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Thursday, November 15, 2018

Coin-shaped development kit combines sensor fusion, voice capture and Bluetooth 5.0 mesh networking

By Nick Flaherty www.flaherty.co.uk

STMicroelectronics has launched a coin-sized development kit for nodes in the Internet of Things (IoT).

The BlueNRG-Tile is built around ST’s BlueNRG-2 Bluetooth low energy 5.0 single-mode system-on-chip (SoC) that provides control and processing power to a full complement of sensors, while also communicating via Bluetooth with a free iOS or Android demo app on a nearby smartphone. For multi-node applications, the BlueNRG-2 SoC, which is powered by an Arm Cortex-M0-core with up to 256KB of embedded flash memory, supports mesh networking up to 32k nodes, substantially extending the range of sensing and remote monitoring to any needs, from smart-home to large-scale industrial infrastructure.

Surrounding the BlueNRG-2 SoC, ST has packed a full-featured ultra-low-power sensor portfolio, which includes an accelerometer and gyroscope, a magnetometer, pressure, and humidity and temperature sensors, a microphone, and a FlightSense Time-of-Flight sensor. With a highly optimised sensor architecture, the BlueNRG-2 SoC specs just 900 nA sleep current (with full data retention) and full-system stand-by power as low as 25uA. More notably it also achieves ultra-fast wake-up capability, efficient execution of 9-axis inertial sensor fusion (running the ST MotionFX sensor-fusion code optimized for the Arm Cortex-M0) and streaming of real-time, low-latency data consuming just 1.4mA at 25 Hz.

The kit is accessed for programming and debugging through a motherboard that together with the tile/coin compose an Eval kit, offers a convenient on-board debugging and programming interface, multi-colour LED, and a configurable wake-up push-button. The Software Development Kit (SDK) comes with BlueNRG-Mesh networking library, MEMS sensor algorithms including 9-axis sensor fusion and event detection, voice-over-BLE code and a bunch of ready-to-go examples in source code. In addition, ST BLE Sensors and ST BLE Mesh apps, for iOS and Android smartphones and for both mesh and point-to-point networking, are available for download from the app stores.

The MEMS sensor and the highly integrated BlueNRG-2 SoC, together with a size-optimised RF balun, have allowed ST to squeeze the coin’s size down to 2.5cm diameter.

Sampling now, the STEVAL-BCN002V1B Evaluation kit contains a BlueNRG-Tile (STEVAL-BCN002V1) and an STEVAL-BCN002V1D programming board to program and debug the BlueNRG-Tile. The Eval kit costs 50 and includes the free-of-charge, user-friendly SDK. BlueNRG-Tile is powered by a CR2032 coin cell (not included).

Further information is available at www.st.com/blueNRG-tile-pr

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