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Bluetooth Smart SDK

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 8:00am
MDT Staff

The nRF8001 Bluetooth Smart Arduino shield

Ultra-low power (ULP) RF specialist Nordic Semiconductor ASA today announces the immediate availability of the Bluetooth Smart Software Development Kit (SDK) for Arduino-based projects. The SDK is compatible with a range of Arduino, ChipKIT shields that employ the nRF8001 Bluetooth Smart connectivity device.

Since Arduino's inception in 2005, it has become an extremely popular, cost-effective platform for prototype development allowing users to get ideas up and running quickly. The technology, sometimes known as "Linux for embedded microcontrollers", is a range of hardware and software tools enabling engineers and non-engineers alike to develop engineering solutions to a wide range of everyday needs.

Currently over 300,000 Arduino boards have been produced and are supported by a wide range of 'shields' that enable a modular approach to prototyping. Shields perform individual or combined hardware tasks and can be connected to Arduino-compatible boards using the standard Arduino interface format. Shields are available from many manufacturers and fulfill tasks such as sensors, motor-driving circuitry, LCD display, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth wireless technology, and Ethernet among others.

The Bluetooth Smart SDK is a port of the existing SDK available for the nRF8001 Bluetooth Smart connectivity device. The Bluetooth Smart SDK is available as a repository on GitHub where subscribers can fork their own versions and make pull requests and contribute to further improve and expand the SDK.

Support for the SDK is available at the Nordic Developer Zone, a popular forum where developers using Nordic products can discuss solutions to challenges and share ideas.

The SDK contains many different examples including:

  • Human Interface Device (HID);
  • UART over Bluetooth low energy;
  • Heart Rate Monitor (HRM);
  • Temperature;
  • Proximity.

The software interface for the Bluetooth Smart SDK for Arduino has also been implemented on a variety of microcontrollers and microcontroller platforms such as ChipKIT, Maple, Teensy, mbed, and others. This wide coverage makes it easy to move a project that has been prototyped on the Arduino platform to platform and microcontroller of the engineer's choice.

The Bluetooth Smart SDK is complemented by the Bluetooth Smart BLE Arduino shield from Red Bear Lab. The BLE shield board complies to the Arduino form factor and contains all necessary circuitry to enable an Arduino project to start communicating with Bluetooth Smart Ready products such as an iPhone 4S or later, smartphones using Android 4.3 or later, OS X Mountain Lion and later, as well as Windows 8 and later.

"Arduino has grown steadily in popularity over recent years," says Thomas Bonnerud, Director of Product Management with Nordic Semiconductor. "It has provided a very accessible means to prototype quickly, simply and cost effectively. Its popularity is at the core of today's 'Maker movement'. New Bluetooth Smart products are appearing every day, often from relatively small new companies and start-ups. However, Arduino is not confined to start-ups and is also used as a means of rapidly prototyping ideas at a number of large organizations. With this SDK for Bluetooth Smart, Nordic is supporting the Arduino community in their development efforts with exciting new technology."

"Bluetooth Smart, also known as Bluetooth low energy, is a new technology and developers are keen to explore its possibilities. They are also seeking methods that allow fast prototyping and easier software development. Nordic Semiconductor has provided the necessary means to help these developers with the nRF8001 SDK for Arduino. It is a complete, open source, and free of charge. It is the easiest way to learn how Bluetooth low energy works. The tutorials that come with the SDK are a very nice introduction for Bluetooth Smart beginners," says Poon Yuk-Cheong, Chief Software Engineer, Red Bear Labs.

Ma Chi-Hung, CEO RedBearLab states "Nordic's Bluetooth low energy SDK for Arduino contains a lot of ready to deploy templates which demonstrate the inner working of common Bluetooth Smart application profiles like Human Input Device [HID] and Heart Rate Monitor [HRM]. These templates also provide a very easy starting point for users who want to produce and test their own Bluetooth Smart Services and Characteristics. This is a great step for Arduino providing as it does the first Bluetooth Smart SDK for Arduino.”

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