Tag Archives: BLE

Send Touch Over Distance With HEY Bracelet

HEY is an innovative bracelet that really makes you feel connected to a loved one. It uses a unique technology to send your touch as far as needed. It’s the first bracelet that mimics a real human touch, not by producing a mechanical vibration or buzzing sensation, but an actual gentle squeeze.

On Valentine’s Day the stylish piece of smart jewelry was launched on Kickstarter and within one hour it was already ‘trending’. Check the campaign video:

The bracelet incorporates advanced technology that communicates through Bluetooth with your smartphone. The ingenious design  ensures that a touch wouldn’t be sent accidentally. In order to send a message you should touch the bracelet in two places and it will be transferred directly to your phone and from there to the connected HEY bracelet anywhere in the world.

Via Bluetooth HEY is connected to an app on your smartphone. This app makes sure all your little squeezes reach the other bracelet directly. It also helps you pair the bracelets easily, fast and without any hassle. And last but not least it keeps track of your love stats. For instance the distance between you and your loved one or the last time you were together. If desired, these features can be turned off. In the future more features will be added to the app.

HEY is invented by Mark van Rossem. He looked at the current world of communication and saw that one thing was missing. And that thing was touch. People communicate through technology 24/7, but there is always a physical distance separating them. So Mark set himself the seemingly impossible goal to send touch at great distances and came up with the idea for HEY. Together with successful entrepreneur, David van Brakel, he gathered a team of creative and technical professionals that have all earned their credentials in their field of expertise. Together they want to build products that bring people closer.

“From a simple touch like squeezing someone’s hand, to hugging, social touch is important in the way we maintain healthy and happy social relationships with the people that we care about most.” – Gijs Huisman, who collaborated in developing bracelet, is an expert at the University of Twente in the field of Social Touch Technology and has been researching haptic technology (touch by tech) for five years now.

No need to worry a lot about the safety of the bracelet electronics since the design is weatherproof. With only 30 minutes of charging, you will be able to send touches for around 3 weeks!

HEY adds a completely new dimension to relationships and more haptic products will be developed in the near future. For more information and updates, check the official website and the Kickstarter campaign. 35 days are left to pre-order 2 HEY bracelets with the Kickstarter deal for €83 which is 30% of the retail price.

DIY BLE Thermometer With Arduino and Blynk

Konstantin Dimitrov has shared a new tutorial on Arduino Project Hub on how to make an Arduino/Genuino 101 Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) thermometer with TMP102 and Blynk. Blynk is a platform with iOS and Android apps to control Arduino, Raspberry Pi and the likes over the Internet. You can easily build graphical interfaces for all your projects by simply dragging and dropping widgets.

You will need:

In order to program this project, you should first include Blynk library by going to:

Sketch => Include Library => Manage Libraries. Click on “Manage Libraries”, then type Blynk in the search bar and you will get the library.  You should scan this QR code once you install the Blynk app on your smartphone to complete the settings.

“Now you need to get the “Auth Token”. Tap on the “Nut” icon then tap on the device and again on it, now you should see your “Auth Token”. E-mail or rewrite it, cause you will need it in the next step !”

In order to connect the Blynk app, tap on the Bluetooth app, tap on “Connect BLE Device” and choose your 101 board. You are now connected!

Finally upload this sketch on you Arduino:

/**************************************************************
 * Blynk is a platform with iOS and Android apps to control
 * Arduino, Raspberry Pi and the likes over the Internet.
 * You can easily build graphic interfaces for all your
 * projects by simply dragging and dropping widgets.
 *
 * This sketch was created by Konstatin Dimitrov 
 * under GNU v3.0 Licence 
 * 
 * Based on example scetch: Arduino_101_BLE
 ***************************************************
 *
 * This scetch shows how to send data from TMP102 with 
 * Arduino/Genuino 101 BLE to Blynk.
 *
 * Note: This requires CurieBLE library
 *   from http://librarymanager/all#CurieBLE
 *
 * NOTE: BLE support is in beta!
 *
 **************************************************************/

