About this project
For more information on our stretch goals read this update post.
What is the BLEduino?
The BLEduino is a tiny Arduino-Compatible development board with Bluetooth 4.0, a.k.a. Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), built in. The BLEduino is both hardware and software compatible with Arduino since it’s based on the Arduino Leonardo. Anything that runs on an Arduino will run on a BLEduino. It's the easiest way to get Bluetooth 4.0 in your project! Control anything from your phone!
Full Arduino Shield Compatibility
We wanted the BLEduino to be small enough to be used in any project, but not if that meant you'd lose the ability to use all your awesome Arduino shields. For this reason, we created the Shield-Shield. The Shield-Shield is a handy attachment that translates the BLEduino’s pin layout into the traditional Arduino layout. That is, it makes the BLEduino fully Arduino shield compatible. Note, we've noticed a trend of boards stating they are compatible with all Arduino Shields when they actually aren't. For a board to be fully compatible you would need it to support both the old Arduino UNO pin layout and the new Arduino Leonardo pin layout. Not only that, the boards would have to support 5V logic (which we do). The layout problem is solved by our Shield-Shield by allowing you to switch between the old and new pin layout by just flipping a switch. In other words, the same Shield-Shield is basically backwards and forwards compatible, allowing it to work with nearly all Arduino shields. C'mon, you know that’s pretty awesome.
Modular and Compact
The BLEduino is great for prototyping! It’s breadboard compatible, tiny enough to fit in any enclosure, and compatible with standard shields when you need it to be.
Ease of Use
The BLEduino works for everyone. Not an expert in iPhone or Arduino development? No problem! Simply use our free iPhone application and/or our pre-made Arduino sketches (that use our included BLE arduino library) and you’re good to go! Our iPhone app is also fully open source and broken up into modules so you’re free to take what you need and ignore the rest if you want to develop your own app. There is no limit to what you can create and we're super excited to see what you build with it.
Sadly, Android does not have official support for Bluetooth 4.0. However, it is our top priority to provide the BLEduino app to Android phones once support is established. It's been announced that the next version of Android will include support so you can expect the app shortly after the SDK gets released. Rest assured, support is coming.
Open source goodness. The BLEduino is 100% open source in every way. The iPhone app, the schematics / pcbs, and all the firmware will be released to the community once we’re done with the development.
Why did we create the BLEduino?
We love creating smart and connected devices. While tinkering away one day, we realized that getting Bluetooth 4.0 (BLE) to work with existing projects wasn’t exactly lollipops and sunshine. So we decided to abstract all that nasty low level stuff, make a simple to use iPhone app, and bundle it all up in an Arduino-compatible board that the world could use.
What can I do with the BLEduino?
All sorts of things! That’s the beauty of it! In particular, since it's based on the Arduino Leonardo you can do keyboard and mouse emulation, a feature that's uncommon on other boards. Here are a few examples of things you can do with the BLEduino (all of these are live in our video):
Here are a few unique ones to BLEduino:
These are just a few of the awesome things you can build with the BLEduino. Also, BLEduinos can communicate with each other via a hub (your phone or computer) enabling even more complex scenarios. Helicopter army anyone?
- Arduino Software Compatible
- Arduino Hardware Compatible
- Bluetooth 4.0 (Low Energy)
- Very small (~ 0.9" x 1.7" )
- Includes BLEduino Arduino library
- Includes all-in-one iPhone application for all your experiments
- ATmega32u4 with a modified Leonardo bootloader.
- Supply Voltage - 5V
- Onboard 5V Regulator
- Onboard 3.3V Regulator
- GPIO Pins - 21
- PWM Channels - 6
- Analog Input Channels - 12
- Serial Communication: UART, SPI, I2C
- DC Current per I/O Pin - 40 mA
- Flash Memory - 32 KB.
- 4KB used by bootloader.
- SRAM - 2.5 KB
- EEPROM - 1 KB
- Clock Speed - 16 MHz
- LED’s for serial communication (RX, TX)
- LED for bluetooth connectivity
- Bluetooth 4.0 (BLE) - nRF8001
- Dedicated controller for nRF8001
- Expected BLE Range - at least 80ft (Currently testing)
Where we're at
The BLEduino has currently evolved over two designs and is expecting one last design. We started out using a third party BLE module but quickly moved on to our second design, which includes our own BLE module, a change that lowered the cost dramatically. Our third and final version will be smaller, sexier, and much more polished!
The Shield-Shield has also gone through some evolving with one last design in the production. The final version will allow you to switch the Shield-Shield between old and new pin layout. (More info in the FAQ)
We want our iOS application to be a living example of what easy Bluetooth integration should be. For this reason we are taking extra care in making sure our app is optimized and easy to understand, that means there is still work to be done. We are always adding things to the BLEduino so you can expect to see some additional modes and features.
