Adafruit Shows Off Wireless CircuitPython Programming via Web Bluetooth

Demo requires a tweaked Google Chrome browser and an nRF52840 development board with native Bluetooth.

Adafruit's Lady Ada has shown off a new feature in CircuitPython: the ability to connect to selected development boards entirely wirelessly using Web Bluetooth.

"Let's show how you can use Web Bluetooth to wirelessly program Circuit Playground boards with [Nordic Semi] nRF52840 native Bluetooth," Lady Ada says in the short video demonstration, which takes place using an Adafruit CLUE board. "So press reset, and then press again when it's blinking to put into Bluetooth mode, and then request the device, [and] pair it."

"Now that we're connected, you see the REPL [shell] here? It's the same REPL here. As I type in this REPL this one echoes, so I can print stuff and it appears on the display. This is completely wirelessly connected. You can also do file management as well so it's pretty neat. This is all completely wireless, using Web Bluetooth you can use it with the latest version of CircuitPython using your nRF52840 native Bluetooth boards."

CircuitPython is now programmable using Web Bluetooth, as demonstrated in this video. (πŸ“Ή: Adafruit)

Web Bluetooth isn't a new technology β€” it was first introduced in 2014 by Google's Jeffrey Yaskin and Vincent Scheib β€” but its adoption has been slow. That's despite the promise of allowing web browsers to interact with Bluetooth devices through a simple application programming interface, which proponents like Martin Woolley, of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), say means the boundaries of the web have been "significantly extended to encompass the billions of Bluetooth devices that ship every year."

The CircuitPython Web Bluetooth Test demo has been published online, and requires a compatible nRF52840 development board plus a version of Google's Chrome browser with two optional configuration flags enabled.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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