//#define BLYNK_USE_DIRECT_CONNECT

#define BLYNK_PRINT Serial

#include <Wire.h>
#include <BlynkSimpleCurieBLE.h>
#include <CurieBLE.h>

// You should get Auth Token in the Blynk App.
// Go to the Project Settings (nut icon).
char auth[] = "AUTH_TOKEN";

//TMP102 I2C (TWI) address in HEX
int tmp102Address = 0x48;

BLEPeripheral  blePeripheral;

void setup() {
  Serial.begin(9600);
  Wire.begin();
  delay(1000);
  
  blePeripheral.setLocalName("BLE Thermometer");
  blePeripheral.setDeviceName("BLE Thermometer");
  blePeripheral.setAppearance(384);

  Blynk.begin(blePeripheral, auth);

  blePeripheral.begin();
  
  Serial.println("Waiting for connections...");
}

//Temperature readings in Celsius on V0
BLYNK_READ(0)
  {
  float celsius = getTemperature();
  Blynk.virtualWrite(0, celsius);
  }
//Temperature readings in Fahrenheit on V1
BLYNK_READ(1)
  {
  float celsius = getTemperature();
  float fahrenheit = (1.8 * celsius) + 32;
  Blynk.virtualWrite(1, fahrenheit);
  }

BLYNK_READ(2)
  {
  float celsius = getTemperature();
  float kelvin = 273.15 + celsius;
  Blynk.virtualWrite(2, kelvin);
  }
  
void loop() {
  Blynk.run();
  blePeripheral.poll();
  }

float getTemperature(){
  Wire.requestFrom(tmp102Address,2); 

  byte MSB = Wire.read();
  byte LSB = Wire.read();

  //it's a 12bit int, using two's compliment for negative
  int TemperatureSum = ((MSB << 8) | LSB) >> 4; 

  float celsius = TemperatureSum*0.0625;
  return celsius;
}

To know more details, check the project’s page. Also check more projects by Konstnatin and follow him!

SensorTile, An Accurate Development Kit For Biometric Wearables

Valencell, a biometric wearable sensor technology company, in partnership with STMicroelectronics, an electronics and semiconductor manufacturer, announced a new highly accurate and scalable development kit for biometric wearables. The kit combines ST’s compact SensorTile turnkey multi-sensor module with Valencell’s Benchmark biometric sensor system.

The SensorTile is a tiny IoT module (13.5mm x 13.5mm) that features a powerful STM32L4 microcontroller, a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) chipset, a wide spectrum of high-accuracy motion and environmental MEMS sensors (accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, pressure, temperature sensor), and a digital MEMS microphone.

The on-board low-power STM32L4 microcontroller makes it work as a sensing and connectivity hub for developing firmware and shipping in products such as wearables, gaming accessories, and smart-home or IoT devices.

Key Features:

  • FCC (ID: S9NSTILE01) and IC (IC: 8976C-STILE01) certified
  • Included in the development kit package:
    • SensorTile module
    • SensorTile expansion Cradle board equipped with audio DAC, USB port, STM32 Nucleo, Arduino UNO R3 and SWD connector
    • SensorTile Cradle with battery charger, humidity and temperature sensor, SD memory card slot, USB port and breakaway SWD connector
    • 100 mAh Li-Ion battery
    • Plastic box for housing the SensorTile cradle and the battery
    • SWD programming cable
  • Software libraries and tools
    • STSW-STLKT01: SensorTile firmware package that supports sensors raw data streaming via USB, data logging on SDCard, audio acquisition and audio streaming. It includes low level drivers for all the on-board devices
    • BLUEMICROSYSTEM1 and BLUEMICROSYSTEM2: STM32Cube expansion software package, supporting different algorithms tailored to the on-board sensors
    • FP-SNS-ALLMEMS1 and FP-SNS-MOTENV1: STM32 ODE functional packs
    • ST BlueMS: iOS and Android demo Apps
    • BlueST-SDK: iOS and Android Software Development Kit
    • Compatible with STM32 ecosystem through STM32Cube support

“Valencell’s Benchmark solution leverages the high accuracy of ST’s MEMS sensor technology along with SensorTile’s miniature form factor, flexibility, and STM32 Open Development Environment-based ecosystem,” said Tony Keirouz, Vice President Marketing and Applications, Microcontrollers, Security, and Internet of Things, STMicroelectronics. “Combined, SensorTile and Benchmark enable wearable makers to quickly and easily develop the perfect product for any application that integrates highly accurate biometrics.”

