Bluetooth LE wearable gives musicians intuitive control of their performance
Genki Instruments’ Wave uses Nordic’s nRF52832 SoC to turn hand gestures into low latency wireless instrument control
Nordic Semiconductor today announces that Reykjavik, Iceland-based startup, Genki Instruments, has selected Nordic’s nRF52832 Bluetooth® Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) multiprotocol System-on-Chip (SoC) to deliver the processing power and wireless connectivity for its ‘Wave’ wearable. Wave is a gesture-controlled smart ring that can communicate with and control a range of devices via MIDI over Bluetooth LE.
MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) is a technical standard that describes a communications protocol, digital interface, and electrical connectors that connect a wide variety of electronic musical instruments, computers, and related audio devices for playing, editing, and recording music.
Designed for producers, composers, or performers, Wave is worn on the finger and alongside the Nordic SoC integrates a nine-degrees-of-freedom (9DoF) inertial measurement unit (IMU) to detect distinct hand gestures, enabling the user to control their instruments or Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) wirelessly. For example, by moving their hand horizontally or vertically the musician can control reverb or resonance, while tapping a surface can trigger a kick drum or play a sample. The smart ring also includes pushbuttons that can be user-configured to begin playback or switch between presets, for example.
Nordic stood out as a company with an honest and upfront culture – Ólafur Bogason, Genki Instruments
MIDI over Bluetooth LE
In addition to providing low latency MIDI over Bluetooth LE wireless connectivity between the device and the instrument control, the nRF52832 SoC’s 64MHz 32-bit Arm® Cortex® M4 processor is responsible for running Genki Instrument’s proprietary firmware. The processor is designed to support the Floating Point (FP) and Digital Signal Processing (DSP) computations typical of high-end wireless applications. Wave’s MacOS and Windows 10 compatible companion software, ‘Softwave’, lets users combine and customize the device’s functions into presets to fit their individual setup. Several presets can also be stored as “preset banks” to mimic live shows or to enhance and speed up workflow.
Powered by a proprietary lithium battery, Wave provides up to 10 hours of continuous use between recharge, thanks in part to the ultra-low power characteristics of the Nordic SoC. The nRF52832 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 per cent compared with Nordic’s nRF51 Series SoCs.
Nordic’s nRF52832 multiprotocol SoC combines the Arm processor, with a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio (supporting Bluetooth 5.2, ANT™, and proprietary 2.4GHz RF protocol software) featuring -96dB RX sensitivity, with 512kB Flash memory and 64kB RAM. The SoC is supplied with Nordic’s S132 SoftDevice, a Bluetooth 5-certified RF software protocol stack for building advanced Bluetooth LE applications. The S132 SoftDevice features Central, Peripheral, Broadcaster and Observer Bluetooth LE roles, supports up to twenty connections, and enables concurrent role operation.
Superior development tools
“Nordic stood out as a company with an honest and upfront culture that resonated with our core values,” says Ólafur Bogason, CEO of Genki Instruments. “Also, where Nordic really shines is in its development tools, community, and support. The extensive SDK [Software Development Kit] and good documentation and examples helped tremendously when building the product, and still do today as we continue to update the firmware. The flow of information from Nordic is excellent.”