What Bluetooth Low Energy means for the IoT maker community

Connecting your microcontrollers to the internet #

There are alot of wireless standards aiming at lower-than-wifi power, zigbee, zwave, enotion to name a bunch,
but none of them have wide consumers application, making it difficult for us hackers and makers to play with them.

Like me, Bluetooth Low Energy came out of Nokia, an important innovator in mobile wireless technology.
It was renamed from Wibree to Bluetooth 4.0 when it was handed over to the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG),
which enabled it to follow in the footsteps of the popular bluetooth standard, despite being a totally different thing.

Designed from the ground up for super low battery consumption, it has successfuly made the bridge between
high end mobile phones and super low power gadgets. For us IoT folks, this means we have an enormously powerful
technology that enables us to connect our tiny gadgets to powerful consumer devices without any sort of middleman,
no cables, no expensive power hungry wifi controllers.

Look ma,… no cables #

My company airfy inc today launched its first smart home product on kickstarter that is aiming to be a consumer
ready product. But hackers never forget where they came from, so we made the whole thing as open as it can possibly get.

It’s a personal pleasure to announce that the entirety of our mobile app is open source and the hardware is
practically screaming for you to hack it. The open source realtime OS RIOT is being ported to it, although
you could probably run freertos as well (no really, RIOT is awesome, you want this).

We’ll also give you GPIOS, a ton of them. And SPI and I2C and you know what, we’re even giving you a powerrail
so you can glue sensors and stuff directly into the box and have them run off the internal batteries. I just
built a soil sensor for my plants that give me updates about their moist. The whole thing, … no wires.

End to end ipv6 #

At airfy, we are commited to the Internet of Things, and we litterally mean Internet. Like, real internet
reachable ip addresses for every single thing you build. Ping your moist sensor from your friends house, because you can.
BLE isn’t there yet, but we’re heading the right way, mowing down all the barricades for you.

How low is low power #

Our product is a cortex-m0, ‘nough said. The performance versus power consumption of arm is unmatched, while BLE
is its connecting companion with a datastream at full burst consuming as low as 300 microamps. That’s right, micro.
And standby, oh my, don’t get me started, like… below a microamp. It’s so good that the thing lasts years.

Hackin’ there slowly #

We’re going to get there, with your support. The Kickstarter campaign is our first consumer product, but also
the beginning of my teams journey to bring IP connectivity to makers all over the world.



Now read this

Building iBeacon applications on Android

This post is part of the series on working with beacons and mobile devices and was written by our CTO, Arvid E. Picciani (aep). Arvid is an ex-Nokia engineer, IoT pioneer, and self-proclaimed embedded devices hacker. Apple’s iBeacons are... Continue →