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World's first Arduino-compatible micro-computer with Bluetooth low energy allows electronics makers to add smartphones and tablets to their projects

World's first Arduino-compatible micro-computer with Bluetooth low energy allows electronics makers to add smartphones and tablets to their projects

Wireless startup 'Open Source RF' releases the 'RFduino' for the rapidly-growing open source electronics maker movement which will support thousands of applications and is based on a Bluetooth v4.0 compatible module (the RFD51822) that employs Nordic's multiple award-winning nRF51822 SoC

Ultra low power (ULP) RF specialist Nordic Semiconductor ASA (OSE: NOD) today announces from wireless startup 'Open Source RF' – launched on – the world's first 'Arduino' compatible open-source micro-computer that can communicate wirelessly with any Bluetooth® v4.0 (which includes Bluetooth low energy as a hallmark feature) compatible smartphone (including the iPhone® 4S/5) or tablet (such as the 3rd and 4th generation iPad® or the iPad mini) and is based on a new RFD51822 module that is based on the multiple-award winning Nordic nRF51822 SoC ('System-on-Chip') developed by Nordic's long standing module partner and wireless specialist, RF Digital.


Called the 'RFduino' and making full use of the Nordic nRF51822's powerful on-board 32-bit ARM® Cortex™ M0-based processor, this fully FCC and CE-compliant 2.4GHz wireless coin-sized micro-computer is designed to allow both electroincs makers (e.g. students, hobbyists, amateurs) and professional developers (e.g. R&D engineers) to develop thousands of miniaturized Bluetooth low energy applications controllable from a Bluetooth v4.0 compatible smartphone or tablet in a very short amount of time at very low cost.


Indeed, Open Source RF claims that the overriding focus of the RFduino is on building new wireless applications. Makers need go no deeper into the technical design aspects than high-level application design, while design engineers have the option to use standard Nordic Semiconductor nRF51 Series SDKs (software development kits) to fast track a successful prototype into production.


Application examples for which Open Source RF has already developed source code include wireless multi-color RGB LED lighting, iPhone controlled racing cars, temperature sensors, house plant watering sensors, proximity and motion sensors, relay switches, audio controls, robotics, theatrical props and special effects, sound, light or button-press detectors, and various home automation and control devices.

Video of the RFduino available here.


The RFduino can be powered by anything from household outlets down to a regular CR2032 coin cell (watch) battery. There are several open-source RFduino and iPhone apps which are free to use, extend, and share.


Open Source RF also offers an assortment of stackable shield accessory boards that plug directly into 0.100-inch (2.54mm) standard spacing, solderless breadboards, or run fully stand-alone. These can also plug directly into each other to provide many combinations for quick prototyping and project building.


Accessory boards included in the launch are a USB power and programming board, RGB LED and push-button board, quad servo controller board, generic prototyping board, single AAA battery board, dual AAA battery board, and a CR2032 coin-cell battery board.


"Over the last 12-18 months there has been exceptional growth in the DIY [do-it-yourself] electronics 'maker' and open source markets supported by a growing interest in wireless generally," comments Open Source RF founder Armen Kazanchian. "In addition, Bluetooth low energy has revolutionized the ULP wireless market by offering no-additional-cost smartphone and tablet connectivity as standard and the ability to make everything and anything wireless for the very first time."


Kazanchian continues: "The electronics maker market is very important because today's makers are an extraordinary source of creativity who are seeding tomorrow's innovative products. I introduced the RFduino on, a forum for creativity and innovation, where it received an outstanding response."


"Any solution that allows interested parties to start developing wireless applications based on the class-leading performance, features, and programmability of the Nordic Semiconductor nRF51822 without incurring significant investments costs or technological barriers to entry can only be a good thing for the ULP wireless market as a whole," adds Geir Langeland, Nordic Semiconductor's Director of Sales & Marketing. "This is because it encourages free-thinking creativity, ideas, and talent in a way that in the past was probably restricted to professional organizations and technically qualified RF and electronics design engineers only."


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