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Getting Started with Bluetooth Low Energy

If you have been working with the Nordic nRF51822 platform or mbed's Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) API, then you probably have come across some of Kevin Townsend's work on the mbed community. Recently I got a chance to catch up with him to find out more about the book he recently co-authored and published, ‘Getting Started with Bluetooth Low Energy,’ with Carles Cufi, Robert Davidson and Akiba. This book does a good job of explaining the basic concepts of Bluetooth Low Energy (LE), its history and it simplifies the concepts and vocabulary used around Bluetooth LE for all developers wanting to get started with this new ultra low power wireless technology.


Kevin said, one of the reasons he decided to contribute to this book, is that he finds the Internet of Things (IoT) and the Bluetooth LE technology trend to be particularly interesting; in that it has never been easier for small companies and hobbyist engineers to successfully make innovative products without large financial backing and lots of development resources. This is in part due to Bluetooth SIG's decision to add Bluetooth LE to the standard (BT 4.0 onwards), allowing many of the barriers to developing with this technology to be removed for hardware and software developers. This is also, one of the reasons why he chose to identify the mbed platform as a useful tool to create customized firmware for Bluetooth LE peripherals within Chapter 10 of the book. As much of the mbed community knows well, “many of the messy firmware implementation issues and setup problems are conveniently buried in the easy-to-use online tools and high-level APIs,” not requiring familiarity with configuring an embedded toolchain or prior knowledge of working with embedded hardware.

Additionally the book describes a sample project with the mbed-enabled Nordic nRF51822 platform to show you how to apply the concepts learned within the book in the real world.

This book is now on sale and can be ordered on Amazon, here.

mbed application shield on sale!

Following the success of the mbed application board, the mbed application shield is now available!


The first stockists to go live is Cool Components in the UK, with others set to follow suit.

Cool Components wrote:

This is a peripherals shield - principally designed for mbed development boards with an Arduino form factor, it can actually be used with *any* development board with an Arduino form factor! The shield includes an Xbee socket, a small speaker, a 3 axis accelerometer, a joystick, and LCD display and other stuff! Because the shield has a good range of input / output devices on it, it's great for an educational environment Code to use the shield with mbed devices is available at mbed.org.

The shield is supported by various example programs that can be used straight out the box, all published on its Component Database page, as with the application board interesting new applications will soon start appearing!

It’s a keychain? It’s a development platform? It’s mBuino!

We are excited to share the Kickstarter launch of GHI Electronic's new mbed-enabled platform, mBuino. mBuino is a programmable mbed-enabled keychain that features an ARM® Cortex™-M0 50Mhz, UART, SPI, and I2C.

/media/uploads/katiedmo/kickstarter.png /media/uploads/katiedmo/mbunio_keychain_1.png

Don’t let the pint-sized design fool you, this little board can do so much more than make your keys look cool. To start you can easily make the on-board LEDs blink or you could get a bit more creative and create your own video game platform (joystick, color display and all)…check out the example they show in their Kickstarter video. It is even programmable with mbed. By simply connecting the mBuino to your computer, and using the mbed online compiler, you are able to easily write code and save your code to the device.


This little ingenious idea came about as a ‘round table’ project from the engineers at GHI Electronics, LLC. They wanted to create something that reflects their passion for electronics…which I have to say, I think they have achieved! The profits from this Kickstarter will go to help funding their ‘OutrageousCircuits.com’ website which will allow this creative group of engineers a place to share more of their outrageous designs and products. This is just the beginning of their work on creating mbed development platforms and we are excited to see what they come up with next!

Help fund this project, here!

If you too want to build hardware that takes advantage of the mbed software platform and free mbed tools, take a look at (https://mbed.org/handbook/mbed-HDK).

The ARM, Avnet, and Freescale IoT World Hackathon Challenge

ARM, Avnet and Freescale are hosting a Hackathon at the IoT World Event next week (June 17-18) in Palo Alto, California at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. Our hackathon challenge is to build on from the other IoT World Hackathon Challenges that should produce some compelling consumer and environmental IoT innovations. We want our hackathon participants to think outside the box and create projects which are interoperable with other teams; where at least part of your application works with part of an application from one (or more) of the other teams.

If you are interested in participating in this event, register here. To find out more about ARM at the IoT World event, check it out here.


What to Expect:

ARM, Avnet, and Freescale are sponsoring the hardware, software, and technical assistance for our hackathon. A number of WiFi enabled Wi-Go Microcontroller + sensor platforms will be provided by Avnet. The ARM® mbed™ web IDE for embedded devices will be provided for drag-and-drop software module composition and programming of the Wi-Go modules, using mbed sensor and communication libraries.

The ARM Sensinode™ platform connects the devices to web applications using CoAP and OMA LWM2M IoT standard protocols. Standard protocols and web objects enable interoperability between sensor devices and web applications through the ARM Sensinode platform.

An example demo application will be provided to enable participants to start off with an end-to-end connection and a hackable sample application. ARM will provide technical assistance to help participants use the Wi-Go system, mbed, and the ARM Sensinode Platform. The interoperability challenge is for building applications that work with applications from other teams.

Hardware Provided by Avnet:

Avnet Wi-Go System, 7 sensors, Battery powered, WiFi

Freescale Kinetis KL25Z MCU, ARM Cortex-M0+

Software from ARM:

ARM mbed open source web IDE for embedded devices

ARM Sensinode platform connecting devices to cloud and web applications

CoAP and OMA LWM2M standard API

Hope to see you all there!

Time to Get Creative with the Freescale FRDM Boards

Digi-Key, Freescale and ARM are hosting a European design contest to inspire developers to get creative with Freescale's FRDM development boards. If you have not already started developing with one of the FRDM boards, now is a great time to start. There are over ten boards to choose from within the FRDM family, but we would suggest using the FRDM-K64F, FRDM-KL05, FRDM-KL25Z, or the FRDM-KL46Z.


The first phase of the competition is a ‘Conceptual Design’ challenge, where you will need to design in block diagram format a feature set extension to implement your design. You will need to create your design on Digi-Key’s ‘Scheme-It’ to enter. Phase one submissions will be accepted through June 30, 2014. The winners will have a chance to win the following prizes:

  • 1st place winner will receive an Apple iPad Air
  • 2nd place an Apple iPad mini
  • 3 honorable mentions will an Apple iPad touch


The second phase of the completion is the ‘Hardware and Software Design’ challenge, open from July 1 through October 10, 2014.Using PCB-it and mbed.org take your design bring it to life. It is not necessary to be a winner in phase one to be eligible to participate in phase two of the competition. Below are the prizes for

  • 1st place prize for Best Hardware and Software submission is a Football Table valued at no more than (€1,500).
  • 2nd place prize is a Jura Type Espresso Machine values at no more (€1,000)
  • Honorable mention prize will be a bicycle valued at no more than (€750)

Now it’s time to get creative, check out the official contest page here.