Tag Archives: XSense

Video Diary: A look back at Embedded World 2015


Weren’t able to join us in Nuremberg? 


With another Embedded World in the books, here’s a look back at some of Atmel’s latest smart and securely connected solutions that are ready to power next-generation Internet of Things (IoT) applications.

Andreas von Hofen shows off the new automotive grade ARM Cortex-M0+-based SAM DA1. The recently-revealed family of MCUs feature an integrated peripheral touch controller (PTC) for capacitive touch applications.

Geir Kjosavik demonstrates a QTouch-based water level sensing application that highlights its advanced HMI and sensing capabilities. Notable uses for this solution include automotive liquid containers and coffee machines.

Dr. Atta Römer explores the latest advancements in phase measurement by exhibiting various localization applications based on 802.15.4 transceivers. Among those examples is Agilion, who showed off its latest e-ink display ID badge based on an Atmel transceiver that is capable of tracking employees in emergency situations, transmitting data and managing access.

Ingolf Leidert addresses Atmel’s newest development kit for ZigBee Light Link solutions using a pair of SAMR21ZLL-EK boards. In this particular demonstration, one board served as a ZigBee LightLink remote, while the other acted as a light.

Controllino is an open-source programmable logic controller (PLC) built around ATmega328 and ATmega2560 microcontrollers. The startup’s CEO Marco Riedesser went 1:1 with Artie Beavis to delve deeper into the Arduino-compatible PLC that enables Makers and designers to produce and control a wide-range of IoT projects, ranging from industrial to home automation applications.

Lionel Perdigon introduces the newest series in the Atmel | SMART ARM Cortex-M portfolio, the SAM E70 and the SAM S70. These Cortex-M7-based MCUs are ideal for connectivity and general purpose industrial applications, while the auto-grade SAM V70 and SAM V71 are perfectly suited for in-vehicle infotainment, audio amplifiers, telematics and head unit control.

The Internet of Things requires a system-level solution encompassing the whole system, from the smallest edge/sensing node devices to the cloud. That is why Atmel has partnered with best-in-class cloud partners — including PubNub, Proximetry and Arrayent — that can support a variety of applications for both Tier-1 OEMs and smaller companies. As Ramzi Al-Harayeri explains Atmel has integrated the partners’ technologies into Atmel’s cloud solutions framework adding the cloud platform functionality seamlessly to all of the company’s wireless MCU offerings.

Thomas Wenzel showcases the latest version of Atmel’s connected car solution, AvantCar 2.0. Focusing on user requirements for next-generation vehicles, this futuristic center console concept delivers an advanced human machine interface (HMI). Beyond that, the new centerstack includes curved touchscreens highlighting HMI in upcoming automobiles using Atmel technologies including XSense, maXTouch, AVR MCUs and local interconnect network.

Bosch Sensortec’s Fabio Governale and Divya Thukkaram unveil the latest extension board for the incredibly-popular Xplained platform. Featuring a BNO055 intelligent 9-axis absolute orientation sensor, the next-gen device connects directly to Atmel’s Xplained board making it ideal for prototyping projects for the Internet of Things, wearables and gaming markets, as well as for applications like personal health and fitness, indoor navigation, and others requiring context awareness and augmented reality for a more immersive experience.

David Lindstrom of Percepio takes us through some of the innovative features of Atmel Studio 6.2, including the MTB support available on the new SAM D21 board. As the demo reveals, it’s super easy to get started, enable Trace View and run the system using the all-in-one collaborative environment for embedded design.

Sankaranarayanan Kitchiah delves deeper into Atmel’s BLDC motor control development platform using a SAM D21 MCU and the Atmel Data Visualizer (ADV) application.

Video: Rob Valiton discusses the future of automotive at CES 2015


The car of the future could have a curved center display with tons of real estate for driver information and entertainment. 


It’s no surprise that automotive technology has emerged as an integral component of our digital lifestyle, as more and more consumers are looking to bring their mobile devices seamlessly into their vehicles. During CES 2015, ARMdevices.net had the chance to catch up with Rob Valiton, Atmel Senior Vice President & General Manager, to discuss the connected car — most notably, the next generation of infotainment user interfaces.

10929927_1014246888592481_347934713395376436_n

With up to a hundred million lines of code, at least 30 MCU-controlled devices — and some with as many as 100 — the vehicle is the ideal application to bring smart, connected devices in the era of the Internet of Things (IoT). Not only will these automobiles be packed with futuristic functionality ranging from navigation and parking assistance to diagnosis and road conditions, they will become much more intuitive and integrated with smartphone-like interfaces. In order to provide this, the car of tomorrow will feature a curved center console display offering a large amount of real estate for information to drivers. And, the newly-announced AvantCar 2.0 will make this possible.

