Smart sports bra offers ANT+, Bluetooth low energy, and legacy wireless connectivity to provide accurate heart rate data to female athletes

Mi Pulse Smart Bra uses Nordic Semiconductor’s nRF51422 multiprotocol SoC to enable heart rate tracking on virtually any fitness monitoring device

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that Mi Pulse, a Boulder, CO-based smart clothing company has launched the “Mi Pulse Smart Bra”, an integrated sports bra and heart rate strap offering ANT+ and Bluetooth® low energy (previously known as Bluetooth Smart) wireless connectivity using the unique multi-protocol support of Nordic’s nRF51422 System-on-Chip (SoC). The product also offers support for legacy 5.3kHz analog connectivity found in the majority of gym equipment

The Mi Pulse Smart Bra is said to be the first commercially available ‘smart bra’ for female athletes integrating a ‘tri-mode’ heart rate monitor (HRM) into the bra itself. Constructed from advanced conductive smart fabric, the bras are available in a range of sizes and styles and provide both comfort and durability to the user while maintaining sensor accuracy. The removable ‘snap-on’ HRM can be freely swapped between bras.

The nRF51422 SoC integrates a 32-bit ARM® Cortex™ M0 microcontroller, 2.4GHz radio, 256kB/128kB Flash memory, and 32kB/16kB RAM on a single chip. The powerful, highly flexible multi-protocol device ensures interoperability between the Mi Pulse Smart Bra and iOS and Android smartphones, sports and smart watches, bike computers, and gym equipment employing either ANT+, Bluetooth low energy, or analog 5.3kHz connectivity. The Smart Bra works with all leading app vendors including Garmin, Suunto, Strava, MapMyFitness, Runtastic, Wahoo Fitness, Google Fit, and Apple Health, as well as a range of other apps that support heart rate information.

The Mi Pulse Smart Bra is powered by a CR2032 coin cell battery. Battery life is dependent on the duration and frequency of exercise, and the number of devices the HRM is connected to at one time, but in normal operation the cell provides power for more than nine months, thanks, in part, to the ultra low consumption of the nRF51422.

“Our demographic wants our product to ‘just work’ and they shouldn’t be concerned with the complexity of RF protocols or need to revert to owner’s manuals. Simple wins every time,” says Mi Pulse Co-Founder, Hilary Taylor. “Wireless is all about ease of use and mobility. A key advantage of the product is that there’s no need to worry about charging batteries as our HRM works for many months from a single cell.

“After evaluating many ANT+ and Bluetooth low energy suppliers, we found the Nordic solution provided the best performance and price, plus a development environment that allowed us to get to market faster, without having to spend time and money on certifications, protocol development, and other components that don’t differentiate us in the market,” says Taylor.

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