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
- (30 days)