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Adero uses Nordic’s nRF52 Series SoCs

Adero uses Nordic’s nRF52 Series SoCs running Zephyr RTOS in its first intelligent organization product suite

Courtesy of Nordic Semiconductor : Adero uses Nordic’s nRF52 Series SoCs running Zephyr RTOS

Nordic and Adero collaborate on the Zephyr RTOS project and make available the world’s first open source, fully-qualified and production-ready Bluetooth Low Energy stack deployed in the ‘Adero Intelligent Organization’ product suite based on the nRF52840 and nRF52810 SoCs

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that its nRF52840 and nRF52810 Bluetooth® Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) System-on-Chip (SoCs) running Zephyr RTOS have been selected by Santa Barbara, CA-based Adero™ for its suite of intelligent organization products.

Nordic has been a member of the Zephyr™ project since 2016 and is present on both the Governing Board and Technical Steering Committee. Nordic developers have made extensive contributions to Zephyr since 2016, including the Bluetooth LE Link Layer and MCU Manager device management protocol for device firmware update (DFU), used by Adero in its ‘Intelligent Organization Starter and Deluxe Kits’, recently launched in the U.S. Due to the long term partnership and Nordic’s position in the Zephyr project, Nordic was well placed to work with Adero when they selected the Zephyr RTOS.

“We chose Zephyr as the RTOS for our product as this was the best future oriented platform and OS for our embedded product,” says Adrian Yanes, Vice President or Product Development at Adero. “We knew the nRF52 Series was strong on low power and overall performance, and selecting this came naturally as it really complemented Zephyr with its modest footprint, low overhead and overall performance.

“The already existing features in Zephyr, and Nordic’s ability to support us on some central elements like the open source Bluetooth stack, allowed us to focus most of our efforts on our application which was really critical to use during our product development.”

“Nordic routinely supports nRF52 Series SoC products to accelerate customer product development,” says Joel Stapleton, Technical Product Manager, Nordic Semiconductor. “Supporting the Zephyr RTOS and collaborating around an open source platform proved to be an effective way to focus our efforts where they made the biggest difference for the customer and allowed us to work openly and faster as a result.

“We saw that the unique expertise that exists in different organizations can come together to continually build a better solution for all users. For Nordic, the independence of the Zephyr project is a key advantage over alternative solutions for customers as it attracts the greatest diversity of supported platforms and developers. The Zephyr RTOS vision aligns closely with the product makers using Nordic devices, and Nordic is heavily involved in the project to help achieve that vision.

For Nordic, the independence of the Zephyr project is a key advantage over alternative solutions

Joel Stapleton, Nordic Semiconductor
“The configurability and performance of the Zephyr RTOS make it a best-in-class low power solution for memory constrained wireless SoCs. I would expect more product makers to leverage Zephyr for a scalable solution across their product range in the future.”

During the Adero project, Nordic integrated Mobile Device Management libraries into the intelligent organization application for iOS and Android, made improvements to low power timer integration with the RTOS, and qualified the Zephyr BLE Host while the Adero team were able to focus on product development. The Zephyr project and community benefited from Adero contributions including bug fixes and optimizations made in the course of their work.

According to Nordic, such collaborations are constantly increasing the contributor base for core platform components like the Zephyr RTOS kernel and native wireless protocol stacks. Each new user and development project are extending the features and functionality available, improving stability, and eliminating bugs.

“Time to market was a really important aspect for us when developing our product,” continues Adero’s Yanes. “Zephyr provides a rich set of RTOS APIs and a lot of native features that helped with that. By adopting an open source platform, we can also leverage features and improvements from other contributors, not just Nordic Semiconductor.

“This collaborative effort goes hand in hand with how we think embedded software should be written in 2018, and that is why we happily contribute improvements back to have a stronger platform now, and for future product development.”

As a result of the Nordic and Adero collaboration, the Zephyr project now includes the world’s first open-source, fully-qualified, and production-ready Bluetooth LE stack. Nordic’s qualification of the Bluetooth LE stack in Zephyr enables end-product makers such as Adero to launch Bluetooth products using the native Bluetooth LE support in the Zephyr RTOS. While Zephyr is not the only RTOS to include an open source Bluetooth LE Host or Link Layer, the Zephyr Bluetooth LE stack is the only one with all required components qualified and available as open source. A complete, qualified Bluetooth LE stack (consisting of a Host, Link Layer, and Physical layer) is needed to list an end product using Bluetooth technology. (Refer to the Zephyr Host QDID: 119517 and Link Layer QDID: 101395.)

“The Zephyr RTOS is a unique cross-architecture operating system and is a great fit for resource constrained, low power wireless system-on-chip use cases.,” says Kate Stewart, Senior Director of Strategic Programs for the Linux Foundation. “The Zephyr Project is neutral ground for product makers to collaborate on new features, as well as sharing best practices for safety and security.  The diverse membership includes leading silicon vendors, research institutions, product makers, and value-added service providers.   We are excited to see project members like Nordic Semiconductor collaborating with Adero and their contribution of valuable improvements and features back to the growing Zephyr community.”

