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Atmel and Arduino: Inspiring DIY Makers

Atmel MCU Applications Manager Bob Martin recently went on camera to discuss Atmel’s unique relationship with Arduino, Maker Faire and the DIY Maker Movement.

As Martin points out, Atmel’s 8- and 32-bit microcontrollers have been the MCUs of choice for Arduino since the boards first hit the streets for DIY Makers way back in 2005. More specifically, he attributes the success of Arduino to its easy-to-use, free cross-platform toolchain and its simple do-it-yourself packages with Atmel MCUs.

“These factors helped initially steer the Arduino team to choose our AVR microcontrollers – and today, both our AVR and ARM-based MCUs,” Martin explained.

The Atmel MCU Applications Manager also noted that one of the coolest Maker technologies to surface in recent years is 3D printing technology, an industry expected to be worth $3 billion by 2016. To be sure, says Martin, almost every major 3D printer is currently based on Atmel AVR MCUs.

As previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, the Maker Movement is growing exponentially by taking advantage of 3D printers, inexpensive microcontrollers, robotics, CAD and the ability to control machines with computers, tablets and smartphones.
According to Larry Magid, a technology journalist who writes for the San Jose Mercury News, we are all Makers to a certain extent, even if some of us don’t know it yet.

“All of us – even Leonardo da Vinci – were late comers as far as the Maker movement is concerned,” he explained. “Our prehistoric ancestors millions of years ago, figured out how to turn stones into tools so that they could make things. Only they didn’t have fairs, books and websites to document the process.”

Similarly, Will.i.am, the technophile founder of The Black Eyed Peas, recently offered a ringing endorsement of the Maker Movement and related culture on Facebook.

“Every young person is going to be inspired to be a maker from now on,” said Will.i.am. “It’s like how everyone used to want to be a musician, an actor, an athlete — but a maker is what people are going to want to be.”

Indeed, as Arduino’s Massimo Banzi once famously noted, “You don’t need anyone’s permission to make something great.”

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