Over the past 18 years of CES, Atmel MCU applications manager Bob Martin has noticed a shift. No longer are the show floors made up of just blaring TVs produced by a few industrial giants. Now he’s seeing a strong presence of the parts makers, the vendors whose components make new creations, and many of those new and inventive creations themselves.
As MAKE scouts through CES 2014 with the question “Is making going mainstream?”, we have been finding more and more examples of how much it is, and the Atmel booth is one of the most defining models of that. The American semiconductor company, celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, has typically focused on the microcontrollers and components inside many consumer devices, a role that puts them squarely in CES territory. They also provide the processor inside most Arduino boards, connecting them closely with the world of making.
This year Atmel chose to highlight the maker portion of their business at CES. The inside of their walled area is covered in their signature blue color, save for one corner. That section, prominently visible to passers-by, is done in brown pegboard, stocked with a workshop’s worth of hand tools, and titled “Atmel Maker.” Martin, an evangelist of making and the Maker Movement, is one of the minds behind this section of their booth, and says the reception has been fantastic. With a variety of various Arduino-compatible boards, including the environmental sensing Smart Citizen, as well as various build projects like Martin’s obstacle-avoiding hexbug hack, the area highlights how attractive making has become as a consumer endeavor.
Promising new low-cost Arduino-based development boards, as well as a nation-wide education tour for 2014, Atmel is staying firmly connected to makers.