Nordic’s nRF52 Series multiprotocol SoCs combine a powerful 64MHz Arm processor with a high performance, ultra-low power 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio (supporting Bluetooth 5, ANT™, Thread, ZigBee, and proprietary RF protocol software). The nRF52 series has up to 1024kB Flash memory and 256kB RAM, and when running the Zephyr RTOS, an end user can build advanced Bluetooth LE applications thanks to its Bluetooth 5-certifed protocol stack.

nRF91 Series cellular IoT module

Nordic Semiconductor rolls out its unique nRF91 Series cellular IoT module to all customers and makes cellular IoT accessible to any application

Courtesy of Nordic Semiconductor rolls out its unique nRF91 Series cellular IoT module

The nRF9160 – which will be available within the next 24 hours from major global distributors such as Digi-Key Electronics, Mouser Electronics, and Premier Farnell (amongst others) – is significantly smaller, lower power, and has more security features than any other cellular IoT module launched to date for both LTE-M and NB-IoT applications. It also has a host of unique IoT-targeted features, is certified for global operation, and is dramatically easier to design-in

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that the first nRF9160 System-in-Package (SiP) member of its nRF91® Series of cellular IoT modules will be available to all customers via its global distribution network within the next 24 hours. This includes Digi-Key Electronics, Mouser Electronics, and Premier Farnell (amongst others).

The nRF9160 has also received GCF certification—the trusted mobile communications industry ‘quality mark’ for compliance to the 3GPP LTE specification and global cellular network interoperability—along with separately required FCC and CE regulatory certifications. This means the nRF9160 SiP is approved for deployment in cellular networks and cellular IoT product applications around the world.

The general availability of the nRF9160 SiP will make cellular IoT wireless technology accessible to any application due to the unique ease with which the module can be designed-in. Prime examples include asset monitoring and tracking, utility metering, industrial (machinery) connectivity and predictive maintenance, smart city and infrastructure, agrotech (smart agriculture), and medical.

At just 10 x 16 x 1mm in size, the nRF9160 SiP is suitable for even compact wearable consumer and medical devices, yet is a complete solution that integrates everything a cellular connection and IoT application may need beyond requiring just an external battery, SIM, and antenna.

To achieve this ultra-high integration Nordic partnered with Qorvo to make a System-in-Package that more closely resembles an integrated chip than a module. The nRF9160 SiP leverages Qorvo’s state-of-the-art, proven RF front-end, advanced packaging, and MicroShield™ technology to deliver a unique, ultra-compact solution that combines high performance with low power consumption. The nRF9160 SiP supports global operation with a single SiP variant thanks to the combination of Nordic’s multimode LTE-M / NB-IoT modem, SAW-less transceiver, and a custom RF front-end solution from Qorvo.

In parallel, the nRF9160 SiP is the first cellular IoT module to incorporate Arm’s latest Arm Cortex M-33 CPU core. This is supported by 1MB of Flash and 256kB of RAM on-board memory. The nRF9160 SiP is also the first module to incorporate Arm’s state-of-the-art Arm TrustZone and Arm CryptoCell security for Internet-level encryption and application protection. Both these technologies are designed for highly energy-efficient embedded IoT products that require the highest levels of performance in processing, power consumption, and security.

The nRF9160 SiP has 1MB of Flash plus 256 kB of RAM on-board memory with a broad range peripheral set, analog and digital interfaces, 32 GPIOs, a stand-alone modem with full LTE capability, plus a multiband RF front-end.

Another unique feature of the nRF9160 SiP in the cellular IoT module market is integrated GPS support to allow a combination of GPS and cellular data to be used for more accurate positioning than either technology is capable of when used in isolation.

Nordic Semiconductor expanded the application-range of Bluetooth by abstracting away from the designer all unnecessary technical complexity. The pre-certified, ready-to-drop-in, LTE-M/NB-IoT nRF9160 SiP module promises to do the same for cellular IoT by taking a completely different approach to competing solutions

Peder Rand, Nordic Semiconductor’s Product Manager – Cellular IoT

“Nordic Semiconductor expanded the application-range of Bluetooth by abstracting away from the designer all unnecessary technical complexity,” comments Peder Rand, Nordic Semiconductor’s Product Manager – Cellular IoT. “The pre-certified, ready-to-drop-in, LTE-M/NB-IoT nRF9160 SiP module promises to do the same for cellular IoT by taking a completely different approach to competing solutions. And it’s now available to everyone.”

“Among its many unique IoT-targeted features, one of the most key is security which is of paramount importance to any IoT application,” adds John Leonard, Tactical Marketing Manager at Nordic Semiconductor. “Arm TrustZone means the nRF9160 SiP can have areas specified as trusted execution zones and non-trusted zones. This means critical aspects such as cryptographic elements and key storage, for example, will reside in trusted areas where the outside world cannot get direct access. Allied with the nRF9160 SiP’s Arm CryptoCell security, this module is without question the cellular IoT device with the most advanced security on the market today.”

“We are pleased with our strategic partnership with Nordic Semiconductor to bring this new category of cellular IoT solution to the market,” said Eric Creviston, President Mobile Products at Qorvo. “Qorvo is excited to see our leading RF and advanced packaging technology playing a key and enabling part of new products targeting the emerging low power cellular IoT market.”

