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APPLICATION: BLUETOOTH LOW ENERGY MODULE

Nordic nRF8001-powered module from LiSeng makes bridging the gap between healthcare products and smartphones simple

LiSeng’s Bluetooth v4.0 module can be incorporated into portable consumer devices without in-depth knowledge of RF engineering

LiSeng’s Bluetooth v4.0 module can be incorporated into portable consumer devices without in-depth knowledge of RF engineering

A Bluetooth low energy module, developed by Hong Kong ODM LiSeng, uses Nordic Semiconductor’s µBlue™ nRF8001 chip to help non-RF expert engineers simplify incorporation of Bluetooth v4.0 connectivity into healthcare products such as blood pressure monitors and blood glucose meters

Ultra low power (ULP) RF specialist Nordic Semiconductor ASA (OSE: NOD) today announces that Hong Kong-headquartered ODM LiSeng – a provider of design solutions from concepts to products - has developed and commercialized a Bluetooth® low energy module based on Nordic’s µBlue™ nRF8001 Single-Chip-Connectivity solution.

 

The module is a tested wireless device fully compatible with Bluetooth v4.0. The module is available in three sizes measuring from 15 by 22 mm to 23 by 33 mm and can be easily incorporated into a battery-powered healthcare product (or other portable consumer devices) without in-depth knowledge of RF engineering. The module includes a built-in PCB antenna, crystal, and supporting passives, and can be soldered directly to the target device’s PCB. The module has a maximum range of 10 meters.

 

The nRF8001 is a member of Nordic’s µBlue™ family and integrates a complete Bluetooth v4.0 low energy Radio, Link Layer, and Host stack for Peripheral (Slave) role operation, and features a simple serial interface supporting external microcontrollers of a designer's own choosing given the individual requirements of their application. (See “About nRF8001” below.)

 

Incorporating Bluetooth low energy into a device such as a blood pressure monitor (or other portable consumer device) allows it to communicate seamlessly with any Bluetooth v4.0-equipped smartphone, tablet computer or PC now appearing on the market. Compatible devices include Apple’s iPhone® 5 and iPad®, and handsets from Motorola, HTC, and NEC.

 

Data from the monitor, for example, could be transmitted to the handset, and from there, via the cellular network, to a remote server in a medical facility. Alternatively, the data could be sent via SMS or e-mail to a remote physician. Because the patient can remain at home while still being monitored the use of such systems promises to address burgeoning healthcare costs by cutting down on hospital visits.

 

Bluetooth low energy is a hallmark feature of the latest Bluetooth v4.0 specification and if certain qualification requirements are met the technology can be used to develop Bluetooth Smart devices (such as wireless sensors, peripherals, and accessories) that are compatible with any Bluetooth Smart Ready hub product (for example, a smartphone or tablet computer). (See “About Bluetooth low energy, Bluetooth Smart, and Bluetooth Smart Ready” below.) “The module will reduce time-to-market, simplifies design, and has low development costs for companies wanting to add a wireless bridge between their portable products and Bluetooth v4.0-equipped smartphones and computers,” says Danny Tsang, Sales Director of LiSeng Technology. “Because the customer doesn’t have to worry about designing and testing the RF circuit, they can concentrate on their area of expertise – the end product. In fact, there is no requirement for engineers to have any in-depth knowledge of RF engineering or Bluetooth technology to use the module.”

 

“RF design can be tricky and although Nordic provides development tools, evaluation kits, and technical support to customers wanting to develop their own wireless applications, sometimes it’s better for the customer to use a fully-tested module and focus on differentiating their end product,” says Geir Langeland, Nordic Semiconductor’s Director of Sales & Marketing. “LiSeng’s module is a good alternative if the customer wants to take advantage of the rapidly expanding Bluetooth v4.0 ecosystem. An added advantage is that the nRF8001 used in the module is the lowest-energy first-generation Bluetooth low energy chip on the market so will help extend battery life in the customer’s product.” The LiSeng Bluetooth low energy module has been commercially available since August 2012.

 

Bluetooth low energy has been designed from the outset to extend Bluetooth wireless connectivity to compact, coin cell-powered devices. Nordic has been at the forefront of the group that defined the Bluetooth low energy specification since becoming a foundation member of Nokia’s Wibree Alliance in 2006 (the Alliance became part of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) in June 2007). Nordic contributed decades of expertise – gained in producing successive generations of class-leading proprietary and interoperable (ANT/ANT+) ULP wireless connectivity solutions within a field that it pioneered.

 

µBlue™ is a trademark of Nordic Semiconductor.

 

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