Integrating ST’s SensorTile development kit with Valencell’s Benchmark sensor technology simplifies the prototyping, evaluation, and development of innovative wearable and IoT solutions. That’s done by delivering a complete Valencell PerformTek technology package, ready for immediate integration and delivery into wearable devices. The collaboration with ST expands on previous work that incorporated the company’s STM32 MCUs and sensors into Valencell’s Benchmark sensor system.

“Working with ST has allowed us to bring together the best of all sensors required to support the most advanced wearable use cases through our groundbreaking Benchmark sensor system,” said Dr. Steven LeBoeuf, president and co-founder of Valencell.

The kit is in volume production and is available for about $80. You can order it and get more information and technical details through the official page.

Source: ElectronicSpecifier

MDBT42Q, nRF52832-based BLE module

The open hardware innovation platform Seeedstudio produces the MDBT42Q, a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) module. It is a BT 4.0, BT 4.1 and BT 4.2 module designed based on Nordic nRF52832 SoC, a powerful, highly flexible ultra-low power multiprotocol SoC ideally suited for Bluetooth low energy, ANT and 2.4GHz ultra low-power wireless applications.

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MDBT42Q features a dual transmission mode of BLE and 2.4 GHz RF with over 80 meters working distance in open space. It is a 16 x 10 x 2.2 mm board which contains GPIO, SPI, UART, I2C, I2S, PWM and ADC interfaces for connecting peripherals and sensors.

nrf52832_mediumThe nRF52832 SoC is built around a 32-bit ARM® Cortex™-M4F CPU with 512kB and 64kB RAM. The embedded 2.4GHz transceiver supports Bluetooth low energy, ANT and proprietary 2.4 GHz protocol stack. It is on air compatible with the nRF51 Series, nRF24L and nRF24AP Series products from Nordic Semiconductor.

MDBT42Q Specifications:

  • Multi-protocol 2.4GHz radio
  • 32-bit ARM Cortex – M4F processor
  • 512KB flash programmed memory and 64KB RAM
  • Software stacks available as downloads
  • Application development independent from protocol stack
  • On-air compatible with nRF51, nRF24AP and nRF24L series
  • Programmable output power from +4dBm to -20dBm
  • RAM mapped FIFOs using EasyDMA
  • Dynamic on-air payload length up to 256 bytes
  • Flexible and configurable 32 pin GPIO
  • Simple ON / OFF global power mode
  • Full set of digital interface all with Easy DMA including:
  • 3 x Hardware SPI master ; 3 x Hardware SPI slave
  • 2 x two-wire master ; 2 x two-wire slave
  • 1 x UART (CTS / RTS)
  • PDM for digital microphone
  • I2S for audio
  • 12-bit / 200KSPS ADC
  • 128-bit AES ECB / CCM / AAR co-processor
  • Lowe cost external crystal 32MHz ± 40ppm for Bluetooth ; ± 50ppm for ANT Plus
  • Lowe power 32MHz crystal and RC oscillators
  • Wide supply voltage range 1.7V to 3.6V
  • On-chip DC/DC buck converter
  • Individual power management for all peripherals
  • Timer counter
  • 3 x 24-bit RTC
  • NFC-A tag interface for OOB pairing
  • RoHS and REACH compliant

pcb

This BLE module can be used in a wide range of applications, such as Internet of Things (IoT), Personal Area Networks, Interactive entertainment devices, Beacons, A4WP wireless chargers and devices, Remote control toys, and computer peripherals and I/O devices.

Full specifications, datasheet, and product documents are available at seeedstudio store, it can be backordered for only $10.