The nRF9160 SiP is supported by—and all available now—a development kit, SiP module samples, LTE-M firmware, and an SDK with application example for cloud connectivity. This includes Nordic’s ‘nRF Connect for Cloud’ cloud-based device management tool and ‘nRF Connect for Desktop’ PC-based tool, plus support for Segger Embedded Studio. These are all designed to help give customers a flying start with sensor-to-cloud IoT applications.

NB-IoT and GPS functionality is in limited sampling and will be made available for evaluation through firmware updates during Q1 2019.

For full technical details on the nRF9160 SiP module please visit the Nordic website product page (see below).

How the world’s largest Bluetooth chip supplier came to be in cellular IoT

Nordic Semiconductor is best known for its leadership (both commercial and technological) in the global Bluetooth® chip market. The wide availability of the nRF9160 SiP module marks Nordic’s official – but brand new – entrance into the low power, cellular IoT wireless technology market.

Cellular is a notoriously complex wireless technology that only a handful of engineering teams worldwide truly have the expertise and experience to design at the architectural level. Nordic Semiconductor’s team all originated from outside the company when Nordic hired some of the smartest cellular R&D engineers in the world from a bout of rationalization layoffs in Finland between 2011 and 2014 from companies such as Nokia, Microsoft, Broadcom, and ST-Ericsson.

This means Nordic’s heritage in cellular wireless technology is on-par with any other company in the world: most of Nordic’s cellular IoT design team have been working in cellular design for most of their careers. And most importantly of all, all technical support for the nRF9160 SiP module will come from engineers that designed the product from the ground up.

About Qorvo
Qorvo (NASDAQ:QRVO) makes a better world possible by providing innovative Radio Frequency (RF) solutions at the center of connectivity. We combine product and technology leadership, systems-level expertise and global manufacturing scale to quickly solve our customers’ most complex technical challenges. Qorvo serves diverse high-growth segments of large global markets, including advanced wireless devices, wired and wireless networks and defense radar and communications. We also leverage unique competitive strengths to advance 5G networks, cloud computing, the Internet of Things, and other emerging applications that expand the global framework interconnecting people, places and things. Visit www.qorvo.com to learn how Qorvo connects the world.

Qorvo is a registered trademark of Qorvo, Inc. in the U.S. and in other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Bluetooth Low Energy wearable monitors

Bluetooth Low Energy wearable monitors heart rate, sleep, and activity data while supporting mesh network control of smart-home devices and secure payment functionality

Courtesy of Nordic Semiconductor : Bluetooth Low Energy wearable monitors heart rate, sleep, and activity data while supporting mesh network control

‘Lifesense Band 5’ employs Nordic’s nRF52840 SoC to act as the device’s central processor, managing sleep and motion sensor algorithm implementation, and enabling Bluetooth mesh networking

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that Zhongshan, China-based smart healthcare device developer, Guangdong Transtek Medical Electronics Co., Ltd. (Lifesense), has specified Nordic’s nRF52840 Bluetooth 5/Bluetooth® Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) advanced multiprotocol System-on-Chip (SoC) to provide the wireless connectivity and meet the intensive processing demands of its ‘Lifesense Band 5’.

Developed for the public health market, the Lifesense Band 5 wearable features a TFT LCD color display and integrates a Nordic SoC-supervised 3D accelerometer and heart rate sensor to track and record the user’s health and exercise data. It functions as a 24-hour dynamic heart rate monitor, sleep monitor, and activity tracker for steps taken, distance covered, calories burned, and activity duration. The nRF52840 SoC’s 64MHz, 32-bit Arm® Cortex® M4F processor acts as the device’s CPU, managing the sensor’s sleep and motion algorithm implementation and data storage management, as well as acting as the display driver, and providing Bluetooth mesh functionality, enabling the wearable to connect to, and control, mesh networked smart-home devices. The Lifesense Band 5 also supports offline payment by Alipay, a China-based mobile payment platform developed by e-commerce giant Alibaba.

Using Bluetooth LE low latency wireless connectivity provided by the Nordic SoC, health, exercise, and sleep data is synced to the user’s Bluetooth 4.0 (and later) smartphone or tablet, where the information can be reviewed via the Lifesense app. The app integrates sports training, weight management, and sleep monitoring, and is available in both iOS and Android versions.

The Lifesense Band 5 employs an 80mAh rechargeable lithium battery offering extended battery life, thanks in part, to the ultra low power operating characteristics of the Nordic nRF52840 SoC. The nRF52840 SoC has been engineered to minimize power consumption with a fully-automatic power management system that reduces power consumption by up to 80 percent compared with the nRF51 Series.

Battery life is a key factor for wristbands and bracelets, and along with the processor capability, memory capacity, Bluetooth mesh functionality, and support for multiprotocol implementation was the most important reason behind selecting the nRF52840 SoC

Shirley Xu, Lifesense

Nordic’s nRF52840 multiprotocol SoC is Nordic’s most advanced ultra low power wireless solution. The SoC supports complex Bluetooth 5/Bluetooth LE and other low-power wireless protocol applications that were previously not possible with a single-chip solution. The SoC combines the Arm processor with a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio with 1MB Flash memory and 256kB RAM. A new radio architecture with on-chip PA provides features -96-dBm RX sensitivity, a maximum output power of 8dBm, and a total link budget of >110dBm. The chip supports all the features of Bluetooth 5 (including 4x the range or 2x the raw data bandwidth (2Mbps)) compared with Bluetooth 4.2.

