Fingertip-sized Bluetooth LE modules designed for space-constrained products


I-SYST’s BLYST840 and BLYST Nano modules employ Nordic’s nRF52840 and nRF52832 SoC WLCSPs to deliver high processing power in tiny form factor

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that Brossard, Canada-based I-SYST, has selected Nordic’s higher-end nRF52840 Bluetooth® Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) System-on-Chip (SoC) and nRF52832 SoC, to power its ‘BLYST840’ and ‘BLYST Nano’ modules.

The nRF52840 and nRF52832 SoCs are available in wafer level chip scale packages (WLCSPs) to support both cost- and space-constrained wireless designs, and enable the I-SYST modules to be supplied in highly compact 14 by 10 by 1.5mm (BLYST840) and 10 by 7 by 1.6mm (BLYST) form factors. The compact size of both modules make them suitable for applications where space is at a premium, for example wearables and IoT sensors. Each module features an on-board ceramic antenna, crystal oscillator, and other peripheral components, as well as up to 46 configurable GPIOs. All GPIOs are routed to the edge of the substrate to simplify prototyping, and to reduce the risk of production difficulties.

The nRF5 SDK provides developers with great source code and examples to ease development
Nguyen Hoan Hoang, I-SYST

Complete Bluetooth 5 support

The BLYST840 module is powered by Nordic’s nRF52840 multiprotocol SoC, which features a powerful 64MHz, 32-bit Arm® Cortex® M4 processor with floating point unit (FPU) with a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio (supporting Bluetooth 5, ANT™, Thread, Zigbee, IEEE 802.15.4, and proprietary 2.4GHz RF protocol software) with 1MB Flash memory and 256kB RAM. The radio architecture with on-chip PA features -95dBm RX sensitivity (at 1Mbps Bluetooth LE) and a maximum output power of 8dBm for a total link budget of 103dBm. The chip supports all the features of Bluetooth 5 (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 IoT, the nRF52840 SoC incorporates the Arm CryptoCell™-310 cryptographic accelerator, offering best-in-class security.

The BLYST Nano module employs Nordic’s nRF52832 SoC, which also integrates an Arm Cortex M4 processor with FPU, and a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio featuring -96dBm RX sensitivity, with 512kB Flash memory and 64kB RAM. The nRF52840 is supplied with Nordic’s S140 SoftDevice—supporting high throughput and long range modes—while the nRF52832 is provided with the S132 SoftDevice, both Bluetooth 5-certified RF software protocol stacks for developing advanced Bluetooth LE applications. 

Firmware development and integration design

In addition to the modules, I-SYST offers a full suite of development boards, an integration design and firmware development service, as well as an open source high performance C/C++ software library, ‘IOsonata’. The software library includes highly optimized sensor drivers to assist with product development and speed time to market.

“The Nordic SoCs offer low power, multiprotocol support and plenty of memory in a small package,” says Nguyen Hoan Hoang, President, I-SYST. “But more than that, the nRF5 SDK [Software Development Kit] provides developers with great source code and examples to ease development, and if they run into difficulty the DevZone forum provides invaluable support.”