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Smartwatch doubles as IoT device with Bluetooth

Posted: 18 Sep 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:wearable? smartwatch? IoT? low power? Bluetooth?

And at the higher end are the Toshiba TZ1001MBG and TZ1011MBG application processors, which integrate the Cortex-M4 processor core, and a Bluetooth LE controller plus RF circuitry, along with Flash memory and sensors.

While the TZ1001MBG integrates an accelerometer, the TZ1011MBG is expected to integrate a magnetometer and gyroscope in addition to an accelerometer. Use of the high-performance Cortex-M4 with DSP and floating-point unit (FPU) allows the combination of data from multiple sensors that are both internal and external to the chip. The processors also integrate a high-resolution ADC to convert signals from external devices such as pulse wave and electrocardiogram sensors into digital data.

Toshiba TZ1000

Figure 3: Block diagram of the Toshiba TZ1000.

Development platform

To aid rapid prototyping, product development, and innovation opportunities that wearables bring, it is essential to have easy access to the latest technology: ARM mbed ( is a key open-source platform for the development of Cortex-M series based products and applications and offers a host of development kits and boards along with free online tools and open source libraries.

The mbed platform enables developers to mix and match components such as MCUs, radios and sensors, and provides software stacks for wireless connectivity including Bluetooth LE among others such as WiFi and cellular. In addition, it also simplifies integration with IP (Internet Protocol) based services providing APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) for cloud services.

Licensed under the Apache 2.0 free software license, the mbed Software Development Kit (SDK) is an open-source C/C++ software platform. As well as being powerful enough to build complex projects, the mbed SDK also provides a hardware abstraction layer built on the low-level ARM CMSIS (Cortex Microcontroller Software Interface Standard) APIs.

These enable consistent and simple software interfaces to the processor for interface peripherals, real-time operating systems (RTOSes) and middleware, simplifying software re-use and reducing the learning curve for new developers.

Based on the industry-standard ARM professional C/C++ compiler, the web-based mbed compiler is a powerful online IDE (Integrated Development Environment) that is free for use with hardware that implements the mbed Hardware Development Kit (HDK). The mbed compiler also supports full export to different toolchains. In addition, the mbed component database has reusable libraries for a range of hardware that includes sensors, plus middleware and IoT services.

The mbed Hardware Development Kit (HDK) provides full MCU sub-system design files and firmware for building development boards and custom products. Development boards based on the HDK are usually the quickest way to get started with the mbed platform, which include Cortex-M based boards from leading semiconductor companies such as Freescale, NXP, ST and Nordic Semiconductor.

In particular, one key development kit for Bluetooth LE is the nRF51822-mKIT from Nordic, which is based on the above mentioned nRF51822 SoC and is the first mbed development platform specifically aimed at Bluetooth LE applications. The kit is fully compatible with the mbed Bluetooth LE APIs, simplifying use of the protocol stack, and a range of mbed software libraries. The combination of the nRF51822-mKIT, plus Bluetooth LE APIs via the ARM mbed ecosystem is an excellent example of a platform that enables a quick and easy start to wearable product development.

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