Using club data housed within the SAP database, fans can tap into three categories (stadium facts, franchise legends and current team) to see how well their team IQ stacks up against other die-hards.

Befitting of a team deep in the heart of Silicon Valley, a true catalyst to changing the stadium experience for the average fan will be the stadium’s smartphone app. The app will allow fans to order food from their seat, which can either be delivered or picked up at an express area. It can provide a live telecast of the game along with up to four on-screen replays and live statistics. Most importantly, it can point you in the direction of the bathroom with the shortest line so that you don’t miss out on any of the action.

“When we talk about tech, we never want to take away from the hero feature, the 11 guys down on the field,” said Al Guido, COO of the 49ers. “Tech has to be ancillary to what is happening on the field. We didn’t want people staring at their phones and not making noise. We need a home field advantage. What we can do is build the infrastructure and tech to enhance the experience.”

Earlier this year during DesignCon, our Tech on Tour mobile trailer made a special stop outside of the 49ers 'smart home.'

Earlier this year during DesignCon, our Tech on Tour mobile trailer made a special stop outside of the 49ers ‘smart home.’

A new era of smart stadiums is just dawning, but as fans begin to utilize the new technology and connect during games, there will certainly be new trends and capabilities that develop. As the Internet of Things continues to emerge, it is without question that connected technologies will make the live sporting experience even more enjoyable.

In correlation with these stadiums becoming smarter and more connected, interactive audience participation apps are being increasingly adopted for live, in-stadium events. Because stadiums have built out robust networks to connect their audience, developers have the opportunity to build applications to enable audience members to engage and interact with the game and one another.


According to PubNub, real-time technology has become the stimulus for interactive audience participation apps, enabling developers to deliver data in real-time, whether it be chat messages, statistics, polls, or advertisements. Real-time data streams in a connected stadium is changing the way we view live events. And, with the PubNub Data Stream Network, you can send and receive messages in under a 1/4 second, while adding a plethora of other real-time features to your in-stadium application.

Taking apart a vintage Symphonic SL-149 record player

So audio guru Steve Williams sent me a bunch of pictures of a portable phonograph that he just bought. He collects these old cheap units. It’s kind of like collecting beetles, they are ubiquitous and dumb, but you have to admire their diversity. So Steve has an inordinate fondness for 1960’s vintage portable record players.


The Symphonic SL-149 record player ready for business. This is the kind of unit we used to put an old Pink Pearl eraser on the tone arm so it would stay in the groove.

He didn’t say where he got it, but eBay is full of such treasures.


Here is the Symphonic SL-149 record player in all its glory.

Steve wrote us a mock note, acting like he was a young kid that could not understand something this simple.

“Can any or all of you help me to understand the complex subtleties of this device? Note the schematic includes 5 resistors including a variable one, plus 3 capacitors, a little heat sink diode thingie, a motor, a switch, a tube, a transformer, a speaker, and this funny thing that creates electricity when bent back and forth via perturbations in a flat disc rotating beneath the arm thingie that the little crystal generator is located at the end of. Said disc being rotated via the motor through a rubber wheel connected to the table the disc rests on…”

“It’s all too simple to do anything. There must be some magic involved. Where is the software, what is the storage media, what is the underlying code? Where is the D to A converter for that matter?”


Here is the schematic that Steve Williams was marveling over. I know someone will be doing a Spice run on it now.

Of course, why buy this old precious stuff if you don’t immediately take it apart? Here are the guts of the unit. This is the kind of things my pals bring up with a Variac variable transformer, to try and condition that old paper capacitor. Usually it is these caps that go bad, putting a huge 120Hz ripple in the power supply, which you hear as a horrible hum in the sound.


Old phonographs are much more interesting inside, where there are mechanical motors and gizmos and tubes and such. Hand wiring—nice.

My pal Eric Shlaepfer restored an old Clough-Brengle oscillograph. Eric doesn’t just replace those old dried-out capacitors with new ones. He takes apart the old capacitors and puts a new one inside, so the restored ocsillograph still looks vintage. Bravo.


This is Schlaepfer’s trick to put a modern film capacitor into the guts of a dried out paper capacitor shell.

And in case you want to see Steve’s record player working, here is a YouTube video of a similar one playing a record.

