BLE Chip from STMicroelectronics Targets Connected Smart Things

A new-generation Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) System-on-Chip from STMicroelectronics is aimed at accelerating the spread of connected smart objects throughout homes, shopping areas, industry, toys and gaming, personal healthcare and infrastructure. ST sees important opportunities for BLE-connected applications that are simple, functionally focused, and can operate on a button cell for months or years. The new BlueNRG-2 chip meets all these needs with its extremely power-efficient programmable processor and low-power features including an ultra-frugal standby mode.


The high RF signal strength saves system power by ensuring reliable wireless communication, and generous on-chip memory for BLE software and application code simplifies system design by saving external memory components. BlueNRG-2 is Bluetooth 5.0-certified, which ensures interoperability with the latest generation of smartphones, and supports enhanced features such as state-of-the-art security, privacy, and extended packet length for faster data transfer.

Kickstarter to Build Solar Powered Robot for Weeding Gardens

Franklin Robotics has launched a Kickstarter to build Tertill: a solar-powered and weatherproof robot that weeds your garden every day. With Tertill, gardeners can now enjoy weed-free vegetable and flower gardens, without the monotony and frustration of weeding.  Organic gardeners can breathe easy and enjoy a weed-free, chemical-free garden all season long. Created by roboticist Joe Jones – inventor of the Roomba – Franklin Robotics’ Tertill is designed to live in your garden and take care of the weeding, come rain or shine.


Tertill lives in your garden and prevents weeds from becoming established.  Using unique design elements and a variety of sensors, Tertill patrols the garden daily, avoiding plants and obstacles while looking for weeds to eliminate. Tertill has a very simple method of distinguishing weeds from plants: weeds are short, plants are tall. A plant tall enough to touch the front of Tertill’s shell activates a sensor that makes the robot turn away. A plant short enough to pass under Tertill’s shell, though, activates a different sensor that turns on the weed cutter.


Tertill gets its power from the sun. When there is sunlight—even on cloudy days—Tertill’s solar cell converts the light into electricity. The robot stores the energy in a battery. You don’t need to charge or replace Tertill’s battery. Tertill uses its stored power smartly—during cloudy stretches, when less power is available, it patrols for weeds less often. Tertill is more aggressive during periods with more sun. Fortunately, weeds grow more slowly when they have less light.

Frankin Robotics

Protocol Analyzer Supports Bluetooth Low Energy

Saelig Co. recently announced the availability of Teledyne LeCroy’s BPA low-energy Bluetooth Protocol Analyzer. The portable, USB-powered protocol analyzer is well suited for use in both a lab and the field. The analyzer’s features, benefits, and specs:

  • Supports mandatory Bluetooth low-energy features through Bluetooth version 4.2
  • Includes Frontline software
  • Includes DecoderScript software that enables proprietary data to be fully decoded and displayed in the Frontline software along the other Bluetooth profiles and protocols
  • Compact size (3.5″ × 1.75″ × 0.71″)
  • Easy to set up and doesn’t require synchronization to devices

Saelig Teledyne bpa-analyzer

The BPA low energy Bluetooth Protocol Analyzer costs $995.

Saelig Co. |

FCC-Certified AMB2621 Bluetooth Smart Module

AMBER Wireless’s AMB2621 Bluetooth Smart module is certified for the United States and Canadian markets (Code of Federal Regulations, Title 47, Telecommunication Part 15 – Radio Frequency Devices). Manufacturers that use the wireless module in their products can gain time and cost benefits as a result because they don’t have to have them specifically certified with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Amber Wireless

The certifications for the AMB2621 module demonstrate the following: personal safety isn’t at risk, there’s good immunity against electromagnetic interference, and the radio spectrum is used efficiently. As a result, manufacturers can bring their devices to market quicker and without their own FCC certification. A simple reference on the device label is sufficient (i.e., FCC-ID R7TAMB2621 is integrated).