PureModules, IoT Building Blocks

New range of building blocks for IoT development are just out there! Just like LEGO, PUREmodules by Pure Engineering are the building blocks for IoT connected smart sensors where there is no need to solder, using breadboard or wires. It’s all done just by snapping the modules together and writing some lines of code.

original

The modules that are already designed are:

  • COREModule
  • SUPER SENSOR module
  • General Purpose IO modules via I2C Expanders
  • I2C ADC and DAC modules
  • Energy Harvesting Modules
  • Low power chemical Sensors
  • PIN diode Radiation Detector Module
  • I2C thermal camera modules
  • Dual I2C DC motor Module
  • GPS and IMU Module
  • Long Range LoRa RF modules (10+ miles)
  • Li-Ion and other Power modules
  • Ethernet Module
  • Low Power LCD module
  • User IO button and LED modules
  • Multiple Core modules; CC2650, EFM32, ESP32 and more.
  • Adapter modules to other sensor systems such as Grove and LittleBits
  • Adapters to popular platforms such as Arduino and Raspberry Pi.

Only COREmodule and SUPER SENSOR module are live now in the Kickstarter campaign that Pure Engineering has launched, check the campaign video:

COREmodule

The brain of other modules based on nRF52832 SOC. It is compatible with Arduino and a number of other open source frameworks, it has an onboard antenna and able to update its firmware over the air. Also it supports these IoT operating systems: Mynewt, Zephyr, Contiki OS, RIOT-OS, and mbed OS.

puremodules-internet-of-things-building-blocks

SUPER SENSOR module

This multi function sensor can be used in home automation and monitoring, health tracking, and industrial measurement. It contains the following embedded sensors: barometric pressure, humidity, temperature, accelerometer, magnetometer, UVA UVB, RGB, IR, and heart rate pulse oximetry.

526b08edc29e47c86e921a0a849389af_original

PUREmodules goal is to simplify IoT development for hackers, tinkerers and designers and to propose a new easy way of interaction and control everything through the Internet. More details can be found at the official website and the Kickstarter campaign. You can pre-order a COREmodule and SUPER SENSOR for $59 as an early bird pledge.

FiPy, The Future IoT Module

The hardware startup Pycom have been working hard to create a fast-develop-and-connect hardware portfolio, a portal and gathered enough developer manpower to unleash the IoT growth potential. Pycom has just launched its newest product: FiPy!

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FiPy is the new IoT module that connects your device to other networks. According to what the company describes, it is the most comprehensive solution, unifying LTE with other proprietary or unlicensed LPWA technologies into a single, five-network IoT connectivity solution.

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“In addition to WiFi, BLE, LoRa and Sigfox, we’ve added the latest cellular technology for IoT: LTE-M. But, we didn’t just go for one frequency type either. Nope, we partnered with the leaders in their field, Sequans, and are now proud to confirm that our module will have both CAT NB1 and CAT M1.”

The board specifications

  • ESP32-based – Espressif ESP32 SoC
  • Dual processor and WiFi+Bluetooth radio system on chip
  • Supports 5 networks: WiFi, BLE, cellular LTE-CATM1/M2(NBIoT), LoRa, and Sigfox
  • RTC running @ 32KHz
  • Size: 55 x 20 x 3.5 mm
  • Micropython enabled
  • Pymakr and Pymate compatible
  • All your apps from WiPy, LoPy and SiPy will work on FiPy too
  • Open source firmware

Pycom is redefining IoT with this brand new module! FiPy gives access to all the world’s LPWAN networks on one tiny board. It is now live on Kickstarter, check the campaign video:

You can pre-order your FiPy now for $39, the campaign still has 23 days to go and it has already achieved double of its goal. More information about FiPy plus its sensors and accessories check the crowdfunding campaign and the official website.

BLE Carbon, The New $28 IoT Edition SBC

Linaro, a collaborative engineering organization consolidating and optimizing open source software and tools for the ARM architecture, is bringing together industry and the open source community to work on key projects, reduce industry wide fragmentation, and provide common software foundations for all. During the last Linaro Connect event at Las Vegas, a new BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) product had been debuted!