[Update:] I sent this post to audio guru Steve Williams and he sent back a nice note:

“Thanks for the write up. Only minor correction is that the video on my YouTube channel is of the same player not a similar one. Yes, the cap is weak but the hum is only semi atrocious. Didn’t replace it yet. Put in a very similar NOS Crystal cartridge I had. The album is my very first LP. I sent the mass email and initially only Ron Quan responded. -“

‘It’s a very efficient circuit by using the tube to drop 25 volts AC for the motor winding. The crystal cartridge could deliver at least 0.5 volt AC into the grid of the 25L6. As I recall, these phonographs could play very loud. Of course, the tracking force was in the order of 5 grams or more. Ron’

“Of course Ron meant that the motor drops the other 90 some odd volts leaving 25 for the 25L6 filament in series. (Which AFAIK is  _not_  the same as a 6L6 with a different filament voltage.) –Steve”


Smartphone users in emerging markets want bigger screens

With the latest rumors swirling that Apple’s iPhone 6 will feature a much larger touchscreen, it is quite evident that smartphone is increasingly becoming a hub for entertainment and video content. Here at Atmel, we have been on the forefront of the touchscreen revolution and believe the future lies within the handheld touchscreen.

A new report from reputed market research firm Jana suggests that consumers in emerging markets are now also seeking out larger screens on their smartphones. The survey, which targeted 1,300 smartphone users in countries such as Brazil, India, Indonesia, Kenya, and Mexico, found people craving mobile devices with 5-inch and 5.5-inch screens. The 4-inch screen of the current iPhone and other similar devices did not garner much global favor, though some that were surveyed believed that smaller screen provided more convenience.


“While the four to five inch screen segment is not considered desirable by most of our respondents, four-inch screens are still popular,” Jana wrote on its blog.

These findings come just weeks after Business Insider’s latest study, which revealed that phablets — defined as a smartphone with a screen between 5-inches and 7-inches — will surpass 1.5 billion shipments within the next five years. By 2019, the devices will soon account for 59% of total global smartphone shipments, up from an expected 35% in 2014. As a result, it is believed phablets will outnumber tablet sales three to one over the next five years. 

What factors are motivating this interest for larger phones? In many of these emerging markets, the handheld device often times serves as an all-in-one entertainment system. From watching videos and surfing the Internet to glancing at photos and playing games, a larger screen makes all of these activities more enjoyable. Others added that slow buffering speeds and weak connections hindered their efforts, but they still sought out video content on their smartphones. 

Bits & Pieces has previously explored what makes a consumer select a specific device, but these new statistics from Juno provide a clear motivation for manufacturers to produce larger screens. Customers expect to consume video content on their handhelds and larger touchscreens can enhance that experience. As the entertainment landscape becomes increasingly digitized, there is no doubt more and more individuals will continue to thirst for interactive content on their smart devices.


Ahead of the curve, Atmel recently expanded its popular maXTouch T lineup of touchscreen controllers with the mXT640TmXT336T and mXT224T. The new devices offer a comprehensive set of features, supporting next-gen mobile devices such as smartphones, phablets and mid-size tablets with touchscreens ranging from 3.2”-8.3.” With 640 nodes, the mXT64xT series of devices are the world’s most comprehensive capacitive touchscreen controllers designed for next-generation smartphones.

Half human, half machine: Cyborgs are upon us

According to Webster’s Dictionary, a cyborg is defined as “a person whose body contains mechanical or electrical devices and whose abilities are greater than the abilities of normal humans.” With the field of biomedical science growing at a rapid pace, there is a rising trend for willing individuals to embed technology into, or onto, their bodies.


Like countless other people on the planet, Neil Harbisson is colorblind. Instead of simply dealing with the disability, the Maker turned to robotics. According to CNN, he has had an antenna surgically implanted into his skull, thus enabling him to “hear” colors. The installed device converts the frequencies for different colors into the frequencies for different sounds.

Neil simply “didn’t want to wear technology, [he] wanted this to be an integral part of [him].” With the antenna installed, Neil can now overcome his affliction with the help of modern technology. This sort of situation is not short of ethical concerns, though. Neil notes that he needed to find a discrete doctor that would carry out the procedure anonymously because of bioethical committees that “don’t really agree with the unions between humans and technology.”

