When Arduino unveiled a boatload of new products on Friday, we could have taken the easy route, posted the PR and called it a day. But, since the crew happened to be in town for Maker Faire, with a few folks from Atmel (makers of the AVR chip at the heart of the open source MCU) in tow, we figured why not go straight to the source. Arduino founder Massimo Banzi gave us a look at the company's latest offerings: the ARM-powered Arduino Due, the low-cost Arduino Leonardo, and aptly-named Arduino WiFi, as well as a peek at some of the group's upcoming plans. Keep on reading after the break for the juicy details.
The Leonardo is essentially a simplified Uno with the USB controller integrated into the processor. When it starts shipping in late October it should cost as little as $20. The Leonardo also trades in the full-sized USB port for one of the micro variety, which will eventually become standard on all Arduino boards. The WiFi, also shipping in October, is a shield that adds 802.11 connectivity to your projects. But, unlike most other WiFi shields out there, the Arduino branded version is open source from top to bottom. Hackers are even free to modify the firmware to add features and protocols. The Due is roughly the size of the Mega 2560, but swaps the 16MHz, 8-bit processor found in your standard issue Arduino for a 96MHz Cortex-M3. Predictably, the Due is a much more capable development platform, and could easily replace multiple AVR-based Arduinos in products like DIY Drones' UAVs. The Due isn't expected ship till at least November in large quantities, but preview boards are currently being handed out to select developers.
We also got a glimpse at the upcoming Arduino Robot System, codenamed Lottie Lemon. The system was actually designed by a pair of 17-year-old RoboCup champions from the Complubot robotics team. The two-tiered Tinker Kit-compatible bot has a pair of Arduino chips powering it that can be programed independently: one in the base to pilot the two-wheeled machine and another on the removable top board for interacting with sensors and output devices. The Arduino team is hoping to get the kit out the door for under $100 by January, but we're hoping they land a little sooner -- this is one thing we're definitely gonna ask Santa for.
The company is also moving forward on the software front. The Arduino IDE has finally hit 1.0, and a new version that can compile code for different chip architectures (including ARM) should be out by year's end. Massimo was already talking up the next-gen system though, that would leverage Nokia's QT framework and a plugin system to expand its capabilities and offer developers a more professional solution for building Arduino-based products. It's an exciting time for the open source community and we're sure that the Italian company has even more thrilling things planned for the future that it wasn't quite ready to spill the beans about yet.
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Atmel and Arduino Collaborate on AVR and ARM-based Development Platforms
See the latest platforms based on Atmel products in the Atmel-sponsored Arduino Pavilion located in Queens, New York, September 17 and 18
Listen to Atmel Open Source Community Manager Eric Weddington present "Open Source AVR Toolchain Past, Present and Future" at 2:00 pm PT on September 17 and 18 in the 'Make Live Stage' at the Maker Faire
San Jose, CA, September 16, 2011 - Today at the BUILD conference, Atmel® Corporation (NASDAQ: ATML), a leader in microcontroller and touch solutions, and Arduino, the leading open-source electronics prototyping platform and community, announced they are collaborating on several development boards using Atmel AVR and ARM-based microcontroller (MCU) products. The new easy-to-use Arduino boards use several Atmel products including the Cortex-M3-based SAM3U MCU, ATmega32U4 and AVR UC3 MCUs.
Arduino is an open-source, community-based prototyping platform that offers accessible hardware and well-documented software to electronics enthusiasts. The community encompasses artists, designers, students, kids, hobbyists and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments. Committed to offering the shortest learning curve, Arduino has developed several boards featuring Atmel's AVR and ARM-based MCUs leveraging its complete, flexible software and hardware environments.
Atmel and Arduino will be demonstrating several platforms in the Atmel-sponsored Arduino Pavilion including:
Arduino Leonardo. Based on the Atmel ATmega32u4, it is a low-cost Arduino board which includes a simpler circuit as the Arduino UNO board. The software on the board includes a USB driver that can simulate a mouse, keyboard and serial port. In addition, the bootloader includes a serial port and USB mass storage driver. Arduino Due. The newest board to Arduino's collection, the Arduino Due is based on an Atmel Cortex-M3-based microcontroller, also known as the Atmel SAM3U ARM-based MCU. This MCU can run up to 96MHz and will be available to the Arduino community by the end of 2011. Arduino WiFi. This board is for hobbyists interested in WiFi applications. Arduino WiFi includes an add-on module using the Atmel AVR MCU and an H&D Wireless module that provides developers with a powerful WiFi interface.
"Arduino is a grass roots community that has been working with Atmel AVR products since its inception," said Massimo Banzi, founder of the Arduino Community. "We are thrilled to use Atmel's ARM-based products for the first time in our latest development platforms. The new boards, based on the Atmel SAM3U ARM-based MCUs, include a complete, flexible eco-system that provides our community of developers with access to the most sophisticated, yet easy-to-use platforms for designing innovative and fun electronics devices," Banzi concluded.
"We are excited to be a sponsor of the Arduino Pavilion at the Maker Faire," said Alf Egil-Bogen, chief marketing officer, Atmel Corporation. "The Arduino community reaches a large group of university and hobbyist communities focused on developing new designs. We've seen this community grow from grass roots to a well-established organization of true enthusiasts and hobbyists. We are excited to work with Arduino on a variety of different projects in the future."
About Arduino Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It's intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments. For more information, visit the website at www.arduino.cc.
About Atmel Atmel Corporation (Nasdaq: ATML) is a worldwide leader in the design and manufacture of microcontrollers, capacitive touch solutions, advanced logic, mixed-signal, nonvolatile memory and radio frequency (RF) components. Leveraging one of the industry's broadest intellectual property (IP) technology portfolios, Atmel is able to provide the electronics industry with complete system solutions focused on industrial, consumer, communications, computing and automotive markets.