Nordic Semiconductor-powered Bluetooth low energy programmable sensors and actuators teach children basic programming and wireless technology skills

Plezmo platform allows children to build and program a wide range of intelligent devices employing Nordic’s next generation nRF52832 SoC to provide wireless connectivity

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that Pune, India-based technology start-up, Plezmo, has selected Nordic’s nRF52832 Bluetooth® low energy System-on-Chip (SoC) for its Plezmo platform of intelligent wireless devices, designed to teach children basic wireless technology and programming skills.

The Plezmo platform is comprised of a range of programmable sensors and actuators called ‘Elements’, including gesture, proximity, color, distance, and movement sensors, a speaker, display, button, and bulb, as well as speed and control motors. Each Element incorporates Nordic’s nRF52832 SoC to provide wireless connectivity between the Elements and ‘Plezmo Apps’ running on Bluetooth 4.0 (and later) iOS and Android smartphones and tablets.

In operation, Plezmo Elements are designed to work with everyday objects such as existing toys, cardboard-based creations, or whatever base material the user chooses. For example, if the user wants to build a Christmas tree that lights up and starts playing music when someone approaches, they could place Plezmo Bulb Elements in the tree, a Speaker Element under the tree, and a Proximity Sensor Element on a nearby wall. From Plezmo Apps on their smartphone or tablet they can then write a program that turns the bulbs on and starts playing music via the speaker when the proximity sensor detects someone nearby.

Plezmo Apps are an extensible platform that consists of apps running on iOS and Android mobile devices, as well as desktops. The Apps offer Visual Programming as the primary interface for coding, allowing users to simply drag-and-drop coding blocks to create a logical workflow and easily troubleshoot any problems with a built-in debug capability. Plezmo Apps also include a simulator that allows users to try out their ideas in the absence of any Elements, testing different workflows to perfect their logic.

The Plezmo Elements employ 3.7V Li-Poly batteries, providing between three and four hours of continuous use between recharges, thanks in part to the ultra low power consumption of the nRF52832 SoC. The nRF52832 SoC has been engineered to minimize power consumption with features such as the 2.4GHz radio’s 5.5mA peak RX/TX currents and a fully-automatic power management system that reduces power consumption by up to 80 percent compared with Nordic’s nRF51 Series SoCs. The result is a Bluetooth low energy solution which offers 90 CoreMark/mA, up to twice as power efficient as competing devices.

Nordic’s nRF52832 Bluetooth low energy (previously known as Bluetooth Smart) SoC, a member of Nordic’s sixth generation of ultra low power (ULP) wireless connectivity solutions, combines a 64MHz, 32-bit ARM® Cortex® M4F processor with a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio (fully compatible with Bluetooth 4.2, ANT™ and proprietary 2.4GHz RF software) featuring -96dB RX sensitivity, with 512kB Flash memory and 64kB RAM. When launched, the SoC was the world’s highest performance single-chip Bluetooth low energy solution, delivering up to 60 percent more generic processing power, offering 10 times the Floating Point performance and twice the DSP performance compared to competing solutions.

“When we were evaluating SoCs for our architecture we had a range of criteria and only the nRF52832 could match all the requirements,” says Plezmo Co-founder, Amol Palshikar. “We needed an SoC with the ability to interface with a broad range of sensor and actuator ICs, as well as a very power efficient platform in the smallest possible footprint. From a firmware development perspective, we needed an SoC with enough Flash and RAM to accommodate the feature-rich Elements, and an efficient Bluetooth low energy stack that allowed multiple concurrent roles.

“The combination of the nRF52832’s hardware capabilities coupled with the robust S132 SoftDevice protocol stack made Nordic an easy choice for Plezmo.”

The company will demonstrate the Plezmo platform on Saturday, January 7, 2017 on Nordic Semiconductor’s stand at CES 2017 in Las Vegas. The Plezmo platform will be commercially available in Q1 2017.

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