Time will only tell if implants like Neil’s become a norm, but other, more understated devices may drastically improve our daily lives. As NBC News reports, a vast majority of cyborgs get the technology embedded in their fingers or hands, where the skin is thin enough for the devices to interact with external objects. Take for instance Amal Graafsra, creator of Dangerous Things, who recently implanted a tiny RFID chip within his hand that now allows him to gain access to his car, his home and his personal safe. Then there’s cyborg Zoe Quinn, a well-known developer in the independent gaming world, who installed a magnet and chip into her fingers.

While these cyborgs may be no RoboCop, they still fit the definition and may be ushering in a new bionic trend in modern-day technology. And, as we take that leap from today’s wearable technologies to tomorrow’s implantable ones, many of them will likely be used for detecting and preventing disease. Some of the most recent “firsts” include the first bionic eye from California’s Second Sight, the first bionic body suits from companies like ReWalk and Ekso Bionics, and even groundbreaking research from BrainGate in Massachusetts are finding ways for those unable to move or speak to communicate via brain waves.


Atmel celebrates Makers with President Obama

As Tom Kalil and Jason Miller note on the White House blog, the United States has always been a nation of tinkerers, inventors and entrepreneurs.

“In recent years, a growing number of Americans have gained access to technologies such as 3D printers, laser cutters, easy-to-use design software and desktop machine tools. These tools are enabling more Americans to design and build almost anything,” Kalil and Miller write.

“Across the country, vibrant grassroots communities of innovators, visionaries and manufacturers are organizing Maker Faires, creating local Makerspaces and mentoring the next generation of inventors.”

According to the White House, the rise of the Maker Movement represents a huge opportunity for the United States, with new tools for democratized production boosting innovation and entrepreneurship in manufacturing.

Indeed, Making is capable of inspiring and empowering more young people to excel in design and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), as well as helping them pursue careers in manufacturing.

That’s why President Obama is hosting the first-ever White House Maker Faire today, with Makers, innovators and entrepreneurs of all ages showcasing their cutting-edge tools and projects.
 We at Atmel are proud to be at the very heart of the global Maker Movement, with Quin Etnyre and Super Awesome Sylvia (both sponsored by Atmel) attending the DC Faire.

Indeed, our microcontrollers (MCUs) power a wide range of open source platforms and devices, from 3D printers to wildly popular Arduino boards.

For us, every Maker Faire has always been the Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth – a family-friendly venue of invention, creativity, resourcefulness and a celebration of DIY culture. Simply put, it’s a place where people of all ages and backgrounds gather together to show what they are making and share what they are learning, whether in Washington DC, New York, San Mateo or Shanghai.

Working together, we can prove that in America, the future really is what we make of it.

Tom Kalil is Deputy Director for Technology and Innovation at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and Jason Miller is Special Assistant to the President for Manufacturing Policy at the National Economic Council.

A Turnkey Security Solution for Accessories Authentication = $$$ in Your Pocket

By: Steve Jarmusz

An accessory could be really anything that works with a host or base system.  It could be a power charger, pair of speakers, cable, or as I mentioned, anything.   There are number of reasons why you would want to authenticate your accessories, to guard them against cloning and counterfeiting.  You may want to protect your brand or company’s reputation.  Apple does this with the “MFI” policy that they have initiated.  You might want to protect  customer safety.  Having a cloned surgical instrument or medical device that does not possess the same quality as the authentic product could be risky.   There have been a number of cases publicized  where the cloned product does not perform as well as the original.  A battery in cell phones and portable devices is one that comes to mind.  You can get really cheap knockoffs on E-Bay, but they may not last or have the storage capability as the OEM versions.  There are a number of authentication schemes that could be used to perform the accessory authentication sequence.  The most popular method that we have found is the Random Challenge Response method.

Atmel CryptoAuthentication Shield

Atmel CryptoAuthentication

By adding an Atmel ATSHA204 CryptoAuthentication device to the host, the system is able to generate a Random Challenge for the client on the fly. In addition, by generating the challenge internally with the host’s ATSHA204 device, the response is unknown to the system, allowing the use of an unsecured processor without the threat that an attacker will be able to learn the system secrets. This dramatically limits the ability of an unauthorized device from producing the correct response.  You could also do this without a hardware device on the host, but the downside is less security.  Security is also very critical in many other applications. To learn more, check out this white paper on the technology and various use cases.