Luckily, the AvantCar 2.0 brings advanced connectivity into the vehicle through an advanced HMI console connected to a concept car highlighting car access, car networking, MCUs, audio-over-Ethernet, MHL support and security technologies. Focusing on user requirements, the fully-functional console concept boasts curved touchscreens using maXTouch touchscreen controllers and XSense flexible touch sensors, as well as Atmel’s QTouch with proximity sensing, and LIN networking for ambient lighting controls.

Atmel stays ahead of the curve with its next-generation car center console

Connected cars are expected to be among several of the key trends at this year’s International CES. With up to a hundred million lines of code, at least 30 MCU-controlled devices — and some with as many as 100 — the vehicle is the ideal application to bring smart, connected devices in the era of the Internet of Things (IoT). Not only will these vehicles be packed with next-gen functionality ranging from navigation and parking assistance to diagnosis and road conditions, they will become much more intuitive and integrated with smartphone-like interfaces. In order to provide this, the automobile of tomorrow will feature a curved center console display offering a large amount of real estate for information to drivers. And, the newly-announced AvantCar™ 2.0 will make this possible.

atmel-avantcar--780x530

The successor to the concept introduced a year ago, the AvantCar 2.0 is equipped with an array of Atmel technologies including a 2.5D model of a car connected to a fully-functional central display demonstrating car access, car networking, MCUs, audio streaming over-Ethernet-AVB and CryptoAuthentication™ products. The futuristic AvantCar 2.0 sports active touchscreens, curved form factors, personalized color schemes and navigation menus via touch buttons and sliders in a cutting-edge sleek center console.

Focusing on user requirements for future generation automobiles, AvantCar 2.0 delivers an advanced human machine interface (HMI). The new concept boasts curved touchscreens highlighting HMI in upcoming automobiles using Atmel technologies like maXTouch touchscreen controllers and XSense flexible touch sensors, as well as Atmel’s QTouch™ with proximity sensing, LIN networking for ambient lighting controls, and automotive-qualified AVR MCUs.

“As a leading provider of smart, connected devices with sophisticated, easy-to-use HMI, Atmel is committed to delivering a state-of-the-art connected experience in the automobile,” Rob Valiton, Atmel SVP and GM of Automotive, Aerospace and Memory Business Units. “Atmel’s AvantCar 2.0 showcases the connected car and delivers a futuristic center console showcasing our latest technologies in a sleek, slim center console with increased performance and fully connected throughout the car. We are excited to bring this next-generation concept to the public demonstrating the future of HMI in the connected car.”

Upon quick glance, one thing you will notice is that the AvantCar 2.0 is a bit different than your typical console — no more mechanical buttons or clunky knobs. 

Instead, the touchscreens integrated capacitive touch buttons and sliders enable users to navigate general applications typically found within an automotive center displays. The second generation demo is slimmer than its predecessor, offering a more appealing aesthetic with improved performance including Silicon Image’s MHL® (Mobile High-Definition Link) solution — a technology that allows users to easily transmit content from a smartphone, tablet, or other mobile device to larger displays such as in-dash automotive displays, while charging the mobile device.

atmel-avantcar-2-800x525

“The last one wasn’t as tailored to automotive standards for display quality,” Paul Kopp, Atmel Director of Automotive, told Venture Beat in a recent interview. “It also has curved liquid crystal displays (LCDs) that weren’t available before. It will look more like a curved surface. The designers really want that in automotive now. The lines will blend more with the vehicle itself.”

While carmakers have been using haptic feedback, it’s apparent that the trend has shifted towards much larger screens and easier touch technology. Tomorrow’s displays will likely be pretty big. While the average is currently about 8 inches diagonal now, it could, in fact, head closer to 10 inches or 12 inches in future models.

“When Tesla came out with a 17-inch main screen, that woke up a lot of the American manufacturers to the idea of bigger displays in the car,” Kopp told Venture Beat. “The right size for the user? The jury is still out.”

Those heading to Vegas for the world’s largest electronics show can experience the newly-unveiled AvantCar 2.0 concept by speeding on over to the Atmel booth (#MP25760) in the LVCC South Hall.

Report: A flexible future in store

Do you ever look at your mobile device and think it’s just too rigid? Do you wish your phone would rest ever so nicely in the palm of your hand, or even fit a bit better in that back pocket? Fortunately, a growing number of tech giants have and with that comes the next wave of mobile device innovation.

According to recent reports, it appears that the flexible electronic market is growing with demand on the rise. As previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, market research firm DisplaySearch has revealed that the share of flexible smartphones in the overall smartphone market is expected to reach 40% in 2018, up from merely 0.2% last year. In other words, it’s projected that four out of 10 smartphones will be flexible over the next couple of years. This should come with little surprise following recent analysts forecasting the flexible display market to surpass the $3.89 billion threshold by 2020 – growing at an impressively high CAGR from 2014 to 2020.

main26898-1

As seen in recent months, flexible electronic devices have started penetrating various markets, such as consumer electronics, medical and healthcare, and power and energy, automotive, and defense. Subsequently, the global flexible electronics market is expected to reach $13.23 billion by 2020, at an estimated CAGR of 21.73%. In addition, the emerging consumer electronics market is predicted to grow at a CAGR of 44.30% in the forecast period, with North America leading the pack, followed by Europe and APAC.