The BLE Carbon is joint efforts by Linaro, 96Boards, and Seeedstudio, aims to provide economic and compact BLE solutions for IoT projects.Carbon is the first board to be certified 96Boards IoT Edition compatible that targets the Internet of Things (IoT) and Embedded segments.

While 96Boards, the open hardware standardization group, has an IoT Edition (IE) specification for low-cost ARM Cortex-A and Cortex-M development boards, it also has another two: the Consumer Edition (CE), the Enterprise Edition (EE).

Although Linaro and 96Boards named this board “Carbon”, Seeedstudio choose “BLE Carbon” which may reveal some future plans to produce other editions with the same technology.

BLE Carbon
BLE Carbon

Carbon has a Cortex-M4 chip, 512KB onboard flash, built in Bluetooth, and a 30-pin low speed expansion header capable of up to 3.3V digital and analog GPIO. Moreover, Carbon is the first SBC (Single Board Computer) to run the Linux Foundation’s Intel-backed Zephyr OS which is an open source, small, scalable, real-time OS for use on resource-constrained systems and IoT devices. A technical overview of Zephyr is available in this video.

The 60 x 30mm SBC preloaded with Zephyr RTOS runs on ST’s STM32F401 microcontroller. It also features two micro-USB ports, one of which is used for power, and has the required 30-pin low-speed connector. Analog pins and debug connectors are also onboard. In addition to 6x LEDs, reset, and boot buttons.

BLE Carbon Pin Assignments
BLE Carbon Pin Assignments

Here are BLE Carbon full specifications:

  • Processor — ST STM32F401 (1x Cortex-M4 @ up to 84MHz)
  • Memory (via STM32F401) — 96KB RAM; 512KB flash
  • Wireless — Bluetooth LE (2.4GHz nRF51822); chip antenna
  • Other I/O:
    • 2x micro-USB ports (1x for power)
    • 6x analog pins
    • SWD debug connectors
    • 30-pin (2 x 15-pin 2.54mm pitch) low-speed expansion connector (+3.3V, +5V, VCC, GND, UART, I2C, SPI, 4x GPIO)
  • Other features — 6x LEDs (UART Tx and Rx, power, BT, 2x user); reset and boot buttons
  • Power — Micro-USB based with fuse protect; 3.3V digital out; 0-3.3V analog in
  • Dimensions — 60 x 30mm
  • Operating system — Zephyr

How to use BLE Carbon

Here are what you need to start setting up the board:

  • USB to MicroUSB cable (x2)
    • This is needed for serial console interface and USB-OTG (including DFU support)
  • Switches
    • Two switches are provided: RST to reset the STM32F401 chip, BOOT0 to enter the STM32F4 bootloader
  • Pin headers (unpopulated)
    • Tx/Rx UART for STM32F4 chip
    • 5-pin SWD interface to STM32F4 chip
    • BOOT0 and BOOT1 lines exposed
    • 5-pin SWD interface to nRF51 chip

To start the board for the first time just connect the micro-USB cable to supply power to the Carbon. The board will begin to boot Zephyr immediately. You can use either of the micro-USB ports to power the Carbon. Currently, Linux is the only supporting host system for Carbon while Windows and Mac OS support is coming soon. Some Linux host applications are available here.

The BLE Carbon SBC can be pre-ordered from SeedStudio  for $27.95. More details about Carbon can be reached at BLE Carbon wiki and 96Boards full documentation.

Via: HackerBoards.com

Everything You Need To Know About Bluetooth beacons in A White Paper

Image courtesy of Google

Bluetooth 4.0 introduced the Bluetooth low energy (BLE), which is a version of Bluetooth protocol designed for devices with power constraints like battery powered sensors. Bluetooth low energy beacons are BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) enabled devices, they repeatedly broadcast radio signals to nearby smartphones, containing a small amount of data.
Mobile apps can listen to the signals being broadcast and trigger an action after analyzing beacon’s information.

Beacons are used for proximity-aware applications like positioning and navigation indoors like anti-lost tracking tags, another application is for location based advertisements.

