About this project
Missed the campaign? No Problem!
You can still order your bluz boards and accessories here: http://bluz.io/store/
Creating connected projects is hard. There are many options to bring your devices online, but many require being plugged in or having large and expensive batteries that need to be replaced or charged often. This can be fine for some projects, but what if yours needs to be mobile ready and widely deployed?
Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) is designed from the ground up to be low powered. It can run for months or years on a simple coin cell battery. However, most development solutions never let BLE escape from your smartphone or tethered device, until now.
Bluz is a Bluetooth LE development kit (DK) unlike any other. Bluz comes cloud connected out of the box to the Spark cloud, meaning you can access the device from anywhere in the world, and not just when you're smartphone is nearby.
BLE is a fantastic compliment to other wireless technologies such as WiFi and Cellular. It can use one gateway as a central point of deployment for many low power, low cost sensors. Or it can use your cell phone as the gateway to integrate wearables, giving you extensive battery life without compromising connectivity.
$40k (UNLOCKED!): You can now purchase a new prototype shield that will allow you to build anything you want and keep it nice and stackable. Just add $10 to your pledge level for each Proto shield you want to add. It is Core/Photon compatible.
$75k (LOCKED): We will add support for Windows Phone, giving you a free and open source gateway app.
We will also include a FREE Proto Mini shield in EVERYONES shipment. Proto Mini is a quick and small prototyping shield for bluz and the Core/Photon, and we will automatically include it with your rewards at this level.
$100k (LOCKED): Extend your BLE network to infinity and beyond*! We will incorporate mesh networking, the proper Spark way, into bluz. This will be a free feature for everyone upon delivery if we hit this goal.
*not really infinity, but a really really long way
Help us spread the word and hit these stretch goals! Tweet it out, tell your friends, post on Facebook, or send a letter if you're old school, but let's spread the word and bring mesh to the Internet of Things!
How does bluz talk to the internet? Through a gateway! What are gateways? Well, you have several choices to connect.
Mobile Gateway: Free apps will be provided for iOS and Android. These apps will connect to a bluz dev kit whenever one is nearby and route data to the cloud. The apps will be customizable and can be modified to fit your project or product, which is perfect for wearables.
Gateway Shield: A shield with a BLE Central device that accepts a Core/Photon (not included). Once the Core/Photon is loaded up with the proper sketch, it will allow up to 8 bluz DK's to connect at once to the Spark Cloud. (NOTE: This will be either Electron compatible or we will offer an upgrade option before shipment)
Bluz Gateway: A fully integrated and enclosed gateway for use in your own products. A sleek, plastic case will enclose both a BLE central device and a Wifi radio that will plug into any USB Type-A port (like your phone charger). Just like the shield, this will allow up to 8 bluz DK's to connect to the Spark cloud at once. The Gateway will have a Spark Photon board inside, allowing you to easily setup your Wifi connection for cloud access.
All gateways will also provide services to the attached bluz boards, such as location services and time sync, or the ability to open IP connections to other endpoints.
Bluz will integrate into the Spark environment and sit alongside their own kits. This means you will have full access to the Spark tools, including:
Spark Web IDE and ATW (Around the World) FW Updates: Write code in the cloud and automatically push it down to your bluz DK wirelessly. Any Buetooth LE dev kit can do OTA (over the air) FW updates. Bluz can do it from anywhere in the world.
Tinker: Don't want to code? No problem! Use Tinker to quickly hook up a circuit and control it from your smartphone or tablet.
Dashboard: Manage one, or an entire fleet of devices from one dashboard, perfect for building products with bluz.
IFTTT: Bluz comes fully integrated into the IFTTT framework via the Spark channel for complete event driven programming from many sources.
Webhooks: Trigger actions to any type of online resource by simply creating a webhook and triggering it from bluz
REST API: Simple control of your hardware from any programming language.
Each bluz DK comes provisioned for the Spark cloud out of the box. It will connect to the cloud automatically, and work just like a Core/Photon/Electron.