A new report from research firm IDTechEx has also detailed that the market for flexible OLED screens will rise to over $16 billion by the year 2020. Currently, new technologies — like smart watches and OLED TVs — are driving this uptick in consumer interest. The study projects that the OLED market will grow 43% by the year 2020, contingent upon the adoption of OLED technology by the general public. Whether these flexible screens are utilized on the newest smartphones, the technology needs to become the cultural norm if this new data is to ring true. Ferret notes that smart watches and fitness bands are currently driving the OLED market, but the relatively small screen size on these devices will not create the projected profit margins that the report detailed.

Still, when looking at the possibilities of flexible OLED screens, there seems to be no limit to their application. The ridged nature of current screens has restrained the creativity of technology developers over the last century; however, with the influx of flexible screens and products, it will be surely be interesting to see what comes next. Time will only tell, but we’re certainly inching closer to the day where users will be able to fold their devices.

 

4 in 10 smartphones will have flexible displays by 2018

According to market research firm DisplaySearch, the share of flexible smartphones in the overall smartphone market is expected to reach 40% in 2018, up from merely 0.2% last year. This should come with little surprise following recent analyst forecasts projecting the flexible display market to cross the $3.89 billion threshold by 2020 – growing at an impressively high CAGR from 2014 to 2020.

flexible-touchscreen-could-prompt-sleeker-curvier-tablets-smartphones-c521effb4f

It should also be noted that Jennifer Colegrove, who owns Touch Display Research in Santa Clara, California, says the potential market for XSense and similar technologies will increase from $200 million in 2013 to $4 billion by 2020, primarily for tablet computers and other larger mobile devices.

So far, tech giants Samsung and LG have jumped into the curved smartphone waters as seen during last October’s unveilings of both the Galaxy Round and LG G-Flex, respectively.

“Touchscreens that are thin, light, responsive, sleek and flexible create a multitude of possibilities for the future of design beyond familiar industrial and consumer applications, including wearables, mobile devices, automotive infotainment and other curved surfaces,” explained Jalil Shaikh, Atmel’s Vice President and GM.

As we’ve previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, Atmel’s XSense continues to play a role in the rapidly evolving flexible display market. Essentially, 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. This offers manufacturers the capability to build light-weight, sleek, edgeless smartphones, tablets and other touch-enabled devices.

Last month, EDN China selected XSense as a “Top 10 Most Influential Technologies for the Future.”

xsense_banner_980x374

Interested in learning more about Atmel’s XSense? Head on over to Bits & Pieces article archive on the subject here or check out what some Makers are envisioning a future of flexible displays.

And the Bend Your Mind XSense Design Contest winners are…

Back in December 2013, Atmel kicked off its global Bend Your Mind XSense Design Contest, where 
participants ranging from students to fashionistas were encouraged to stretch their imagination by submitting drawings unique designs utilizing Atmel’s flexible XSense touch sensor. Four winners — two first place and two second place — were ultimately selected by Atmel judges, based on originality, creativity and uniqueness of the designs, with winners receiving cash rewards.

Contest winners included:

  • Technical Grand Prize Winner: Joseph Malkom, NewGen
  • Technical Runner Up:  Andi Hidayatullah, Wrist Curved Tablet 
  • Creative Grand Prize Winner: Raghu Vamsi, Touchscreen ID Card 
  • Creative Runner Up: Arun Magesh, Rollable Laptops

“The devices and technological use cases seen in the ‘Bend Your Mind XSense Design Contest’ is yet a glimpse into the innovation and creativity that we see in today’s market,” explained Sander Arts, Atmel’s VP of Marketing. “Atmel congratulates all of the contestants and is thrilled to see such imaginative uses for XSense technology. With XSense’s flexibility and high-performance capabilities, the future of innovation is bright when creative minds have the technology to turn vision into reality.”

Joseph Malkom 

“Using the XSense touch sensor, this design can be used in the medical world. I got this inspiration after my grandmother had a small needle stuck in her foot and the doctor used three different xrays wrapped around her leg in order to pinpoint the exact location of the needle in her foot. However, by using this screen, doctors can have a 3D view of bones, veins and nerves, and can pinpoint exact locations of injuries. Moreover, by being able to change the view from bones to veins and nerves, they can prevent creating serious injuries, like accidentally cutting into a major vein. By using fiduciary markers, physicians can pinpoint the exact location of an object even if the patient changes their position. As there is a metal stand at the bottom supporting the flexible screen, the PCB can reside inside there.”

joe1-1

Andi Hidayatullah

“The idea of this design is to make a “wrist curved tablet” using combination of XSense and flexible OLED display as a curved touchscreen… It can be used by people in their jobs or activities while it’s not necessary to stop what they are doing or unable to take care the device.”

