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Timelapse+ : Powerful, flexible, extendable, yet easy-to-use intervalometer for timelapse photography and more -- now with automatic bulb ramping, variable interval, and keyframe motion control
Timelapse+ : Powerful, flexible, extendable, yet easy-to-use intervalometer for timelapse photography and more -- now with automatic bulb ramping, variable interval, and keyframe motion control
1,248 backers pledged $165,730 to help bring this project to life.

Bluetooth!

Posted by Elijah Parker (Creator)

I've got a big update regarding the Bluetooth implementation!

The last couple weeks I've been finalizing the design for the Bluetooth interface.  I've learned a lot through the research as well as comments and suggestions from backers (I feel I have a very brilliant team of people helping here!).  My original plan was to use traditional Class 2 (low-range) bluetooth via Roving Networks RN-42 module.  Max (an iPhone developer in Germany) informed me that the iPhone does not allow data bluetooth connections without a special Apple Authorization coprocessor chip, which must be purchased from Apple.  The chips only cost $0.60 each, but the project must first be submitted to Apple (MFI program) and then wait for approval, a process which can take anywhere from 2-6 months without guarantee of acceptance.  Compatibility would not be a problem, however, with most Android phones. (I'm generally an Apple fan, but not over this particular issue!)

While communication with smartphones was never my main reason for bluetooth (it's primarily for connecting to future accessories and other Timelapse+ devices), I still wanted to be able to use it with the iPhone.  However, trying to get accepted by Apple's MFI program wasn't very feasible at this point.

This brought me to Low Energy Bluetooth (also suggested by Max -- thanks!), a part of the new Bluetooth 4.0 specification.  LE Bluetooth devices do not require approval by Apple.  They are also better for multi-point networks and WAY better in terms of power consumption.  Accessories for the Timelapse+ could literally be powered for years by a single coin-cell battery.  Additionally, it has a much lower latency, providing quicker response times for future remote triggers and sensors.

The only drawback is that only the iPhone4S and the very latest android phones support LE Bluetooth.  As a brand-new technology, existing support is limited but sure to expand in the near future.  I'd assume that most new devices from here on out will be supporting LE Bluetooth.  What I'm excited about is that it's much better suited for this type of device, and uses a fraction of the battery power of traditional Bluetooth.

Pros: 

  • Way better battery life (potentially years for accessories)
  • Faster to setup ~3ms connection setup time (compared to 6 seconds for pairing conventional Bluetooth)
  • Lower latency

Cons:

  • Limited support from existing devices (currently only the iPhone4S)
  • Slightly more expensive (but it won't change the price for backers!)

So I've decided that Low-Energy Bluetooth is the best form of a wireless interface for the Timelapse+.  Being a cutting edge technology, the LE module is about 40% more expensive than the original module, but it still fits within the budget for the Bluetooth version of the Timelapse+, meaning the advertised price of $129 will not change (until after Kickstarter).  I'm now planning on using the BR-LE4.0-S2A module from BlueRadios.

Thanks again for your support!  I'm excited to make the Timelapse+ the best possible!

Comments

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    1. Elijah Parker 2-time creator on

      Randy, sorry, I just realized I never responded to you! Anyway, I've gotten a lot of requests for that, so yes, the final design now has an aux port on the bottom with 2 outputs and 1 input. Thanks!

    2. Missing avatar

      Randy Tamayo on

      Hi Elijah,

      Would it coz terrible delay if you were to add a generic port to the device that can be used to attach a separate trigger and use?

      This would work similar to the in-built light trigger. But this port can be used to third party sound/radio/motion triggers.

      Did I make any sense? I can explain more if needed.

      Cheers!
      Randy

    3. Elijah Parker 2-time creator on

      Thanks Richard! And yes, the final case will be all black, ABS plastic. Only the limited prototypes will have colors (it's a different kind of material, anyway).

    4. Richard Ferguson on

      I suggest you make the case in all black. Just me, but this will see a lot of action on location and black works works better for a host of reasons.

    5. Richard Ferguson on

      This was a wise decision. This supplies wireless capabilities to control accessories like camera sliders and lights in a programable synced to the camera. This increases the future options for the controller.

    6. Elijah Parker 2-time creator on

      Paul - I know, I'll admit I felt kind of bad about leaving out a lot of existing devices (including my own old iPhone 3G), but I feel the pros really outweigh the cons on this one since it's tremendously better for connecting to accessories (which of course don't exist yet, either...), such as a dolly, crane, or trigger sensors. And I expect phone support to quickly expand, too -- I think it's a great technology that's going to stick around for a while.

    7. Paul J Solomon on

      Oops, missed the prev post - hope more phones support this.

    8. Paul J Solomon on

      Do you foresee any Android-based phones supporting LE Bluetooth? I'm not a big fan of it only supporting one particular phone.

    9. Missing avatar

      Benjamin Gasse on

      The new Motorola Razr with Android got a BT 4 interface :-). I think it's the first Android device with BT 4.0 support.

    10. Elijah Parker 2-time creator on

      Thanks for the encouragement!

    11. Marcin Mizgalski on

      Good news, from my perspective Kickstarter guys are awsome - do something in the very best way, even during the advanced protyping process :)

    12. Bummerfiend on

      totally agree. great decision!

    13. Michal Zdunek on

      yep... good decision ! LE B is the way to go !

      thanks again

    14. Kevin Rank
      Superbacker
      on

      Great update. I am in a couple, and I love seeing the process of the device coming together.

    15. Missing avatar

      Robert Glover, II on

      Thanks for the update.

      I appreciate your detailed analysis of the pros and cons. While you are initially limiting yourself regarding compatibility with the legacy iPhone userbase, I agree with your forward thinking. I believe the choice of Bluetooth 4.0 will serve you well going forward.

    16. Elijah Parker 2-time creator on

      Hey, I'm with you there...

    17. Bob B. on

      Well, I was hoping that the Timelapse+ might connect to my iPhone 4, but I guess this just provides me with an excuse to upgrade to a 4S or 5 when it comes out. "Sorry honey, I have to. It's for my photography stuff."