Pre-approved Bluetooth low energy module allows prototypes to be developed within hours

November 15, 2012 // By Paul Buckley
UK-based Laird Technologies, has developed a fully-approved programmable Bluetooth low energy module that enables developers to use BASIC language syntax to create Bluetooth low energy prototypes based on Nordic Semiconductor’s class-leading nRF51822 SoC in less than a day.

"Laird Technologies has been developing Bluetooth wireless technology modules for over 10 years, and our first Bluetooth low energy module draws on our vast experience," said Jonathan Kaye, Laird Technologies Embedded Wireless Solutions Product Manager. "The BL600 series module reduces a customer's development time by an average of six months and eliminates the need to become proficient in Bluetooth low energy wireless technology or obtain the necessary wireless certifications and approvals. Our embedded smartBASIC engine also provides our customers with their own personal Bluetooth low energy 'expert' built into every module."

The BL600 series surface mount module is about the size of an adult thumbnail (19 x 12.5 x 3 mm) and has a cubic volume that is less than that of a regular CR2032 coin cell battery. Requiring 2.1-3.6 volts of power, it is a standalone, hostless, programmable device that attaches to sensors via UART, SPI, I2C, or GPIO, with a small amount of code written in Laird's event-driven smartBASIC programming language. Data collected from a sensor can be sent to any device that is compatible with the latest Bluetooth v4.0 specification including smartphones, tablet computers, and local area network (LAN) or wide area network (WAN) gateways.

The BL600 series module features an integrated antenna or option for external antenna, and is said to provide a generous 95 dB link budget for maximum operating range. The module supports a variety of Bluetooth low energy profiles including Heart Rate, Thermometer, and Proximity profiles, plus custom profiles created using free development tools and Laird's smartBASIC programming language.

Laird's smartBASIC is an object-based language that can cover all Bluetooth low energy functionality for seamless bridging of sensors to Bluetooth low energy characteristic value attributes. After initializing the environment, a typical smartBASIC application waits for events that are serviced by user-written handlers. While the application waits for events, the module is in very low power mode consuming less than 10 µA of current