Altera Programmable Logic Inspires Innovation at 2014 Maker Faire Bay Area

Altera Cyclone FPGAs Featured in DrawBots, Light Speed Calculators, and Augmented Reality "castAR" Glasses

May 14, 2014, 19:56 ET from Altera Corporation

SAN JOSE, Calif., May 14, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Altera Corporation, a world-leading semiconductor company headquartered in San Jose, is displaying its programmable logic solutions at the 9th annual Maker Faire Bay Area being held at the San Mateo Event Center on May 17-18. In a series of forward-thinking demonstrations, Altera engineers will be on hand in the Expo Hall (in booth #305) to showcase the flexibility, performance and versatility of the company's leading-edge field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs).

Attendees of Maker Faire Bay Area will see how FPGAs are being used today to enable innovation in unique and varied ways. Altera offers a wide variety of low-cost, easy-to-use, off-the-shelf development kits for hobbyists and innovators. Several FPGA-based solutions are on display around the Maker Faire Bay Area show floor.

One such display features augmented reality glasses, called castAR glasses, invented by Technical Illusions. The glasses provide a new augmented reality (AR) experience that puts a user "inside" a gaming or other virtual environment. An Altera Cyclone® FPGA accelerates the processing of the compute-intensive visual information that allows the immersive experience. The castAR glasses can be seen and experienced at the Technical Illusions booth in Fiesta Hall.

Jeri Ellsworth, lead hardware designer and co-founder of Technical Illusions, said, "FPGAs have always been enablers for me in my electronic designs, and Altera has been a great partner in the castAR project. It's simply revolutionary that with castAR glasses we can see and interact with an augmented, mixed reality world, and excitement is growing amongst gamers and professionals alike. At this year's Maker Faire we expect to create even more buzz for castAR, as well as for Altera FPGAs, as more and more people see the possibilities."

In the Altera booth, engineers will offer hands-on demonstrations designed to engage electronic hobbyists and young entrepreneurs-in-the-making. Booth demonstrations include:

  • DrawBot: Recycled Inkjet® printer components for an FPGA-controlled 'etch-a-sketch'® experience
  • DX7 Synthesizer: Recreation of the classic Yamaha DX7 Music synthesizer in an FPGA
  • Audio DSP Fun: Demonstrating principles of signal processing in an easy-to-learn way
  • Measure C:  Calculating the speed of light with an FPGA
  • Prime Number Calculator: Extreme hardware acceleration of a compute-intensive function
  • Graphics and Video Processing: Linux-based applications running on development kits from TerASIC

"We are all makers at heart, and FPGAs truly enable the maker spirit," said Richard Price, senior manager for IC design engineering at Altera and Maker Faire enthusiast. "FPGAs provide innovative companies like Technical Illusions a highly versatile, highly capable off-the-shelf solution. Altera supports this event wholeheartedly as a Silicon Valley semiconductor leader with a 30-year legacy of enabling innovative technologies."

The maker movement has reached new heights over the last year, impacting the way people are learning, creating, sharing, and collaborating on hobby projects, new inventions, and product enhancements, and the Maker Faire celebrated 100 faires in 2013 alone and has reached over 1.5 million attendees globally since it launched in San Mateo, California, in 2006.

About Altera

Altera® programmable solutions enable designers of electronic systems to rapidly and cost effectively innovate, differentiate and win in their markets. Altera offers FPGAs, SoCs, CPLDs, ASICs and complementary technologies, such as power management, to provide high-value solutions to customers worldwide. Visit

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Editor Contact:
Karin Taylor
Altera Corporation
(408) 544-8207

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SOURCE Altera Corporation