810_52a0b719ec31c-wristtablet-1

Raghu Vamsi 

“My idea is to provide some additional features to an ID card.”

810_528f485745952-VAMSI

Atmel XSense is a revolutionary, highly flexible film-based touch sensor that enables a new generation of smartphones and tablets, and extends touch capabilities into a wide array of new consumer and industrial products. Optimal for a broad range of touchscreen products, XSense enables thinner, lighter and faster touch products. XSense creates flawless touch performance, enhanced noise immunity, low sheet resistance and low-power consumption allowing designers to turn unique touch-based concepts into functional designs at lower total system costs compared to current market alternatives.

Interested in learning more about Atmel’s XSense? You can check out our Bits & Pieces article archive on the subject here.

Still made in the USA

Atmel just did a great 4th of July infographic celebrating the resurgence of American manufacturing. The US still manufactures 75% of everything it consumes. As a former auto engineer who saw millions of jobs lost and trillions of dollars washed down the drain, this really delights me. When I was an EDN editor I attended a presentation by Beacon Economics. This outfit was started by Chris Thornberg, the UCLA professor that predicted the 2007 housing crash in 2006. It was at this presentation that I learned that US manufacturing has never crashed, as many people popularly believe. Indeed, in dollar terms the output of US manufacturing has been on a pretty steady upward march.

US-manufacturing-output_1970-2009

In dollar terms, US manufacturing has been on a steady and impressive rise for 40 years.

What has declined is US manufacturing employment.

US-manufacturing-employment_1941-2009

The huge increase in productivity means we don’t need as many workers in manufacturing, even though output has climbed.

This is because computers and automation and robots have greatly increased the productivity of the American worker.

Industrial-production-per-worker_1940-2005

The output per US worker has steadily increased over the last 70 years.

A century ago agriculture took 70-80% of the US employment. But tractors and the green revolution has allowed American food to be grown by 2% of the work force. The same revolution that improved farming is now improving manufacturing.

Indeed the future of US manufacturing has never looked better. Many companies are continuing to invest in their US operations. Atmel just created a new production line in its Colorado fab for our XSense touch sensor film. And though the 2007 crash made for a dip in manufacturing output, there is a slow but steady recovery back to the historical trend lines of healthy growth.

Indeed, the rising costs of off-shore manufacturing have caused a lot of companies to bring manufacturing back to the USA. As noted in this link:

“The reshoring trend is rocking global business, with hundreds of companies working to bring their manufacturing operations back … to North America.”

“…the recent surge in reshoring has shocked even experts and researchers.” Hal Sirkin

I myself saw this trend 4 years ago when I visited Trail Tech up in Washington State. They are a power sports manufacturer with a line of HID (high-intensity discharge) headlamps for trail bikes. Their representative told me that they were getting the vacuum-impregnated transformers from an offshore supplier. But they just could not get the quality they needed. Once the transformer was potted there was no method of incoming inspection that would reveal poor potting or construction. So they moved the transformer manufacturing back to the US.

Trail-Tech_HID-Headlight

This HID head lamp from Trail Tech uses a transformer that they make in the USA, so they can maintain strict quality standards.

Indeed, many companies are bringing manufacturing back. We have seen GE move its hot-water heater production back to the USA. GE will spend $1 billion to tool up its U.S. appliance production. This will add 1,300 jobs in Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia and Indiana. NCR (National Cash Register) moved its ATM machine production from overseas to Columbus Georgia. Farouk Systems hair driers and Coleman water coolers are coming back to US production. And good-old Converse has a line of shoes made in the US because of strict quality requirements. New Balance, American Apparel, and Timbuktu now make products in the U.S.

Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris has declared that they intend to return production lines to the United States. Indeed, Hal Sirkin, of the Boston Consulting Group forecasts that two to three million manufacturing jobs will come back to the U.S. during this decade.

So don’t despair about the state of manufacturing in the USA. There are good reasons to buy American and there are good reasons to buy imports. Don’t forget the economic principle of comparative advantage, and don’t forget there will always be different advantages for different countries. David Friedman, son of Nobel laureate Milton Friedman has noted there are two ways to make automobiles. One way is to mine ore and make steel and build factories and put together cars. The other way is to fill a big boat with wheat and float it to the West. It will return full of cars. What a miracle modern economics is. So don’t worry and be happy, and if people tell you how the US is lagging, show them this chart:

US-manufacturing-productivity_1947-2011

This chart shows just how healthy US manufacturing is.