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Nordic's RFduino supports Bluetooth 4.0 app prototyping

Posted: 18 Mar 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Arduino? RF board? Bluetooth? smartphone? tablets?

Wireless start-up Open Source RF has released the RFduino board based on the nRF51822 Bluetooth system-chip from Oslo-based Nordic Semiconductor. The board is said to enable students, amateurs and professional engineers develop applications that can be controlled from a Bluetooth v4.0 compatible smartphone or tablet computer at low cost.

The development of the Arduino-compatible board has been funded under the Kickstarter program since the formation of Open Source RF in 2012. Arduino is an open-source electronic prototyping platform based on standardised microcontroller boards.

The announcement of RFarduino comes alongside a number of similar developments including the launch of the Myriad-RF organisation by Lime Microsystems and the BladeRF board by Nuand. (See Lime creates open-source RF hardware project.)

Arduino already has ZigBee-compatible boards but Nordic claims RFduino is the first Arduino-compatble board that can communicate wirelessly with Bluetooth v4.0 compatible smartphones and tablet computers. The board includes a Bluetooth module, the RFD51822, made by RF Digital that includes the Nordic silicon.

The board can make use of the 32bit Cortex-M0 core that is present within the nRF51822, a chip which operates at 2.4GHz and has been passed as FCC- and CE-complaint. Developers can use the nRF51 software development kit from Nordic to develop prototype applications.

Open Source RF supplies source code for a number of demonstrator applications including LED lighting control, temperature sensors, house plant watering sensors, proximity and motion sensors, relay switches, audio controls, robotics, theatrical props and special effects, sound, light or button-press detectors, and various home automation and control devices.

Open Source RF also offers a series of stackable accessory boards that can plug into stand-off connectors. The accessory boards include a USB power and programming board, RGB LED indicator and push-button board, quad servo controller board, generic prototyping board, single AAA battery board, dual AAA battery board, and a CR2032 coin-cell battery board.

No price is given for the board but it appears that boards will be shipped to backers of Open Source RF on A $49 pledge of support plus $10 for shipping outside the United States secures the promise of an RFduino board plus a USB accessory board and a LED/pushbutton accessory board.

Armen Kazanchian, the founder of Open Source RF founder, said that the advent of Bluetooth low energy has revolutionized the wireless market by offering smartphone and tablet connectivity as standard at no additional cost.

- Peter Clarke
??EE Times

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