The AMB2621’s features, specs, and benefits:

  • 2.4 GHz BLE radio module
  • 11 × 8 × 1.8 mm size
  • Compliant with the Bluetooth Smart 4.2 Standard
  • Offered with or without an integrated antenna
  • Expands existing products with a BLE interface without having to be adapted in advance..

AMBER Wireless |

New Development Tool for Bluetooth 5

Nordic Semiconductor’s Bluetooth 5 developer solution for its nRF52840 SoC comprises the Nordic S140 v5.0 multi-role, concurrent protocol stack that brings Bluetooth 5’s long range and high throughput modes for immediate use to developers on the Nordic nRF52840 SoC. The Nordic nRF5 SDK offers application examples that implement this new long-range, high-throughput functionality. The existing Nordic nRF52832 SoC is also complemented with a Bluetooth 5 protocol stack.

Bluetooth 5’s high throughput mode offers not only new use cases for wearables and other applications, but also significantly improves user experience with Bluetooth products. Time on air is reduced and thus leads to faster more robust communication as well as reduced overall power consumption. In addition, with 2 Mbps, the prospect of audio over Bluetooth low energy is possible.
The new Preview Development Kit (nRF52840-PDK) is a versatile, single-board development tool for Bluetooth 5, Bluetooth low energy, ANT, 802.15.4m, and 2.4-GHz proprietary applications using the nRF52840 SoC. The kit is hardware compatible with the Arduino Uno Revision 3 standard, making it possible to use third-party-compatible shields. An NFC antenna can be connected to enable NFC tag functionality. The kit gives access to all I/O and interfaces via connectors and has four LEDs and four buttons which are user-programmable.

Nordic Semiconductor |

MediaTek Launches 4×4 802.11n/Bluetooth 5.0 System-on-Chip with Dedicated Wi-Fi Accelerator

MediaTek announced the world’s first 4×4 802.11n and Bluetooth 5.0 system-on-chip featuring a dedicated Wi-Fi network accelerator. The MediaTek MT7622 was created for premium networking devices including routers and repeaters, whole home Wi-Fi, and home automation gateways that pre-integrates audio and storage features. MediaTek also announced its next generation Wi-Fi low power chipset portfolio for connected smart home devices.

MediaTek’s new MT7622 SoC is a single platform for 4X4 dual-band and tri-band premium networking devices and introduces several best-in-class features including Bluetooth 5.0 and Hardware NAT, Hardware QoS and a dedicated Wi-Fi engine - MediaTek’s Wi-Fi Warp Accelerator. This eliminates bottlenecks by connecting the Gigabit+ class 802.11ac networking with multi-Gigabit internal pathways. It also features the ability to offload the CPU from multiple-users throughput and QoS calculations, all with lower power consumption. The end result is the ability to sustain high-performance for multiple, simultaneous heavy users.

“Based on MediaTek’s Adaptive Network technology, the MT7622 features easy setup, network self-healing, roaming, band steering, smart quality of service, and advanced security for whole home Wi-Fi,” says Alan Hsu, General Manager of Home Smart Device Business Unit, MediaTek. “For manufacturers looking for flexibility in the design of innovative networking devices, this chipset couples high performance and extensively integrated functionality.”

The MT7622, with the power a 1.35GHz rated, 64-bit dual-core ARM Cortex-A53 processor, provides a host of advanced connectivity options like SGMII/RGMII, PCIe, SATA and USB, and 4×4 802.11n FEM integration. To meet the growing demand for applications using audio and voice controls, the MT7622 includes essential audio interfaces such as I2S, TDM and S/PDIF. MT7622 also delivers a rich array of slow I/O in addition to the integrated Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Zigbee co-existence for home automation gateways.

New Generation Wi-Fi Portfolio
MediaTek also announced its next generation Wi-Fi chipset portfolio. The new MediaTek MT7686, MT7682, and MT5932 devices will deliver high levels of integration with low power consumption for all connected applications, including audio products. The product family consists of highly integrated single chip solutions featuring an application processor, a low-power 1T1R 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi subsystem and a Power Management Unit. The application processor subsystem contains ARM Cortex-M4 MCU with floating point unit (FPU). All three were designed with a focus on core principles essential to connected applications, including deep sleep, fast wake-up and reliable data connectivity.

