Nordic Semiconductor today announces that InvenSense, a TDK Group company based in San Jose, CA, has selected Nordic’s nRF52840 Bluetooth® 5.2/Bluetooth Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) advanced multiprotocol System-on-Chip (SoC) to provide the core processing power and wireless connectivity for its ‘SmartBug™’ IoT module. The solution allows OEMs and IoT product developers to better understand real application signatures, environmental variations, and sensor algorithm behaviors in order to develop effective algorithms and evaluate what sensor types will be best suited in specific use-cases.
SmartBug is a compact (36.6 by 50 by 18mm), pre-programmed, wireless data collection module integrating multiple sensors—including accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, pressure sensor, temperature sensor, and humidity sensor—to remotely and accurately monitor IoT application data. Designed to be used during the prototyping/development stage, the kit enables the dedicated wireless collection of raw sensor data and intelligent algorithm-based insights for research, clinical trials, education, or industrial testing. The company says the module can be stuck onto “anything” to analyze it remotely and accurately, and to get intelligent data including quaternion outputs, angles, motion events, differential pressure and raw sensor data.
Some of the key algorithms run on the Nordic SoC include sensor fusion, HVAC filter monitoring, smart door open/close, asset monitoring, pedometer, motion gestures and air mouse. SmartBug’s multi-sensor and algorithm data processing capability is powered by the nRF52840 SoC’s 64MHz, 32-bit Arm® Cortex® M4 processor with floating point unit (FPU). The nRF52840 is Nordic’s most advanced ultra-low power nRF52 Series SoC and supports complex Bluetooth LE and other low-power wireless applications that were previously not possible with a single-chip solution.
In addition, the platform features an optional add-on board that includes a Wi-Fi module, SD-card slot, and TDK ultrasonic time-of-flight (ToF) sensor. Using the Bluetooth LE wireless connectivity provided by the Nordic SoC, or alternatively using the Wi-Fi, SD-card, or USB connectivity, the SmartBug raw sensor data, events, and algorithm outputs can be relayed to the Windows 10 SmartBug™ App/Graphical User Interface (GUI) on a compatible device to be visualized, streamed, recorded, and analyzed.
SmartBug uses TDK’s ‘Wake on Motion’ feature to wake up the device and begin wireless broadcasting. The device turns off when there is no motion and no established connection with the host, enabling power optimization and longer life for the rechargeable 290mAh Li-Po battery. Battery life is also enhanced thanks in part to ultra low power performance of the Nordic SoC. The nRF52840 has been engineered to minimize power consumption with a fully-automatic power management system that reduces power consumption by up to 80 percent compared with the nRF51 Series.
The nRF52840 SoC’s Arm Cortex M4 processor is combined with a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio (supporting Bluetooth 5.2, ANT™, Thread, Zigbee, IEEE 802.15.4, and proprietary 2.4GHz RF protocol software) and a generous 1MB Flash and 256kB RAM memory allocation. A new radio architecture with on-chip PA provides features -95-dBm RX sensitivity (at 1Mbps Bluetooth LE), a maximum output power of 8dBm, and a total link budget of 103dBm. The SoC is supplied with Nordic’s S140 SoftDevice, a Bluetooth 5-certified software protocol stack for building long range and high data throughput Bluetooth LE applications. The S140 SoftDevice offers concurrent Central, Peripheral, Broadcaster, and Observer Bluetooth LE roles, and supports high throughput and long range modes as well as advertising extensions.