The Nordic SoC’s S140 SoftDevice—a Bluetooth 5-certified software protocol stack for building long range and high data throughput Bluetooth LE applications—offers concurrent Central, Peripheral, Broadcaster, and Observer Bluetooth LE roles and supports up to 20 connections with variable bandwidth.

“Battery life is a key factor for wristbands and bracelets, and along with the processor capability, memory capacity, Bluetooth mesh functionality, and support for multiprotocol implementation was the most important reason behind selecting the nRF52840 SoC,” says Shirley Xu, Project Manager, Lifesense.

“We are a long term partner of Nordic, and its application engineers always provide a fast response and excellent support helping us to solve problems quickly.”

Currant WiFi Smart Outlet

‘Currant WiFi Smart Outlet’ with Bluetooth Low Energy and Wi-Fi employs artificial intelligence to monitor and manage power usage and reduce energy costs

Courtesy of Nordic Semiconductor : Currant WiFi Smart Outlet with Bluetooth Low Energy and Wi-Fi employs artificial intelligence

The new smart outlet employs Nordic’s nRF52832 SoC to act as the device’s central processor and provide wireless connectivity to the user’s smartphone or tablet

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that Califronia-based smart home solutions company, Currant, has selected Nordic’s nRF52832 System-on-Chip (SoC) to provide the Bluetooth® Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) wireless connectivity for its ‘WiFi Smart Outlet’, a Bluetooth LE- and Wi-Fi-connected device employing artificial intelligence (AI) to enable users to monitor and manage their power usage, reduce energy consumption, and cut electricity costs.

In operation the user can plug any household appliance into the WiFi Smart Outlet, which in turn is plugged into any power outlet in the home. Once paired with a Bluetooth 4.0 (and later)-enabled smartphone or tablet using Bluetooth LE wireless connectivity provided by the Nordic SoC—or via a Wi-Fi connection—the user can immediately review their energy usage and costs by appliance, as well as create customized rules to manage their energy usage, via the iOS or Android ‘Currant app’. For example, the app can be used to switch on and off an appliance in a particular room at predetermined times. Wi-Fi connectivity enables the smart outlet to be monitored and controlled remotely via the Cloud when the user is away from home. At home, the user can use voice control to instruct Amazon Alexa or Google Home to operate a connected appliance.

The WiFi Smart Outlet uses AI to recognize patterns in energy usage and suggest changes to cut down on electricity costs. Once the device has been in operation for approximately one week it will learn the user’s schedule, the devices that are plugged in, and the associated energy usage. Using this information—and data gathered from thousands of other devices—the Currant app will recommend a schedule for everything the user has connected to minimize energy consumption and reduce costs. The user has control over whether to accept the schedule or change it, which in turn enables Currant’s proprietary algorithm to continue to learn and improve over time.

In addition to providing Bluetooth LE connectivity, the Nordic SoC functions as the device’s CPU, the nRF52832’s powerful 64MHz, 32-bit Arm® Cortex™ M4F processor provides ample computational power, Digital Signal Processing (DSP), and Floating-Point (FP) arithmetic functionality to both run the Bluetooth LE RF protocol software (‘stack’) and assist the application software’s complex AI algorithms.

Nordic was willing to provide deep technical support for a chip-down design to an emerging company like Currant making the solution more cost-effective than purchasing a module

Hasty Granbery, Currant

Nordic’s nRF52832 SoC is a powerful multiprotocol SoC ideally suited for Bluetooth LE and 2.4GHz ultra low-power wireless applications. The nRF52832 combines an 64MHz, 32-bit Arm Cortex M4F processor with a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio (supporting Bluetooth 5, ANT™, and proprietary 2.4GHz RF software) featuring -96dB RX sensitivity, with 512kB Flash memory and 64kB RAM.

The SoC is supplied with Nordic’s S132 SoftDevice, a Bluetooth 5-certifed 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. Nordic’s unique software architecture provides clear separation between the RF protocol software and the developer’s application code, easing product development.

“Aside from the Nordic SoC’s small package size and attractive price, its Arm Cortex M4F processor made our decision to use the nRF52832 SoC easy,” says Hasty Granbery, CEO, Currant. “The energy monitoring chip in the smart outlet delivers data at an extremely high rate and the nRF52832 SoC’s FP unit allows much of the computation to be handled directly by the Nordic SoC, reducing the amount of raw data needing to be sent over the radio.”

“Nordic was willing to provide deep technical support for a chip-down design to an emerging company like Currant making the solution more cost-effective than purchasing a module. The separation of SoftDevice and application code, along with Nordic’s supporting documentation, Software Development Kit, and Nordic DevZone customer support portal eased development, while its early embrace of the Bluetooth mesh specification gave us a solid platform to build robust and fault-tolerant networking into our product,” adds Granbery.

Wearables developers put safety first

Courtesy of Nordic Semiconductor : Wearables developers put safety first

If you thought the future of wearables was all about staying fit, personal healthcare and next generation gaming, it’s time to have a rethink

It’s hard to believe, but 2019 will mark the tenth anniversary of wireless fitness trackers, the devices that spawned not only a new technology category but a new word in our modern lexicon – ‘wearables’.