“Our new generation of chipsets have been optimized  to deliver a 300 percent improvement in energy efficiency, as well as the ability for a device to re-establish a Wi-Fi connection within 0.1 seconds of waking from sleep mode,” says YuChuan Yang, Deputy General Manager of Internet of Things Business Unit, MediaTek.

The MT7682 features a low-power subsystem and fast connection and requires few external components to save porting cost. The MT7686 contains 4MB of embedded RAM and 4MB of embedded Flash memory that makes the chipset an ideal platform for rich data and storage applications. With Wafer Level Chip Scale Package (WL-CSP) technology, the MT5932 has a very compact 3.2 by 3.2mm footprint, saving BOM cost for space-constrained IoT applications.

The three chipsets offer a range of features to meet the needs of uses cases requiring varying levels of embedded memory. All include a number of peripherals, including: SDIO, UART, I2C, SPI, I2S, PWM and auxiliary ADC.

World’s Smallest Bluetooth Chip

The Swatch Group recently introduced the smallest Bluetooth chip on the market. Designed by EM Microelectronic, Swatch Group R & D, and the Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology (CSEM), the compact chip is well suited for portable devices and IoT applications.Swatch_005

The IC’s features, specs, and benefits:

  • Smallest Bluetooth chip on the market.
  • Low energy consumption
  • High-speed start-up capability
  • Officially qualified to meet the latest Bluetooth standard, version 5.0.
  • Consists of more than 5 million transistors on a surface of about 5 mm2.
  • Works alone or in conjunction with various sensors

Source: EM Microelectronic

Open-Source Bluetooth Low Energy Beacon

Nordic Semiconductor recently announced the availability on Kickstarter of a Nordic nRF52832 SoC-based Bluetooth low energy (BLE) beacon intended for Internet of Things (IoT) applications. You can program the Puck.js wirelessly from a website using a graphical editor or JavaScript instead of C or C++, which are traditionally used by Bluetooth low energy beacon developers.NS_PUCK Nordic

The open-source Puck.js supports both the iBeacon and Eddystone beacon formats and comes with firmware updates for the upcoming Bluetooth v5.0 specification. The circular 35-mm Puck.js has a silicone rubber cover and plastic base. Powered from a CR2032 coin cell battery, the Puck.js includes a magnetometer (digital compass), user-assignable tactile button, and four LEDs (red, green, blue, and infrared).

The Puck.js features an nRF52832 SoC, which means it benefits from a powerful ARM Cortex-M4F processor, 64-MHz clock speed, 64 KB of RAM, 512 KB of flash memory, built-in NFC, over-the-air firmware updates, a 12-bit ADC, timers, an SPI, a temperature sensor, and more.

Source: Nordic Semiconductor

Low-Power BLE Sensor Node for IoT Applications

Microchip Technology recently released a demonstration platform for the lowest-power Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) sensor node. The platform features an ultra-low-power BTLC1000-certified module, a SMART SAM L21 Cortex-M0+ MCU, Bosch sensor technology, and a complete software solution. The BLE demonstration platform includes source code, hardware design files, a user guide, and Android application source code.Microchip BLE Demo Platform

Features, benefits, and specs:

  • An integrated BTLC1000-MR110CA BLE module, delivering at least 30% more power savings compared to existing solutions.
  • An ultra-tiny 2.2 mm × 2.1 mm Wafer Level Chipscale Package (WLCP).
  • A SAM L21 that achieves a ULPBench score of 185, with power consumption down to 35 µA/MHz in active mode and 200 nA in sleep mode.
  • Bosch six-axis motion (BHI160) and environment (BME280) sensors that can be used for a wide variety of sensing applications.

The Ultra-Low-Power Connected Demonstrator Platform costs $39.

