Nordic Semiconductor today announces that Code Corporation, a Murray, UT-based developer of image-based barcode reading systems, has selected Nordic’s nRF52832 Bluetooth® 5.2/Bluetooth Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) System-on-Chip (SoC) and nRF52840 Bluetooth 5.2/Bluetooth LE advanced multiprotocol SoC to provide the wireless connectivity and processing power for its ‘Code Reader 2700’ (CR2700) barcode reader and ‘Bluetooth Inductive Charging Station’ respectively.
The CR2700 platform is purpose-built for the healthcare industry. The IP65-rated durable barcode reader is sized to fit in the pockets of nursing scrubs and designed for use in point-of-care activities such as positive patient verification, bedside medication verification, phlebotomy, and a variety of other hospital workflows. When hospital staff scans a 1D or 2D barcode with the reader, the device can be programmed to provide a visual, audio, or haptic response to confirm that the barcode being read is correct, even if it is damaged or poorly printed. Additionally, the device provides features to track reader deployment dates and warranty information.
The patient and medication data collected by the barcode reader is transmitted via the Nordic SoC-enabled Bluetooth LE wireless connectivity to the nRF52840 SoC-powered charging station, which in turn relays the data to a host PC via a Bluetooth USB dongle. From the host PC staff can view the results of scans and all other relevant data.
The reader’s 1300mAh rechargeable battery can provide continuous scanning for 12 hours—or up to 50,000 scans—on a single charge, thanks in part to the ultra low power characteristics of the Nordic SoC. The nRF52832 has been engineered to minimize power consumption with features such as the 2.4GHz radio’s 5.5mA peak RX/TX currents and a fully-automatic power management system.
The nRF52840 SoC has ample processing power to handle the CR2700 platform’s proprietary protocol as well as encryption requirements. The SoC combines a 64MHz, 32-bit Arm® Cortex® M4 processor with floating point unit (FPU) with a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio (supporting Bluetooth 5.2, ANT™, Thread, Zigbee, IEEE 802.15.4, and proprietary 2.4GHz RF protocol software) with 1MB Flash memory and 256kB RAM. The chip supports all the features of Bluetooth 5.2 (including 4x the range or 2x the raw data bandwidth (2Mbps)) compared with Bluetooth 4.2. Designed to address the inherent security challenges that are faced in healthcare applications, the nRF52840 SoC incorporates the Arm CryptoCell™-310 cryptographic accelerator, offering best-in-class security.
Nordic’s nRF52832 multiprotocol SoC combines a 64MHz, 32-bit Arm Cortex M4 processor with floating point unit (FPU) with a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio (supporting Bluetooth 5.2, ANT™, and proprietary 2.4GHz RF protocol software) featuring -96-dB RX sensitivity, with 512kB Flash memory and 64kB RAM. The SoC is supplied with Nordic’s S132 SoftDevice, a Bluetooth 5.2-certifed RF software protocol stack for building advanced Bluetooth LE applications.
“The cost, availability, and size of the nRF52832 SoC were key features in our decision to select the chip for our CR2700 barcode reader,” says Ryan Hoobler, VP of Engineering at Code Corporation. “In the inductive charging station, the nRF52840 SoC’s ability to handle our proprietary protocol was a key feature.
“We developed our own application code and used Nordic’s SDK (Software Development Kit) for many firmware features and peripherals in the product. The SDK and a variety of easy to understand application examples on how to use the various features of the chip proved important in getting answers and basic application code up and running quickly,” adds Hoobler. “The company was also highly responsive to any questions we had.”