I-SYST Targets Code-Free Bluetooth Education and the Internet of Things with the BlueIO832-Mini

Built around the Nordic nRF52832, the BlueIO832-Mini promises breadboard-friendly code-free development via a smartphone app.

Gareth Halfacree
1 year ago β€’ Internet of Things / HW101

Canadian Internet of Things (IoT) specialist I-SYST is preparing to launch a compact code-free Bluetooth communications development module based on the Nordic nRF52832 system-on-chip (SOC): the BlueIO832-Mini.

"BlueIO832-Mini and the free BlueIOWizard mobile app are an educational, open source Bluetooth kit, and the heart of the I-SYST BlueIO ecosystem," the company explains of the impending launch. "It lets you control and easily learn about your microcontrollers & electronics without needing to write complex firmware. Experiment with new sensors or other devices without writing any code, and go from proof of concept to product design in record time."

I-SYST aims to break down barriers to Bluetooth IoT development with the new BlueIO832-Mini. (πŸ“Ή: I-SYST)

The heart of the BlueIO832-Mini is Nordic's nRF52832, a chip that gives the device a 64MHz Arm Cortex-M4F processor core, between 32kB and 64kB of static RAM (SRAM), and 256kB to 512kB of flash memory, along with a radio capable of Bluetooth 5.3 with Bluetooth Mesh support and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) mode.

The SOC is mounted on a compact six-pin breadboard-friendly module, the precise functionality of which is configured in the board's companion app: all six can be used as general-purpose input/output (GPIO) pins with configurable pull-up/down resistors and pin sensing; there's a single UART configurable to 1M baud; an I2C bus operating at up to 400kbps; and an SPI bus running up to 8Mbps. There's also an analog-to-digital converter (ADC) configurable to 8, 10, or 12-bit resolution with one differential-mode and two independent channels, and an on-board RGB LED. The board even includes support for Near-Field Communication (NFC) β€” providing, that is, you acquire and attach an optional antenna.

It's the BlueIOWizard companion app, which is designed to make the board stand out from the competition, however. "This versatile Internet-of-Thing (IoT) framework enables users, from their mobile device (such as a smartphone), to remotely communicate with an electronics device through an easy plug-and-play interface," I-SYST claims. "Simply connect a sensor to BlueIO, select the sensor on the app and let them talk. After connecting to the target device via a desired serial interface, BlueIO832-Mini streams the data on that physical interface to the BlueIO mobile app over Bluetooth 5."

The BlueIO832-Mini isn't I-SYST's first crowdfunding communications module: back in November 2018 the company closed a successful funding campaign for the BLYST Nano, an ultra-tiny surface-mount module featuring an Arm Cortex-M4F processor, Bluetooth 5.0 with Bluetooth Mesh, and 30 GPIO pins; in July 2020 funding finished for its successor, the BLYST840, with Bluetooth 5.2, Thread, and Zigbee support plus a boost to 46 GPIO pins.

As with its previous designs, I-SYST is planning to crowdfund production of the BlueIO832-Mini via Crowd Supply, at an as-yet unannounced price point; schematics for the board are available as a PDF via Google Drive under an unspecified open source license; source code for the software library diving the project is available on GitHub under the permissive MIT license.

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