Source: Microchip Technology

Low-Power 12 DOF Bluetooth Smart Sensor Development Platform

Dialog Semiconductor now offers a small, low-power 12 Degrees-of-Freedom (DOF) wireless smart sensor development kit for Internet of Things (IoT) applications, such as wearables, virtual reality, 3-D indoor mapping, and navigation. The DA14583 SmartBond Bluetooth Smart SoC is combined with Bosch Sensortec’s gyroscope, accelerometer, magnetometer, and environmental sensors. A 16 mm × 15 mm PCB is supplied as a dongle in a plastic housing. Current consumption is only 1.3 mA (typical) when streaming sensor data; it’s less than 110 µA in advertising mode and under 11 µA in power-save mode.Dialog DS025

The complementary software development kit (SDK) includes Dialog’s SmartFusion smart sensor library for data acquisition, auto-calibration, and sensor data fusion. It runs on the DA14583’s embedded Cortex M0 processor. The DA14583 has an ARM Cortex-M0 baseband processor with an integrated ultra-low power Bluetooth Smart radio. The development kit includes the following Bosch sensors: a BMI160 six-axis inertial measurement unit, a BMM150 three-axis geomagnetic field sensor, and a BME280 integrated environmental unit, which measures pressure, temperature, and humidity.

Source: Dialog Semiconductor

Hexoskin Smart Shirt Integreates Cypress EZ-BLE PRoC Module

Hexoskin recently chose Cypress Semiconductor’s Bluetooth Smart-based EZ-BLE PRoC module for use in its Hexoskin Smart biometric-tracking shirts. Hexoskin Smart shirts feature sensors that track cardiac, respiratory, and activity data. The EZ-BLE PRoC module collects this data and pushes it to a mobile device for analysis via the free Hexoskin app or other fitness app. The module’s low power consumption more than doubles the Hexoskin’s battery life. The compact (10 mm × 10 mm × 1.8 mm) EZ-BLE PRoC module complies with wireless regulatory standards in the US, Canada, Europe, Japan, and Korea.Cypress EZ-BLE PRoC Module

The BLE Pioneer Development Kit gives you easy access to the Cypress Bluetooth Low Energy devices. It includes a USB Bluetooth Low Energy dongle that pairs with the CySmart master emulation tool, converting a designer’s Windows PC into a Bluetooth Low Energy debug environment. The EZ-BLE PRoC module can be quickly and easily evaluated with the EZ-BLE PRoC Module Evaluation Board, which plugs into the BLE Pioneer Development Kit ( $49).

Source: Cypress Semiconductor

Client Profile: LS Research

Since 1980, companies spanning a wide range of industries have trusted LSR to help develop solutions that exceed their customers’ expectations. LSR provides an unmatched suite of both embedded wireless products and integrated services that improve speed to market and return on your development investment.SaBLE-x-Ruler-V2-275x275

LSR’s SaBLE-x Bluetooth Smart module, based on TI’s new SimpleLink CC2640 MCU, offers industry-leading RF and power performance along with LSR’s renowned support and developer tools.

LSR’s TiWi-C-W is a stand-alone WLAN (IEEE 802.11 b/g/n) module that simplifies and accelerates the work of adding Wi-Fi connectivity to your products. The TiWi-C-W module is also a cloud agent for LSR’s end-to-end IoT platform, TiWiConnect.

LSR’s all-new SaBLE-x Bluetooth Smart module, based on TI’s new SimpleLink CC2640 MCU, offers industry-leading RF and power performance along with LSR’s renowned developer support and broad country certifications. The SaBLE-x can be utilized in either stand-alone mode or with an external host, and the SaBLE Tool Suite provides developers with intuitive tools that accelerates development time in integrating BLE into your products.

