Tag Archives: United States

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.

Report: China invests heavily in Makers



China’s Communist Party government has reportedly endorsed the country’s burgeoning DIY Maker Movement.

“Innovation is no longer only promoted by the top-down initiatives of the world’s biggest companies,” reads a recent article in the state-run Liberation Daily newspaper.

“[Rather, it] is being built from the bottom up by countless individuals such as amateurs, entrepreneurs and professionals. As [Chris] Anderson says, we are born Makers… The future of China’s maker industry will be very competitive.”

Another state media article expresses similar sentiments, recommending that authorities “seize the current opportunity to introduce plans as soon as possible to support the development of the maker movement.”

As Emily Parker notes in Slate, both the United States and China are embracing the Maker Movement’s potential for entrepreneurship, viewing this kind of grass-roots innovation as essential for staying competitive in the 21st -century economy.

“The 2012 Shanghai Maker Carnival had the support of the Communist Youth League. Shanghai officials proposed 100 government-supported ‘innovation houses.’ Beijing’s Tsinghua University embraces Maker-inspired education,” she writes.

“Some hackerspaces in China get official support in the form of equipment, or help with paying the rent.”

Eric Pan, the Sichuan-born founder of Seeed Studio, explains why.

“Innovation can lead to start-ups. Start-ups can solve the problems of unemployment, and start-ups also have potential to become technology and design-intensive companies.”

Indeed, as Pan told Bits & Pieces earlier this year, MakerSpaces will likely enable a new wave of tech startups in China as in the US.

“To be sure, Makers working with their peers are now able to more easily realize their goals, while bringing products to market with new platforms such as e-commerce sites and crowd funding… For now, MakerSpaces are gradually helping Chinese tech companies discover additional possibilities, although the Maker role is likely to increase, with participants in the DIY culture setting technology trends in conjunction with major industries,” he adds.

The full text of Emily Parker’s “The Chinese Government Is Investing Heavily in the Maker Movement” is available on Slate here.

Atmel celebrates July 4th… infographic style

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy July 4th to one and all!

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Arduino making a mark at Maker Faire

I don’t usually make a big deal of my upcoming weekends, but when I get the chance to hang out in a human-size mouse trap, buzz around a giant Hand of Man robot, or get my code on competitively in a variety of hacker races, it’s worth talking up a bit.

Before you wonder whether I’ve managed to contract an unhealthy dose of hallucinogenic corporate cube fever, don’t panic! I’m referring to the upcoming Maker Faire, to be held at the San Mateo County Fairgrounds on the 18/19 of May.

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Maker Faire, created by Make magazine back in 2006, stitches together the arts and crafts with engineering and science.

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It’s a huge science fair for the general public, where Do-It-Yourselfers are free to roam around unleashed (usually on their segways) wearing propeller beanies and flashy LED pins without anybody judging them. Much.

Tinkerers little and large take center stage at Maker Faire, showing the world their zany contraptions and electrifying experiments, while trading tips and tricks for others who want to follow in their low power footsteps.

And Atmel, I’m proud to say, is all over it.

Why? Because in many ways, Atmel powers the maker movement, with its tech at the heart of so many maker designs. It helps, of course, that Atmel microprocessors are the chips of choice for the Arduino platform, both in their AVR flavor and ARM varieties.

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Arduino has democratized hardware in a way that allows anyone – young or old, engineer or not, rich or poor – to scratch their own itch and create anything they can imagine.

As Arduino’s founder, Massimo Banzi, puts it, “You don’t need anyone’s permission to create something great.”

Indeed, with Arduino even finding its way into every single MakerBot 3D printer, creativity now really knows no bounds.

At Maker Faire, Atmel will be right across from our friends and partners at Arduino (Booth #625 and #619 for the location sticklers) and along with a pretty slick booth design made up entirely of cardboard furniture (Chairigami!!), we’ll have quite a bit going on.

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For starters, we’ll have some MakerBot demos and an “IoTorium” (which I’m assuming is an emporium of awesome Internet of Things devices).

Speaking of awesome “things”, the folks from PuzzleBox will be pitching up in Atmel’s booth with their brain-controlled helicopters, alongside the cool riders from Faraday Bikes who will be peddling their electric bicycle wares.

We’ll also have some cute hackable Hexbugs crawling around and for those keeping an eye on the time, some smart watches from Secret Labs (shhhh!).

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The Maker movement is a passionate one, and Atmel’s pretty passionate about being a part of it. If you can’t make it to Maker Faire, no sweat. You can follow all the goings on via Twitter. Just look for the hashtags @makerfaire, @atmel, @arduino.

Hope to see you there!