Unlink other BLE development boards, you will have access to everything. Create your own services and characteristics, use built-in profiles like HID over GATT, or customize any aspect of the BLE connection.
Bluz will operate with two channels of data by default. One will connect to the gateway, the other to the cloud. Each works independent, so you can connect to the cloud, or just locally, to control your board. You can easily create more channels and control exactly where you want your data to go.
Bluz offers encryption from the device all the way to the cloud, keeping your data as secure as possible. Standard Bluetooth LE encryption is weak and susceptible to sniffer/cracker systems. Insecurities in operating systems or key logger programs can also capture your data at the central device with standard Bluetooth LE architectures. With bluz, your data is encrypted before it is ever transmitted, meaning it is totally secure cross the entire chain.
If you're used to the Core/Photon, Arduino, or any of their clones, you are already familiar with bluz. Bluz will be Core/Photon pin compatible, so you can use many shields and adapters already out there to simply drop bluz into your existing projects.
Bluz runs Wiring, meaning your current code will likely port to bluz, or will require minimum changes. The language is the same as Arduino.
A few of our favorite projects we have built with bluz.
Bluz PopPet: Last year we backed PopPet, an open source robotics kit, and wanted to make him cloud controlled. So, we hooked up bluz and were able to control him from the Tinker app. It only took about 10 minutes for this project (and zero code on bluz as we used Tinker), so it goes to show how quick and easy it can be to add cloud connectivity to your existing projects. You can read more, and watch the video, here.
Open Sesame: There have been several Smart Lock projects recently, including a very successful Kickstarter one that just ended. It is a device that fits over your deadbolt and allowed you to unlock your door from your phone. It had a Bluetooth LE to Wifi Gateway (sounds familiar) so the lock could be controlled from anywhere. It also allowed you to hand out keys and revoke them whenever you pleased.
Well, that just seemed too easy to build with bluz, so we did it! We 3D printed a fastener for a servo motor that fits over our deadbolt and wrote a node.js app that allowed us to create and manage keys. Bluz and the Spark Cloud made this a very simple project. You can read more, and watch video of it in action, here.
Bluz was born from the need for a cloud connected BLE board when building our own products. However, it can be used in so many exciting projects and products that are being built today. Here are a few of our favorites that are evaluating bluz:
Arduboy is a credit card sized computer that fits in your wallet. It is an open-source platform with capacitive buttons and an OLED screen, allowing people to create games and much more on the platform.
We are currently working with the creator of the Arduboy, Kevin Bates, to make a new exciting project. Kevin had this to say about bluz:
I am really interested in bluz because it provides an easy solution to do firmware updates and download games over the air. The nordic chip is an awesome solution because it has the microcontroller and bluetooth on one chip but getting it up and running can be a bit of a challenge. bluz is a great way to solve this problem!
Expect to see some exciting developments from Arduboy coming soon!
Water Hero has created a system to monitor and control the water flow into your home. It has the ability to detect leaks and automatically shut off your water to prevent damage.
The creators of Water Hero are looking to create additional sensors that can be placed throughout the home to detect problems better, and stop any leak before it can destroy part of your house. They are currently evaluating bluz for this as it provides an easy, and low powered, way to place battery powered sensors in every room of the home.
Dan Sterling, the creator of Water Hero, had this to say about bluz:
We’re very excited to evaluate bluz. Kudos to Eric and Ben for another innovative product. Bluz is a promising BLE solution that is both easy and elegant for connecting additional sensors to Spark. Bluz and Spark-- a powerful one-two punch for any connected product!
Like many other projects, bluz will be completely open source. All hardware design files and redistributable source code will be completely open and shared, all the way down to the bootloader. You can program from C to assembly, to nothing at all if you just want to Tinker around!
To make bluz better, you must have accessories! All shields are stackable so you can add them to eachother and still breadboard when you need to.
CR2032 Coin Cell Battery Shield: Drop in bluz and run for years on a single coin cell.
