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REVIEWS Bluetooth

Bluno is Now Supported in embedXcode, and Here is the Review

DFRobot Jan 06 2014 439

Howdy, folks! While we were still reflecting on the past Xmas and New Year Eve, we happily received a test report following last month's Bluno Demo Kit Free Trial. The author, Rei Vilo from embeddedcomputing.weebly.com carefully wrote us a detailed report on the Bluno Kit, which is really a good piece of work and could help us a lot in later product design and development. Also, we are delighted to learn that Bluno is supported in the newly released embedXcode • New Release 122. Besides looking into the kit itself, he also ponders upon one feature that to be implemented:  How to upload the sketch using Bluetooth and get rid of the USB cable?

Here is what he said on the Bluno Demo Kit.


BLuno — BLE with Arduino Uno

The BLuno board sports the same form-factor as the original Arduino Uno, except it includes a Bluetooth Low Energy module, the CC2540 SoC from Texas Instruments.


 

As fully compatible with the Arduino Uno board, the board uses the original Arduino IDE, on Windows, Mac OS X or Linux. Sketches can be uploaded by USB cable. However, I didn't manage to upload them wirelessly through Bluetooth.All the Bluetooth connection is managed by the dedicated PlainProtocol library. Just download and install it as a standard Arduino library. DFRobot provides reference for simple and advanced usage. Thanks to its compatibility with the Arduino IDE, BLuno is fully supported by embedXcode, the template for embedded computing on Xcode.Picture



Accessory Shield

RFRobot has designed the Accessory Shield for the BLuno with a wide range of sensors and actuators, including:

  • a 128x64 OLED screen,
  • a buzzer,
  • a temperature and humidity sensor,
  • a 1.5A relay,
  • a potentiometer,
  • a RGB LED,
  • and a joystick.  
Picture


 

A remote application for smartphones is available to drive all the sensors and actuators through BLE, one for Android and the other for iOS. Unfortunately, the application isn't fully translated into English but the code source is available.The application allows to send a text to the display, control the red-green-blue LED, play the buzzer, switch the relay on and off, read the joystick commands, display the potentiometer value, acquire the temperature and relative humidity.Picture

Check that your phone supports Bluetooth 4.0 or BLE, for both hardware and software. BLE requires Android 4.3 or iOS 7:

Only the latest iPhones supports BLE, nominally the 4S, 5C and 5S. Source code is available:

  • BLuno Android source code
     
  • BLuno iOS App source code (iOS 7.0 or later)
  • BLuno iOS basic testing code with library
     

The temperature and relative humidity sensor in blue  and the display on the smartphone, through Bluetooth

Picture


 

An Affordable Introduction to the Web of Things

DFRobot has done a great job on making Bluetooth easy to use. Thank to the standard and well-known ATmega328P, the user has only to focus on the Bluetooth module and protocol.Now, the real challenge may lay on developing the iOS or Android applications. Step-by-step tutorials explain how to update the BLE firmware on the BLuno and how to configure the Bluetooth connection for Android-, OS X- and iOS-based devices. I ran though both procedures easily and successfully. The main board is sold USD35, a highly competitive price when compared with the standard Arduino Uno board sold at USD30. With the shield priced at USD25, the full package goes for USD60. The BLuno provides an affordable introduction to the Web of Things, here based on Bluetooth connectivity.Picture


 

 

Pros

  • Hardware and software fully compatible with Arduino Uno
  • Plug-and-Play application for Android and iPhone devices
  • embedXcode support

Cons

  • Still 8-bit MCU
  • ATmega328P not low-power

Wrap-Up

  • Perfect introduction to the Web of Things and Bluetooth connectivity
  • Well priced
  • Hardware and software fully compatible with Arduino
  • Check your smartphone supports both hardware and software BLE before!


 

 

Links

This platform is supported by embedXcode, embedded computing on Xcode.

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