There is no official Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) beacon standard, so beacons have pseudo-standards. For example, iBeacon standard is used by Apple and Eddystone is used for Google.

Apple iBeacon Advertising Packet
Apple iBeacon Advertising Packet

As you can see in the above image, there is one byte (power) value indicating the iBeacon’s calibrated output power in dBm measured at a distance of 1 meter.
So Beacons can be used to calculate the proximity distance between the beacon and the receiver of beacon’s information. This calculation relies on a comparison of a Received Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI) to a beacon’s transmit (Tx) power to approximate the distance to the beacon.
The calculated distance can’t be very accurate, since RF signals fade unpredictably according to real-world environmental factors like walls. Future versions of BLE will solve this by using Angle-of-Arrival (AoA) and Angle-of-Departure (AoD) which allow a multi-antenna Bluetooth device to accurately determine the spatial location of another Bluetooth device.

Beacons typically use non-connectable advertising, providing all of useful information in the advertising packet itself. So the radio can be shut off immediately after advertising hence this will save power.

A white paper from Silicon Labs covers a lot of informations about Beacons. The paper examines beacon applications, provides a short description of how BLE work, contains further description of iBeacon and Eddystone standards and highlights SoC solutions for BLE from Silicon Labs such as BLE112 and BLE113 which can have fully standalone applications through a simple scripting language called BGScript developed by Silicon Labs.

BGScript iBeacon example code for the BGM111 Bluetooth low energy module
BGScript iBeacon example code for the BGM111 Bluetooth low energy module

References:

Developing Beacons with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) Technology

Beacons: Everything you need to know

Reading “Getting Started with Bluetooth Low Energy by Kevin Townsend, Carles Cufí, Akiba, and Robert Davidson (O’Reilly)” is advisable for anyone like to know more about who BLE works which is a corner stone to understand how beacons work.

Using Bluetooth LE in Products

Jone Teel over Makezine walked through how to use BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy ), aka Bluetooth smart, in an electronic product.

BLE, unlike classic Bluetooth, it’s not designed for big data transmission or streaming audio or video. BLE comes in SoC (System on Chip) ICs which combine a RF transceiver and a microcontroller running the Bluetooth stack (firmware) all in a single chip but you can still have the transceiver alone and run the software stack firmware on your processor.

Possible Hardware Configuration in BLE Solutions - Getting Started with Bluetooth Low Energy by Kevin Townsend, Carles Cufí, Akiba, and Robert Davidson (O’Reilly)
Possible Hardware Configuration in BLE Solutions – Getting Started with Bluetooth Low Energy by Kevin Townsend, Carles Cufí, Akiba, and Robert Davidson (O’Reilly)

According to Jone, the software stack of Bluetooth Classic must be purchased separately and costs at least $10,000 USD plus a per unit licensing fee for every unit sold. Now, BLE SoC makers provide the software stack free in most cases. For example, Nordic Semiconductors provides the software stack S110, S120 and S130 SoftDevice for free.

most popular BLE chip solutions - Makezine
most popular BLE chip solutions – Makezine

 

Jone advises to use ready made BLE modules rather than chips and this will reduce the costs required for FCC certification and eliminate the need for antenna tuning.

Jone ends his article talking about the Antenna design solutions using a ceramic antenna or a trace antenna on PCB.

Via: Makezine

RedBear Duo: A small and powerful Wi-Fi + BLE IoT board

RedBear_Duo

A thumb-sized, Particle-powered, Cloud-connected IoT board with Wi-Fi + BLE that supports Arduino, JavaScript and soon Python too!

The Duo is a thumb-size development board designed to simplify the process of building Internet of Things (IoT) products. The Duo provides everything you need—Wi-Fi, BLE and a powerful Cloud backend, all in a compact form factor that makes it ideal for your first prototype, a finished product, and everything in between.

We’re also introducing the RBLink, an expansion board for the Duo that allows you to attach additional sensors and modules without any soldering. You’ll have all the tools you need to get your prototype up and running in no time.

RedBear Duo: A small and powerful Wi-Fi + BLE IoT board – [Link]