Win a FREE Development Kit for the SaBLE-x Bluetooth Smart module! Register to win and ONE Circuit Cellar reader will receive LSR’s SaBLE-x Development Kit ($199 value). Go to:

AIR Module Enabled by Broadcom’s WICED Smart Bluetooth Technology

Anaren’s Wireless Group announced the release of its first AIR for Wiced Smart Bluetooth module and Atmosphere on-line developer platform as part of a strategic engagement with Broadcom Corp. This new relationship advances the goal of both companies to support designers, innovators, and end-equipment manufacturers looking for intuitive, easy-to-use developer tools, like Atmosphere, that will simplify the challenge of going wireless and speed up their time to market.AnarenDevKit

In beta trials of its new module and Atmosphere tool, customers were able to get their product “proof of concept” running in 90 minutes or less. The small, low-cost module comes pre-certified to global standards and includes comprehensive technical support to the mass market group of customers.

The Anaren’s Bluetooth Smart Development Kit’s (A20737A-MSDK1) features and advantages include:

  • Broadcom’s BCM20737 SoC
  • A20737A AIR for WICED module
  • Pre-certified to FCC/IC and ETSI compliant
  • Low power consumption
  • Works in conjunction with Anaren’s online Atmosphere development tool.
  • Generates and loads embedded code on the Multi-Sensor Development Board and creates an app that can be loaded onto a Bluetooth Smart mobile device

Source: Anaren

CY8CKIT-042-BLE Bluetooth Low Energy Pioneer Kit

At just $49, Cypress Semiconductor’s CY8CKIT-042-BLE Bluetooth Low Energy Pioneer Kit is an affordable tool for creating BLE applications with a PSoC 4 and PRoC BLE devices. The kit supports system-level designs using the PSoC Creator IDE. It is compatible with Arduino shields hardware.IMG_20150106_080852956_HDR

The kit comprises:

  • BLE Pioneer Baseboard preloaded with CY8CKIT-142 PSoC 4 BLE module
  • CY5671 PRoC BLE Module
  • CY5670 – CySmart USB Dongle (BLE Dongle)
  • A quick start guide
  • USB Standard A-to-Mini-B cable
  • Four jumper wires (4 inches) and two proximity sensor wires (5 inches)
  • A coin cell (3-V CR2032)

Source:  Cypress Semiconductor

WiLink 8 Range of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Modules

Texas Instruments has announced the WiLink 8 combo connectivity modules to support Wi-Fi in the 2.4- and 5-GHz bands. The new highly integrated module family offers high throughput and extended industrial temperature range with integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The modules complement TI’s PurePath Wireless audio ICs and TI’s SimpleLink Wireless Network Processors.WiLink8TexasInstruments

WiLink 8 modules are well-suited for power-optimized designs for home and building automation, smart energy applications, wearables, and a variety of other IoT applications. The WiLink 8 modules and software are compatible and preintegrated with many processors, including TI’s Sitara processors.

The WiLink8 family offers 2.4 and 5 GHz versions that are pin-to-pin compatible. With integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, the WiLink 8 modules could be used for a variety of applications.


  • An extended temperature range of –40° to 85°C required for industrial applications
  • 5-GHz modules for high-performance solutions
  • Smart energy and home gateways, which offer Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and ZigBee coexistence, can manage multiple devices through Wi-Fi multi-channel multi-role (MCMR) capabilities
  • 1.4× the range and up to 100 Mbps throughput with TI’s WiLink 8 maximal ratio combining (MRC) and multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO) technology
  • Optimization for low-power applications with low idle connect current consumption
  • Audio streaming for home entertainment applications with both Wi-Fi and dual-mode Bluetooth/Bluetooth low energy

The WiLink 8 modules complement several TI platforms to deliver system solutions for manufacturers including WiLink 8 module-based evaluation boards (2.4 GHz-WL1835MODCOM8 and 5 GHz -WL1837MODCOM8) that are compatible with the AM335x EVM and AM437x EVM. Additionally, the WiLink 8 modules, which offer Bluetooth and Bluetooth low energy dual-mode technology, are compatible with TI’s Bluetooth portfolio that allows developers to create a complete end-to-end application.

WiLink 8 evaluation boards (WL1835MODCOM8 and WL1837MODCOM8) are currently available. WiLink 8 modules production units will be available in Q1 2015 through TI authorized distributors starting at $9.99 in 1,000-unit volumes.