The 2012 Atmel Robotics Contest (ARC) is currently underway. The contest is open to university students 18 years or older in North America, South America and Europe, and the goal is to develop a battery-powered 3D version of the Atmel robot ‘Mel’ (pictured above) using Arduino’s 4WD platform (for example, see Seeedstudio’s version) and Atmel components. Contestants can either work on their own or team up with other university students.
Deadline for submissions is May 18th, 2012. ARC contest rules are available in PDF from the contest webpage.
Atmel University Program Kicks Off 2012 Robotics Contest - [Link]
Pete made a nice tutorial on the fist steps of designing projects with AVR microcontrollers. He covers choosing the right uC for your project, finding datasheets, getting a programmer/debugger, and setting up the AVRStudio 5.1 for developing and debugging. [via]
In the wee hours of the night, I’ve been continuing to learn how to develop for the various AVR family chips from Atmel. I also do a lot with NETMF, Netduino, and the .NET Gadgeteer, but sometimes (despite the pain!) it feels good to code right on the metal.
Introductory/getting started information for the AVR family is not always the easiest to find, so this post covers a few other important details I think you’ll find helpful.
First steps in designing projects with AVR microcontrollers - [Link]
This is an experiment board based on the new AVR ATxmega 128A1 microcontroller from Atmel. It features some nice gimmicks like an opto coupler, a RGB LED, a microSD card slot, infra red transmitter and receiver, USB, an external SDRAM and EBI extension header as well as a rotary encoder. The board has 6mil structures and hence is not home-producible (at least for the most of us). The board aims to be a general test bed for getting familiar with the new Xmega series. It could also be used as an application board.
It started out as a community project and I am about to spread about 100 pieces of this board into the crowd. We can expect some external contributions mostly in form of example code, which is rare at the moment. Although Atmel announced the MCU well over a year ago it is now that the first models become available in small quantities. This edgy character also establishes itself when it comes to the toolchain and programming tools and costs a lot of effort.
ATxmega128a1 development board - [Link]
Try making a double led dice with 14 leds driven only by 4 available pins of an Atmel Attiny13a. I did it, and it worked:
14 leds can be driven by a technique called charlieplexing when not many microcontroller pins are available. This technique works from the fact that leds are diodes and that those diodes have a little voltage drop. In the network of leds, you can make one led turn on by applying a voltage smaller than twice the voltage drop of a led. In this way, only one led lights up. The other leds do not turn on because the voltage is not high enough.
To make all the leds light up you must cycle through all the leds very fast. Only one led can be turned on at a time. If you cycle through all leds very fast they all seem to be on at the same time to the human eye.
Charlieplexed double led dice - [Link]
Atmel launches digital audio development system – [via]
Atmel Corporation has announced a complete hardware and firmware digital audio solution aimed at simplifying the design of digital audio equipment for consumer, automotive and industrial applications. Based on the Atmel’s AVR UC3 microcontrollers, the Digital Audio Platform is specifically tailored for audio applications such as USB docking stations for smartphones and media players.
The platform comprises dedicated microcontrollers, evaluation kits and firmware IP. The firmware IP includes control and streaming interfaces for popular smartphones and portable media players as well as MP3, WMA and AAC decoders, USB protocol stacks, and a complete file system to allow designers to utilize mass storage devices such as USB flash disks and SD cards. The Digital Audio Platform is ideal for applications including docking stations, USB mass storage, SD card playback, car stereos, USB speakers, microphones, and various voice and music equipment.
Atmel launches digital audio development system - [Link]
USBasp is a USB in-circuit programmer for Atmel AVR controllers. It simply consists of an ATMega48 and ATMega88 an ATMega8 and a couple of passive components. The programmer uses a firmware-only USB driver, no special USB controller is needed.
- Works under multiple platforms. Linux, Mac OS X and Windows are tested.
- No special controllers or smd components are needed.
- Programming speed is up to 5kBytes/sec.
- SCK option to support targets with low clock speed (< 1,5MHz).
USBasp – USB programmer for Atmel AVR controllers - [Link]
My parents growing their own organic food and they asked me to deal with winter temperatures problem in the storage room. It gets really cold here, in Ukraine. Some winters have even lower temperatures than -30°C (-22°F). So right now I designing a simple thermostat for keeping temperature at about 5-7 degrees C above zero. Plus right now I started to use my garage as a gym, so this thermostat would be handy there too.
It’s based around ATMEL AVR ATtiny2313 microcontroller, it will measure temperature using DS18B20 digital temperature sensor, and it has a 30A 240VAC relay to control heater.
dangerousprototypes.com writes: [via]
If you’re at that stage as a beginner where you wonder what’s going on behind the scenes on an Arduino board you should check out jumperone’s tutorial on using microcontrollers. There you’ll learn what’s needed to take a bare microcontroller and load your own program onto it. Both PIC and Atmel chips are covered, with an explanation of what simple components you need to get started in addition to the chip itself, along with programming connections and hardware.
Microcontrollers for newbies - [Link]
If you like the AVR ATmega microprocessors, then the AVR XMEGA offer you even more reasons why to use them in your appliances.
Single-chip microprocessors AVR ATmega have gained a huge popularity all over the world. Because an excellent can also be even better, Atmel Corporation came to the market with the innovated series of these processors under marking XMEGA.
Generally known excellent properties of 8 bit RISC processors AVR Atmega, were further improved by developers in Atmel Corporation in this new line of 8/16 bit AVR XMEGA processors. That they succeeded, testifies this concise overview of innovations:
- fast precise 12 bit AD converter (ADC)
- fast 12 bit DA converter (DAC)
- DMA controller for CPU independent data transfer
- event system, most of peripherials and the DMA controller can use it, what significantly offloads CPU
- ultra low power consumption – picoPOWER technology for a minimal consumption of 100nA in the Power down mode
- EBI bus for RAM extension, peripherials (LCD) or memory-mapped devices
- free Qtouch library for operation with capacitive touch panels
- full speed USB connectivity without external crystal (at some models)
- free AVR Software Framework including all common USB device classes
- LCD display driver for a direct connection of LCD to processor
- true 1.6V operation and speeds up to 32 MHz
- AES, DES crypting protocols
- 3-level interrupt controller (priority is freely user definable)
- CRC modul (cyclic redundancy check) for data integrity check
- RTC (real time clock) with optional battery backup system
- analog comparators with adjustable hysteresis and propagation delay
- external oscillator failure detection – in case of failure, CPU will start operation with the internal 2MHz oscillator
- supply voltage 1.6 to 3.6V
Atmel AVR XMEGA will provide you eXtra more - [Link]