In the intervening decade, wearables have gone from strength to strength, and despite some analysts arguing the category has seen its best days, the numbers tell a different story. According to market intelligence analyst International Data Corporation (IDC), 122.6 million wearables will ship in 2018, up six percent from last year, moreover by 2022 this number is predicted to rise to over 190 million units at a CAGR of 11.6 percent over the five-year forecast. To misquote fabled U.S. writer Mark Twain, rumours of the death of wearables has been greatly exaggerated.

“The slowdown in the worldwide wearables market is a sign that this is a market in transition instead of a market in slowdown,” says Ramon T. Llamas, research director for IDC’s Wearables team. “Vendors are slowly moving beyond first-generation devices and experiences, bringing together an ecosystem of partners and applications for improved user experiences that reach beyond step counting. The wearables of tomorrow … will make last year’s wearables look quaint.”

In other words, wearables have moved beyond fitness bands that simply count steps to promote improved lifestyle decisions, and instead are now providing smarter solutions that deliver more holistic benefits. To that end one emerging wearables niche in the ascendancy is personal protection – devices designed to watch over the wearer’s immediate safety rather than manage their long-term health and fitness.

Looking after number one
XPRIZE, an incentive-based competition, is one channel driving awareness and growth of smart, wireless personal safety wearables. In 2016, philanthropist entrepreneurs Anu and Naveen Jain used the XPRIZE platform to offer a million-dollar prize challenging developers to create a device that could inconspicuously trigger an emergency alert if a woman was facing a threat to their personal safety. Teams had six months to put together a deployment-ready prototype that could transmit information to a network of community responders, all within 90 seconds, and costing less than $40. Developers responded in droves, with 85 teams from around the world registering to compete.

In June this year India-based Leaf Wearables was announced as the winner. The company’s ‘Safer Pro’ device comes in a smartwatch form factor but is also available as a module that can be embedded into other devices or regular jewellery. The smartwatch provides a panic button that when ‘long-pressed’ transmits the alert using Bluetooth Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) wireless connectivity to the user’s smartphone, that in turn relays the notification to their trusted contacts via the Leaf Wearables app. The device is also GSM- and GPS-enabled, allowing panic alerts to be communicated directly to their trusted contacts in the event the user doesn’t have their smartphone with them. It also records audio of an incident in progress from the time of the alert.

“What makes Leaf’s technology a good device for global use is the fact that it runs off [Bluetooth 4.0] technology and a mesh network, so any message can leap from one device to another with a very low signal,” says competition sponsor, Anu Jain.

Leaf Wearables are but one of many companies exploiting the benefits of Bluetooth LE wireless connectivity for the emerging personal protection wearables sector. Nordic Semiconductor has provided wireless solutions to designers including Kwema and Smartfuture, both of whom have developed fashion jewellery that ingeniously doubles as a personal safety device with an in-built touch sensor that once pressed can trigger an alert to the user’s smartphone via Bluetooth LE, in turn relaying the emergency message — and GPS location — to the individual’s nominated guardians via the cellular network.

While most safety wearables are panic buttons dressed up in a multitude of jewellery-based form factors — necklaces, bracelets, pendants, lockets, keychains and rings — there are other designs emerging for a sector on the rise. A Bluetooth LE- and GPS-enabled smart whistle; a pair of smart spandex shorts with a built-in alarm; a bracelet worn by the hearing-impaired at night to alert them to suspicious noises they might not otherwise hear without their hearing aids in; even a Bluetooth LE-enabled ‘man down’ vest for law enforcement and military applications. A wireless sensor embedded in the vest automatically sends an emergency alert to first responders in the event the wearer suffers an impact.

Personal protection is a wearables niche in its infancy, but the potential is only limited by the developer’s imagination. What is for sure is that wearables are not done yet, and there is more to the category than ensuring we meet our 10,000 steps a day.
Bluetooth 5Bluetooth Low Energy smart rope load sensors

Bluetooth 5/Bluetooth Low Energy smart rope load sensors assist crew when mooring vessels and provide alerts in the event of safety concerns

Courtesy of Nordic Semiconductor : Bluetooth 5/Bluetooth Low Energy smart rope load sensors

Wilhelmsen Ships Service’s smart ropes employ Nordic’s nRF52840 multiprotocol SoC to wirelessly transmit long-range load data to ship

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that Wilhelmsen Ships Service, a Lysaker, Norway-based shipping company, has specified Nordic’s nRF52840 Bluetooth® 5/Bluetooth Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) advanced multiprotocol System-on-Chip (SoC) for its ‘Timm Mooring Assistance’ smart ropes, designed to assist ship crews when mooring vessels in port.

The Timm Mooring Assistance set-up comprises up to 22 ropes—depending on the size of the vessel being moored—each fitted with a single load sensor to provide feedback on safety and efficiency parameters. For example, the load and temperature data can alert crew members to the load distribution between individual ropes, safety alerts for potential rope snaps, as well as predicting the lifetime of individual ropes. Access to this data allows the crew to take immediate corrective action in case of a problem.

