Open-source Bluetooth sensor beacon offers "IoT for everyone"

July 14, 2016 // By Jean-Pierre Joosting
Finnish startup Ruuvi Innovations has successfully crowdfunded the first fully open-sourced Bluetooth Smart (Bluetooth 5 ready) sensor beacon. The device, RuuviTag, is claimed to be the only sensor beacon with a one kilometer open-air range and offers unlimited possibilities for makers, developers, Internet of Things (IoT) companies and educational institutions.

Further, the  company has decided to defy the status quo by releasing all of its sources to the public. There are currently several beacons in the market, but numerous key differentiators set the open-source RuuviTag apart, including:

  • Easy, stand-alone use: the devices can be used without any pre-installed apps;
  • Eddystone certified: RuuviTag is checked for full Eddystone support by Google engineers;
  • Arduino compatible: the software is compatible with Arduino's recently announced IoT platform, Arduino Primo;
  • Multiple sensors: to measure temperature, relative humidity, air pressure, altitude and acceleration;
  • Bluetooth 5 ready: the new Bluetooth release quadruples range, doubles speed, increases data broadcasting capacity by 800% and brings Bluetooth mesh networking to reality.

Other features include NFC (Near-Field-Communication) support, sleek design, completely open-source (both hardware and software), a calculated battery lifetime of up to 10 years.

“RuuviTag is IoT for everyone. There are many traditional beacon providers out there but the market needs more open-source IoT sensor solutions. That’s why we have released all our hardware design and software codes to the public.” says Lauri Jämsä, CEO of Ruuvi Innovations. “During the design process many world-leading Internet-of-Things pioneers gave valuable feedback to our development team. We’re thankful to Nordic Semiconductor and Google’s Physical Web team for their support of our project.”

One of the most impressive features of RuuviTag is its superior antenna design. Bluetooth’s maximum range is commonly known to be 100 meters. But RuuviTag’s open-air range has been proven to reach over 1 kilometer thus expanding the range 10 times the average expectation.

RuuviTag can be easily adjusted to cover different and various needs. For example, it can be used it as a remote weather station with readings that can be pulled up on a mobile phone without pre-installing a mobile app of any kind. Or attach one to a bicycle so the tag can notify the owner if someone moves it or tell it to broadcast a physical web