AXL335 Accelerometer Shield: Looking to make the worlds next great wearable? Then make sure you can measure those G's!
J-Link Programmer Shield: Want to blow away the bootloader and void your warranty? (Nah, just kidding, we'll still support you!) Make sure to pick up the programmer shield if you want to get to the bare metal.
Proto Shield: Want to build the next great thing? Start with a prototype! This Proto Shield offers a large work area to add many components or connectors, 3V3 and GND rails, and status LED's on each IO pin with cutback traces.
Want to add more items to your pledge? No problem, just add the amounts below for each item you want to add and you will select your rewards from the backer survey at the end of the campaign. (Please Note: Only 1 $15 DK per backer, so even if you are an early bird and want to add another DK, you must add $19 to your pledge).
- ARM Cortex M0, 16MHz
- 32KB RAM, 256KB internal Flash
- 256KB external Flash
- Bluetooth LE 4.1
- 10-bit ADC
- 3.0V-6.0V (3.3V Compatible)
- Power consumption as low as 60uA when connected
- C/C++, Wiring (same as Arduino)
- Spark Web IDE
- Spark connection
- IFTTT integrated
- IPv6 support
- OTA FW Updates
- REST API
Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/bluzDK
Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bluzDK
Sign Up for our newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bi7w0f
Join our community: http://neighborhood.bluz.io/
We developed bluz for one simple reason, we needed it for our own product. We ran a Kickstarter campaign for GoGlove, a wearable wireless remote, and we wanted to allow it to control anything. But with Bluetooth LE, there was no out of the box way to allow it to access the internet securely. So we made one.
We paired up with Spark and allowed our product to talk to their cloud.
We needed Bluetooth for two simple reasons: battery life and the need to use the Bluetooth profiles to talk to smartphones. Once paired with the Spark cloud, we got all the benefits of Bluetooth LE, but with a cloud connected back-end.
We were so excited about this development that we wanted to share it with anyone so they could integrate it into their own product.
We have already ported the Spark FW, built prototype boards, written apps, and created the gateway. Bluz works now and we are already using it to power our own projects, as well as GoGlove. There are certainly still rough edges (and boards), but we have already hit many of the top-level milestones for the project.
The shields have all been prototyped as well. We are working with the same contract manufacturer we use for GoGlove to ensure timely deliveries and a quality product.
The gateway is the one piece not functional today, but as soon as we get our hands on the Photon and P0/P1 modules, we will build that out. The gateway shield is working today and gives us a great platform for build from, so we don't expect any delays or issues since the code and underlying design are very similar.
The large remaining work items include finalizing the HW design, adding all the Wiring APIs into the FW, debugging and testing like crazy, and finally manufacturing.
- To the amazing folks at the Spark team, for everything that you have built and for working with us so closely to bring this to life
- Dan Kennedy (http://kennedydp.com/) - For the awesome video (where did all those bananas come from?)
- Josh Fisher - For cleaning up my terrible artwork
- Jennyfer Bruns - For the fantastic photos
- Alpha Loft (http://alphaloft.org/) - For all the connections and support
- Steve Messa - "Lead Gorilla"
- To all our GoGlove backers, without you we wouldn't have made it this far!
- And again, to our wonderful wives and families for hanging with us while we chase a dream!
Risks and challenges
As with any hardware product, there can always be delays or issues with the supply chain, manufacturing, and/or shipping/logistics. As we have gone through Kickstarter before and have lined up our supply chain, these risks should be minimized. However, since risks cannot always be predicted, we do promise full transparency as issues may arise to keep you informed.
We have partnered and collaborated with Spark through the entire process of building bluz, and believe the integration is key to success. We will leverage their knowledge and expertise throughout the process to ensure our product meets theirs, and your, quality standards and can proudly sit next to their other product offerings.
While delivery dates may shift, we promise to keep you in the loop and let you know if any delays arise. Part of our plan with GoGlove was always to open source the technology inside, and this is our first step in that direction. We are committed to bringing you the best possible product we can.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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