Arduino-Based Bluetooth LE Development Kit With iBeacons Potential

San Francisco start-up COIN recently announced the launch of a Bluetooth LE Arduino developer kit for all you geeks out there who would prefer to hack your own hardware than get in line for Estimote or other beacons.

While not yet launched, the kits will start shipping in December. The goal of the kits is to let hardware hackers create Bluetooth LE-powered beacons that can talk to an iOS device (and by extension, I assume, Bluetooth-LE capable Android phones).

The boards are only a few inches long, and come equipped with Sparkfun’s popular Arduino Mini Pro.

The added Bluetooth LE module includes:

  • BLE Chip: Texas Instruments CC2540 F128 (128K flash, 8K RAM)
  • Clocks: 32.768 crystal and 32 MHz oscillator
  • Antenna: Johanson 2450AT18A100E
  • Balun: Johanson 2450BM15A0002E impedance match from CC2540 to 50 ohm

The Non-Trivial Development of Beacons

COIN says that the kit’s a needed accessory because Bluetooth LE beacon development is “non-trivial”:

“…We have found that it is not trivial to create a new BLE device and get it to communicate with an iOS app. Chances are, if you want to do that today, you are likely to face the same challenges we did:

  • Schematics – How to wire things together
  • Layout – How to organize parts on a board
  • Manufacturing – How to get boards assembled in bulk
  • Code – How to establish communication from the BLE chip to the Arduino chip and to the iOS app”

The Benefits of Bluetooth LE

In the post announcing the kit, the good folks at COIN give us a handy reminder of the benefits of Bluetooth LE, highlighting its role on the Internet of Things:

“In the boom of the Internet of Things, BLE empowers innovation in building connected, smart devices. 

BLE consumes much less energy than its predecessors. Not only does it significantly extend the battery life of traditional Bluetooth devices, but it also enables wireless communication for a class of low-power devices that run on as little as coin-cell batteries. Needless to say, lower energy consumption leads to a more durable, efficient product.”

So drop you soldering irons and head over to their site – at $22.00 and with some fancy looking schematics thrown in, you can hack your own Bluetooth LE network.

5 Responses to “Arduino-Based Bluetooth LE Development Kit With iBeacons Potential”

  1. The FemtoduinoBLE is also available. It uses the BGLib Arduino library, does client and server config (Bluetooth LE), is most likely the smallest, can emulate a keyboard or mouse, and runs off of 3V

  2. hi, they just posted on the google group that they won’t be supporting iBeacon. so much for advertising iBeacon functionality in their dev kit video.


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