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."
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) — 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.