Atmel announced its 6-pin ATtiny10 MCUs in April 2009 and in late November 2009, the company introduced the ATtiny4, ATtiny5, and ATtiny9, which provide the same pin-out and functions as the ATtiny10 device. All of these MCUs include the standard AVR central processing unit (CPU). The processors all operate between 1.8 and 5.5V and they vary slightly, as noted below:
ATtiny4: 512 bytes of Flash, 32 bytes of SRAM, one 16-bit counter/timer with a PWM channels, analog comparator.
ATtiny5: Same as ATtiny4, but includes an ADC.
ATtiny9: Same as ATtiny4, but with 1 kbyte of Flash.
ATtiny10: Same as ATtiny4, but with 1 kbyte of Flash and ADC.
As you can imagine, the I/O pins get crowded. One pin carries the following designation:
But, what can you do with such a small MCU? Atmel noted prices for 5,000 devices start at $US 0.34 each, so the low cost should make the chip attractive in many consumer devices. An article on the Atmel Web site describes a home thermostat. I could design a smart doorbell: Press it quickly and it gives a normal ring. Press it for two seconds and it created a different ring to announce someone as a friend. Press it twice quickly and it produces a “family” ring. Even with only four I/O pins, the chip could still serve as a servo- or stepper-motor controller with a serial input.
All tinyAVR microcontrollers use the standard AVR microcontroller development tools. Atmel provides its AVR Studio integrated development environment at no charge via the company Web site at: www.atmel.com/AVRStudio.
If you want to investigate the ATtiny family, Atmel offers the STK600-ATTINY10 package that contains adapter boards for the ATtiny4/5/9/10 devices. These boards plug into the STK600 starter kit and development system for the AVR and AVR32 Flash microcontrollers. –Jon Titus
Truchard will be presented the award at the 2014 Golden Mousetrap Awards ceremony during the co-located events Pacific Design & Manufacturing, MD&M West, WestPack, PLASTEC West, Electronics West, ATX West, and AeroCon.
Robots that walk have come a long way from simple barebones walking machines or pairs of legs without an upper body and head. Much of the research these days focuses on making more humanoid robots. But they are not all created equal.
The IEEE Computer Society has named the top 10 trends for 2014. You can expect the convergence of cloud computing and mobile devices, advances in health care data and devices, as well as privacy issues in social media to make the headlines. And 3D printing came out of nowhere to make a big splash.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.