In operation, sensor data from the ropes is wirelessly relayed to a ‘collector box’ on the vessel using Bluetooth 5 technology’s long-range feature enabled by the nRF52840 SoC. The collector box comprises a Bluetooth LE-equipped Ethernet router which relays data to the vessel’s bridge via a wired local area network (LAN) for immediate analysis by crew members via a dashboard on a connected tablet or PC.

The high link budget and long-range feature, which help overcome the challenging RF environment, are the most important capability of the Nordic SoC for our application

Tore Strand, Wilhelmsen Ships Service

The Bluetooth 5 nRF52840 SoC’s new radio architecture with on-chip power amplifier (PA) provides -96-dBm RX sensitivity, a maximum output power of 8-dBm, and a total link budget of >110-dBm. Combined with Bluetooth 5 technology’s long-range feature, this enables the smart ropes to transmit RF signals—in a challenging environment dominated by RF absorbing substances such as steel and water—to a collector box sited up to 100 metres away from the smart rope sensor.

Nordic’s nRF52840 multiprotocol SoC is Nordic’s most advanced ultra low power wireless solution. The SoC supports complex Bluetooth LE and other low-power wireless applications that were previously not possible with a single-chip solution. The nRF52840 is Bluetooth 5-, Thread 1.1-, and Zigbee PRO (R21) and Green Power proxy specification-certified and its Dynamic Multiprotocol feature uniquely supports concurrent wireless connectivity of the protocols. The SoC combines a 64MHz, 32-bit Arm® Cortex® M4F processor with a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio (supporting Bluetooth 5, ANT™, Thread, Zigbee, IEEE 802.15.4, and proprietary 2.4GHz RF protocol software) with 1MB Flash memory and 256kB RAM. The chip supports all the features of Bluetooth 5 (including 4x the range or 2x the raw data bandwidth (2Mbps)) compared with Bluetooth 4.2.

The SoC is supplied with Nordic’s S140 SoftDevice, a Bluetooth 5-certified software protocol stack for building long range and high data Bluetooth LE applications. The S140 SoftDevice offers concurrent Central, Peripheral, Broadcaster, and Observer Bluetooth LE roles, and supports high throughput and long range modes as well as advertising extensions. OpenThread and Zigbee stacks are available through Nordic’s nRF5 SDK for Thread and Zigbee.

“It is essential for us to use a low power consumption solution with a global standard as our customers are operating vessels around the world, but the high link budget and long-range feature, which help overcome the challenging RF environment, are the most important capability of the Nordic SoC for our application,” says Tore Strand, Subject Matter Expert at Wilhelmsen Ships Service. “We also appreciate Nordic’s great support and short response time to technical queries.”

Bluetooth 5/Bluetooth Low Energy medical monitoring

Bluetooth 5/Bluetooth Low Energy medical monitoring ‘careable’ and digital therapeutic platform delivers patient engagement and remote care management solution

Courtesy of Nordic Semiconductor : Bluetooth 5/Bluetooth Low Energy medical monitoring ‘careable’ and digital therapeutic platform delivers patient engagement and remote care management solution

Life365’s ‘LifeConnect’ wearable employs Nordic’s nRF52840 multiprotocol SoC to run health monitoring sensors and wirelessly transmit health data to patient’s customized tablet

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that Life365, a Tempe, AZ-based digital health solutions provider, has selected Nordic’s nRF52840 Bluetooth® 5/Bluetooth Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) advanced multiprotocol System-on-Chip (SoC) for its ‘LifeConnect Careable’. LifeConnect is a Bluetooth LE medical monitoring wearable (or ‘careable’ as it’s called by the developer) for people with chronic health conditions, supported by a remote care management system for clinicians.

The LifeConnect wearable incorporates a heart rate monitor, galvanic skin resistance sensor (to record hydration and stress data), an accelermoter/gyro, as well as a thermometer. It can also wirelessly connect to other medical monitoring devices—for example cardiac or brain monitors—for gathering biometric data and other key health indicators, as well as be tailored to meet the specific needs of an individual patient.

In addition to the LifeConnect device, a patient is also issued with a customized tablet pre-installed with the ‘myLife365’ companion software, allowing patients to self-monitor the collected data and access a range of applications including health surveys, education resources, medication and appointment reminders, and two-way video for communication between the patient and care team.

Nordic’s nRF52840 SoC provides LifeConnect with Bluetooth LE wireless connectivity, enabling the sensor and medical monitoring device data gathered by the product to be relayed to the patient’s Bluetooth 4.0 (and later) tablet. The SoC’s powerful Arm® M4F processor provides ample computational power to run complex sensor algorithms as well as provide low latency Bluetooth LE connectivity. In addition, the SoC’s on-chip NFC-A tag enables the device to record interactions between health care professionals and the patient in the home ensuring electronic visit verification (EVV) compliance. When visiting a patient the health care professional can pair their ID tag with the LifeConnect device via NFC, confirming the visit took place.

We selected the nRF52840 SoC on the strength of the Bluetooth 5 functionality, and for the Arm processor, and RAM and Flash memory allocations

Eric Vanderwater, Life365

LifeConnect is also Wi-Fi-enabled, providing bi-directional connectivity between the device and Cloud, allowing the sensor data gathered by the wearable to be directly transferred to the ‘Life365 Digital Therapeutic Platform’, and accessed by both patients and clinicians via the Touchpoints365 online portal. The portal allows clinicians and care teams to remotely review patient health data, monitor patient activity and wellness, configure healthcare solutions used by patients at home, and offer timely interventions if a patient shows signs of clinical deterioration.

