Nordic-powered modules allow fitness equipment OEMs to easily develop Bluetooth low energy and ANT+ smart products

Wahoo Fitness’ open platform GEM module employs multiprotocol nRF51422 SoC to provide wireless connectivity between fitness machines and smartphones

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that Atlanta, GA-based tech fitness company, Wahoo Fitness, has selected Nordic’s nRF51422 multiprotocol System-on-Chip (SoC) to provide Bluetooth® low energy (previously known as Bluetooth Smart) and ANT+ wireless connectivity for its open platform GEM Module. The module is designed for simple integration into OEM’s fitness equipment and other sports and fitness-related applications.

The GEM Module incorporates Wahoo Fitness’ CSAFE-based software stack, specifically designed to enable fitness machines such as treadmills, exercise bikes, ellipticals, and rowing machines to wirelessly communicate exercise data with iOS and Android smartphones and tablets. The completely open platform allows iOS and Android app developers to easily develop applications that connect and retrieve data from a Wahoo GEM-enabled fitness device. For applications other than fitness machines, developers can use Nordic’s nRF5 Software Development Kit (SDK) to create their own embedded application-specific software.

Based on Nordic’s nRF51422 multiprotocol SoC, the GEM Module has a 12.7 by 19.1 by 2.5mm form factor and offers a variety of peripheral interfaces including UART, SPI, I2C, ADC, and GPIO, as well as an integrated monopole chip antenna. Output power is adjustable up to +4dBm, with a sensitivity of -93dBm in Bluetooth low energy mode and -90dBm in ANT+ mode. It has a line of sight range of 100m. The module’s firmware can be updated over-the-air (OTA) using the Wahoo utility application or via the Serial Wire Debug interface.

“What makes the GEM unique is that all of the capabilities are integrated together in a single solution making it easy for equipment manufacturers to bring GEM-enabled equipment to market in significantly less time than if they had to create their own profile, write software to communicate with their console, and build compatible mobile applications,” says Tim Eskew, Wahoo Fitness Business Development Director. “And the GEM’s open API platform connects a GEM-enabled device to the entire Wahoo app ecosystem.”

The nRF51422 is a powerful, highly-flexible multiprotocol SoC ideally suited for ANT+ and Bluetooth low energy wireless applications. The nRF51422 integrates a 32-bit ARM® Cortex™ M0 microcontroller, 2.4GHz radio, 256kB/128kB Flash memory, and 32kB/16kB RAM on a single chip.

“What we like specifically for the gym-based applications is the nRF51422’s multiprotocol capability supporting ANT+ and Bluetooth low energy. Also its overall power consumption aligns with both battery and line-powered applications which we see as a good fit for the GEM,” says Eskew. “The available memory is plenty for us to run our onboard software and API layer, while the available peripherals also support all of our current uses cases in the gym for the GEM.”

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