The following is our estimated timeline (all in 2013):
- June - Finalize design details of the BLEduino and iOS application.
- July - Testing of both the BLEduino and iOS application and iterate if necessary.
- Aug - Release source code for the application and BLEduino designs.
- Sept - Test small pre-release batch of the BLEduino and order Final production run.
- Oct - Packaging and quality assurance.
- Nov - Fulfillment to backers.
We're a team of engineers, designers, and doers who build things that incorporate hardware, software, or both. We created the BLEduino because we wanted to simplify Bluetooth 4.0 (BLE) development and enable easy communication with smartphones. Our team:
Jonathan. Pixel lover & leader of the pack. Co-founder, designer, and CEO. Loves to talk about the pixels and the "essence" of things. Completely obsessed with the BLEduino and is occasionally caught staring at it for long periods of time.
Ramon. iOS terminator & back-end conquistador. Co-founder, developer, and customer development evangelist. Kickstarter junkie. Loves to talk about startups, tech, and everything in between.
Angel. Hardware extraordinaire & human SMD machine. Co-founder, hardware engineer, and front-end developer. Loves to talk about how insanely tiny our components are and how he hand soldered that one component you can barely see.
We hope you're as excited about the BLEduino as we are and can't wait to get easy Bluetooth 4.0 to everyone in the world!
Also, we'd like to give a special thanks to EngiWorks, the awesome folk that have been giving us office space since our inception.
If you'd like to know a little bit more about our story and why we're doing this, read the following Forbes article where we're featured:
Risks and challenges
As expected with any project, there are risks and challenges in delivering the BLEduino. First of all, we’re still working on finalizing our design. That means some issues may still arise, however unlikely that may be. Most of the “big” issues have been tackled but there is still much to do when it comes to validating the stability.
Moreover, testing takes time, and we don’t have a local way to produce PCB boards. Hence, having to wait almost two weeks for new boards means we always have to plan with that in mind and we would be lying if we said that wasn’t a challenge.
Lastly, we have partnered up with a great manufacturer and have taken into account the extra costs necessary to cover manufacturing risks (e.g. sourcing, delays). Furthermore, we have assessed our goal meticulously and repeatedly to ensure a successful campaign. However, that doesn’t guarantee there will be no surprises.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
For starters the Leonardo introduced a few changes to the pin layout upon its release. The ones relevant to shield compatibility (which we handle) are:
The I2C pins were changed from A4-A5 in the older Arduino’s, to D2-D3. The SPI pins which were in pins,11,12,13, as well as the ICSP headers were removed from pins 11,12,and 13. SPI can only be accessed through the ICSP headers in the Leonardo.
Switches. We allow you to switch I2C from the Leonardo's location (D2-D3) to the UNO's location (A4-A5). We also allow you to switch SPI back to pin 11,12,13 just like in the UNO. In general, with these switches you should be able to accommodate most shields. Please e-mail us if you think you have a shield that wouldn't work with our Shield-Shield.
Here's a list of the components in the Maker Kit:
1x Small Breadboard 2x 74HC595 1x Buzzer 1x Light Sensor 3x Jumbo RGB LED 10x LED 1x Servo 2x DC Motor 4x Buttons 2x Jumbo Button 2x Headers (40x) 3x Transistors 10x Resistors 10K 10x Resistors 1K 10x Resistors 330 1x Potentiometer 10k 1x Temp Sensor 1x Relay 2x Diodes 3x Capacitor .1uF 3x Capacitor 1uF 3x Capacitor 10uF 1x USB Cable 30x Jumper Cables Note: Although the description says, "a ton of components," please note it is not an actual Ton (2000lb) of components, but rather a figure of speech.
Everything in the Maker Kit plus:
1x LCD Screen 1x Robot kit 1x Motor shield 1x Game controller kit 7x RGB Jumbo LED's (Additional to the ones in the Makert Kit) A few battery holders Anything else we can think of
If you're new and just want to experiment we recommend you get the Maker Kit. It includes a lot of goodies you can play with and is quite affordable. We also recommend you get a soldering iron if you don't own one. There are a ton of options for those at affordable prices. Shoot us an e-mail if you want recommendations :).
The Shield-Shield was designed specifically to work with the BLEduino. That means that it is not compatible (as far as we know) with any other board. However, that doesn't mean we won't release Shield-Shields for your favorite boards in the future ;).
Of course! We'll be setting up a simple website for people to download instructions on all of our experiments. We'll also have a thorough and details reference site for the iPhone app.
Of course not! Kickstarter will probably ask you to add international shipping but just click the "In the US?" link and ignore it. Sorry for that.
Yes. We will work closely with our manufacturers to make sure it is.
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