LifeConnect is powered by a rechargeable Li-Poly battery, providing up to several days of operation between recharge, depending on the type of application and level of user interaction, thanks in part to the ultra low power characteristics of the Nordic SoC. The nRF52840 has been engineered to minimize power consumption with a fully-automatic power management system that reduces power consumption by up to 80 percent compared with the nRF51 Series.

Nordic’s nRF52840 multiprotocol SoC is Nordic’s most advanced ultra low power wireless solution. The SoC supports complex Bluetooth LE and other low-power wireless applications that were previously not possible with a single-chip solution. The nRF52840 is Bluetooth 5-, Thread 1.1-, and Zigbee PRO (R21) and Green Power proxy specification-certified and its Dynamic Multiprotocol feature uniquely supports concurrent wireless connectivity of the protocols. The SoC combines a 64MHz, 32-bit Arm Cortex® M4F processor with a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio (supporting Bluetooth 5, ANT™, Thread, Zigbee, IEEE 802.15.4, and proprietary 2.4GHz RF protocol software) with 1MB Flash memory and 256kB RAM. The chip supports all the features of Bluetooth 5 (including 4x the range or 2x the raw data bandwidth (2Mbps)) compared with Bluetooth 4.2. The SoC is supplied with Nordic’s S140 SoftDevice, a Bluetooth 5-certified software protocol stack for building long range and high data Bluetooth LE applications.

“We selected the nRF52840 SoC on the strength of the Bluetooth 5 functionality, and for the Arm processor, and RAM and Flash memory allocations, which provided good value considering the relatively low cost of the chip itself,” says Eric Vanderwater, Chief Technology Officer at Life365. “Nordic’s SoftDevice made firmware development much simpler, and the availability and quick response of Nordic’s firmware development support and technical support was incredibly valuable during development.”

nRF52840 System-on-Chip

Nordic Semiconductor’s nRF52840 System-on-Chip is now one of the first chips supporting Bluetooth LE with Amazon FreeRTOS

Courtesy of Nordic Semiconductor : nRF52840 System-on-Chip is now one of the first chips supporting Bluetooth LE with Amazon FreeRTOS

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that its award-winning nRF52840 multiprotocol Bluetooth®Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) System-on-Chip (SoC) is one of the first devices to support Bluetooth LE with Amazon FreeRTOS.

Amazon FreeRTOS is an operating system for microcontrollers that makes small, low-power edge devices easy to program, deploy, secure, connect, and manage. Amazon FreeRTOS is based on the FreeRTOS kernel, a popular open source operating system for microcontrollers, and extends it with software libraries that make it easy to securely connect your small, low-power devices to AWS cloud services like AWS Internet of Things (IoT) Core or to more powerful edge devices running AWS IoT Greengrass.

“We are delighted to be working with Nordic Semiconductor,” comments Dirk Didascalou, Vice President, AWS IoT, Amazon Web Services, Inc. “By allowing Amazon FreeRTOS applications to communicate over Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), we are making it easy for our customers to securely connect their BLE devices to AWS IoT via a mobile device, and build innovative, low power applications including analyzing sensor data, and monitoring and managing fleets of devices.”

“The Nordic nRF52840 SoC has become one of the world’s most popular Bluetooth LE chips since its introduction in 2016,” comments Nordic Semiconductor CTO, Svein-Egil Nielsen. “Featuring an Arm Cortex-M4F processor, 1MB of Flash and 256kB of RAM memory, together with a multiprotocol radio that supports IEEE 802.15.4 in addition to complete Bluetooth 5 support, the nRF52840 is the ideal platform for IoT devices.”

Nielsen continues: “We are delighted to see AWS add Bluetooth LE support to Amazon FreeRTOS and name the nRF52840 as one of the first chips to officially support it. As many customers’ de-facto, ultra-low power IoT connectivity chip of choice, offering a wide breadth of connectivity options with outstanding energy efficiency, the nRF52840 is an excellent complement to, and expands, the solution and product application range possible with Amazon FreeRTOS.”

The Bluetooth LE support in Amazon FreeRTOS was recently announced at AWS re:Invent 2018 in Las Vegas.

This Beta release includes a GATT/GAP API, a custom profile for provisioning Wi-Fi credentials over Bluetooth LE, and companion iOS and Android SDKs. Also included is a custom profile for MQTT over Bluetooth LE that offers seamless Device-to-Cloud messaging via an iOS or Android proxy device.

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Nordic Semiconductor low power cellular IoT solution named as 2019 CES Innovation Awards Honoree

Nordic Semiconductor low power cellular IoT solution named as 2019 CES Innovation Awards Honoree

Courtesy of Nordic Semiconductor low power cellular IoT solution named as 2019 CES Innovation Awards Honoree

Nordic’s nRF9160 SiP recognized in prestigious award program for innovative design and engineering in embedded products

Nordic Semiconductor today announces it has been named a 2019 CES Innovation Awards Honoree for its nRF9160 multimode LTE-M/NB-IoT System-in-Package (SiP) solution in the “Embedded Products” category of the CES 2019 Innovation Awards. The official announcement was made at ‘CES Unveiled New York’ at the Metropolitan Pavilion, New York, in front of an audience of industry leaders, technical media, and CES exhibitors.

