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An easier path to IoT development with SensiBLE and Arduino

IoT Challenges

Typical project goals when developing IoT proof-of-concepts include high levels of functionality, reliability and ease-of-use. Achieving such ambitions in a timely, cost-effective manner demands that designers seek out solutions that deliver technical advantages when developing proof-of-concepts.

System-on-Modules like SensiBLE, from Israeli company SensiEDGE, provide a much easier path to IoT development.

SensiBLE is an industrial-grade customisable solution for those wanting to design IoT products without getting involved in hardware development or production logistics. It has a “hardware-ready” configuration with a wide range of sensors, along with Bluetooth LE 4.1 capabilities and a low-power ARM® 32-bit Cortex®-M4 CPU with FPU.

SensiBLE is cyber-protected by hardware link layer AES-128 encryption and decryption. Power can be supplied directly using a standard 3V watch battery, a pair of AAAs or another power source from 2 to 7V. All of this serves to simplify proof-of-concept for applications that include voice-to-text, activity recognition, wearable sensors or environmental applications.

What is SensiBLEduino?

SensiBLEduino is a new off-the-shelf product by SensiEDGE. Unlike other development kits that enable users to read inputs, toggle an LED, push a button or even read sensors, SensiBLEduino is taking IoT application design modules to the next level by making all these capabilities available in a tiny form factor with out-of-the-box connectivity to the cloud.

SensiBLE was added recently to the STM32duino Arduino Core and is supported by Arduino language and Arduino software (IDE). To build a real proof of concept with continuity through to final product, developers can combine the Arduino programming language and software with the STM32duino FP (Function Pack) and SensiBLE SIMBA-DKL development kit.

To date, more than 5,000 customers have purchased the SensiBLE cloud module or SensiBLEduino development kit. It has been the SoM (System on Module) of choice inside thousands of projects, from simple proof of concept to complex IoT products that have gone on to gain worldwide commercial success. A global community of makers – including hobbyists, programmers, artists, professionals and students – has flocked to this open-source solution, all looking to leverage benefits such as ease-of-use, speed and compact size.

SensiBLE was made possible through co-operation with the STMicroelectronics Partner programme, with the goal of lowering the barriers to rapid prototyping, as well as empowering students and entrepreneurs who may not have a background in electronics or firmware programming. Building electronic IoT products that require sensors, a microcontroller, communications capabilities and a battery in a small form factor – especially in wearable products requiring an ultra-small form factor – are very hard to design. Such a project can be extremely expensive and take a very long time to realise, typically from six months to two years. However, by using an off-the-shelf, hardware-ready SoM, developers can eliminate the complex logistics of component purchasing, production and long QA processes, thus gaining much faster access to market.

SensiBLE Duino

As soon as it reached a wider community, the SensiBLE SoM started adapting to new needs and challenges. From a simple 20x30mm form factor with coin battery, the product evolved to a second-generation SensiBLE v2.0 with longer and thinner 17x40 PCB, additional sensors and rechargeable battery for IoT, wearable, sports and industrial applications.

All SensiEDGE modules and development kits are completely open source, empowering users to make the most of existing open software from STMicroelectronics. This capability gives developers and entrepreneurs access to demos, examples, APIs and drivers to achieve their proof of concept faster, helping them re-use both code and electronics in their final products.

Why SensiBLEduino?

Thanks to its simple and accessible user experience, SensiBLE has been used in thousands of different projects and applications. For instance, teachers and students can use SensiBLEduino to build low-cost scientific instruments, prove chemistry and physics principles, or get started with programming and robotics. Its wide-ranging appeal means that designers and architects can build interactive prototypes, while musicians can use it to experiment with new instruments. Makers, of course, use it to build many of the projects exhibited at the Maker Faire, for example. In short, SensiBLEduino is a key tool for learning new things. Anyone – children, hobbyists, artists, programmers – can start tinkering just by following the step by step kit instructions, or sharing ideas online with other members of the Arduino community.

Arduino simplifies the process of working with microcontrollers, and it offers additional advantages over other systems for teachers, students and interested amateurs:

  • Inexpensive: SensiBLEduino boards are relatively inexpensive compared with other microcontroller platforms. The kit integrates many sensors as well as a powerful 32bit ARM Cortex-L4, yet it uses very low power. BLE connectivity and the coin battery can be replaced with any power sources for less than $70.

  • Cloud connected: the SensiBLEduino module is pre-programmed with demo firmware to visualise the data performance of sensors using the ST BLUEMS App and cloud services including IBM Watson, Microsoft Azure and Amazon AWS, as well as any generic MQTT protocol, thus giving the ability to connect to any cloud service.

  • Cross-platform: the Arduino software runs on Windows, Mac OSX and Linux operating systems.

  • Simple, clear programming environment: the Arduino Software (IDE) is easy-to-use for beginners, yet flexible enough for advanced users to take advantage of as well. For teachers, it's conveniently based on the Processing programming environment, so students learning to program in that environment will be familiar with how the Arduino IDE works.

  • Open source and extensible software: the Arduino software is published as an open-source tool, available for extension by experienced programmers. Users can add STM32duino-C code directly into Arduino programs if preferred.

How do I use Arduino?

See the Getting Started guide, and to support SensiBLEduino install the latest Function Pack. Any users looking for inspiration can visit the STM32duino forum, where they can connect with people who are asking questions and sharing technical information.

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