An annual program that celebrates outstanding design and engineering, the CES Innovation Awards recognizes honorees across 28 product categories. A panel of judges, including designers, engineers, and members of the technical media, reviewed submissions based on design, functionality, consumer appeal, engineering, and how the products compare with their competition, before arriving at the decision to honor Nordic’s cellular IoT solution.

Nordic Semiconductor’s nRF9160 SiP is a highly-integrated, low power, global multimode LTE-M/NB-IoT solution. The SiP integrates a complete low power cellular IoT system into a tiny 10 by 16 by 1.2mm package that integrates modem, transceiver, RF front end, dedicated application processor, Flash memory, power management, and crystal and passive components. With this level of integration, the nRF91 SiP combines all the benefits of traditional cellular modules, including teleregulatory and cellular certifications, with ease-of-use, unprecedented integration, and the smallest form factor ever seen in the cellular industry to date.

“Nordic Semiconductor expanded the application-range of Bluetooth by abstracting away from the designer all unnecessary technical complexity,” says Peder Rand, Product Manager – Cellular IoT with Nordic Semiconductor. “The pre-certified, ready-to-drop-in LTE-M/NB-IoT nRF9160 SiP promises to do the same for cellular IoT.

“Recognition in the highly-competitive, prestigious and globally-recognized CES Innovation Awards is gratifying for the whole company and in particular Nordic’s Norway- and Finland-based R&D engineering teams. These teams have worked tirelessly for several years to ensure the nRF9160 SiP exceeds customer expectations and in the years ahead we will see some amazing innovations based on this Nordic technology.”

The CES Innovation Awards are sponsored by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA™), the producer of CES, the world’s largest and most influential technology event for the consumer sector. The CEA has been recognizing achievements in product design and engineering since 1976.

Nordic’s nRF9160 SiP will be exhibited––along with the full portfolio of the company’s Bluetooth 5, Bluetooth Low Energy, Thread, Zigbee, IEEE 802.15.4, ANT+ and 2.4GHz products and customer applications based on Nordic’s solutions––at CES 2019 which runs January 8-11, 2019 in Las Vegas, NV.

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Bluetooth Low Energy smart tape

Bluetooth Low Energy smart tape measure provides highly accurate data to help consumers track body shape changes and improve health

Courtesy of Nordic Semiconductor : Bluetooth Low Energy smart tape

Bagel Labs’ ‘PIE’ smart tape measure employs Nordic Semiconductor’s nRF52832 SoC to wirelessly transmit measurement information to the user’s smartphone or tablet

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that Seongnam, Korea-based technology start-up, Bagel Labs, has selected Nordic’s nRF52832 Bluetooth® Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) System-on-Chip (SoC) to provide the wireless connectivity for its ‘PIE’ smart tape measure.

The PIE smart tape measure is designed to provide consumers with a better indication of overall health than just monitoring body weight, while for business customers—for example clothing manufacturers—it offers a faster and more efficient means of measuring and recording body sizes.

The smart tape comes in an 80 by 65 by 24mm form factor and employs a flexible fiberglass tape that can measure both round objects as well as straight lines. The tape features a digital display for measurement readouts to an accuracy of ±0.5mm, up to range of 1500mm. The smart tape supports mm, cm, and inch units.

PIE employs an on-axis magnetic rotary position sensor to ensure readout accuracy, as well as Nordic’s nRF52832 SoC to provide wireless connectivity between the smart tape measure and the ‘PIE for Healthcare’ iOS and Android app running on the user’s Bluetooth 4.0 (and later) smartphone or tablet. The app is targeted towards consumers who want to set goals and track and record their various body measurements over time, prove graphs to illustrate size changes, as well as share their progress with family, friends, or even a coach or healthcare professional.

PIE uses a 400mAh Li-Po battery that provides up to 20 hours of constant use after a full charge, thanks in part to the ultra low power characteristics 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.

Nordic’s nRF52832 SoC is a powerful multiprotocol SoC ideally suited for Bluetooth LE and 2.4GHz ultra low-power wireless applications. The nRF52832 combines an 64MHz, 32-bit Arm® Cortex™ M4F processor with a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio (supporting Bluetooth 5, ANT™, and proprietary 2.4GHz RF software) featuring -96dB RX sensitivity, with 512kB Flash memory and 64kB RAM.

The SoC is supplied with Nordic’s S132 SoftDevice, a Bluetooth 5-certifed 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. Nordic’s unique software architecture provides clear separation between the RF protocol software and the developer’s application code, easing product development.

“The key factors behind our decision to use the nRF52832 SoC were the high degree of design flexibility it afforded us and the powerful Arm processor, Flash memory allocation, and of course its affordability,” says Myung-Jong Kim, Senior Manager, Bagel Labs.

“While battery life is perhaps not as important a factor as it is for a smartphone, power efficiency was crucial. It’s always better to have power efficient chips, and this is what we got with the Nordic SoC.”

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