Nordic-powered platforms enable multiprotocol translation between new and legacy fitness equipment

North Pole Engineering

North Pole Engineering’s WYÛR and CÔRD use Nordic nRF52832 and nRF52840 SoCs to convert between ANT+, Bluetooth LE, and other fitness sensor profiles

U.S.-based North Pole Engineering has launched its latest generation of sports sensor connectivity solutions enabling users to easily connect new and legacy fitness equipment that operate using different wireless protocols. The Nordic Semiconductor nRF52832 multiprotocol SoC-powered ‘WYÛR’ and nRF52840 multiprotocol SoC-powered ‘CÔRD’ devices use multiprotocol translation to connect common ANT+ and Bluetooth® LE fitness sensors to ANT+ and Bluetooth LE receivers, multiple devices to an Apple TV, or enable the user to receive ANT+ data in their virtual training app or Bluetooth LE-only cycling head unit, for example.

Multiprotocol translation

WYÛR and CÔRD convert Apple Watch® heart rate data to ANT+ or Bluetooth LE heart rate data using the company’s ‘heartbeatz’ app. WYÛR also converts Apple Watch, ANT+, or Bluetooth LE heart rate to Polar ‘5 KHz’ heart rate. Further, WYÛR works as a standalone cycling speed, cycling cadence, and running cadence-only footpod while also performing multiprotocol translation.

“For indoor cycling, most legacy power meters only broadcast in ANT+, while most smart trainers use Bluetooth LE,” explains Daniel Stallings, Director of Marketing and Business Development, North Pole Engineering. “Cycling speed and cadence sensors come in a variety of both ANT+ and Bluetooth LE, and of course every training app on your smartphone uses Bluetooth LE. 

We are big fans of Nordic and always have a positive experience when designing in and utilizing Nordic products
Daniel Stallings, North Pole Engineering

“On top of that, if you are using multiple devices, say a power meter, heart rate monitor, and a cadence sensor—and trying to connect to your Apple TV—you can only choose two of these devices to connect because the Apple TV only allows for two Bluetooth LE connections. WYÛR and CÔRD resolve all these issues.”

Thanks to the multiprotocol support of Nordic’s nRF52832 and nRF52840 SoC respectively, the two solutions allow users to send and receive data using ANT+ and Bluetooth LE protocols and data formats to accommodate the broadest range of fitness sensors, equipment, wearables, and mobile devices. Both the nRF52832 and nRF52840 SoCs are multiprotocol capable and feature full protocol concurrency including between Bluetooth LE, ANT+, and 2.4 GHz proprietary protocols.

In addition to the multiprotocol translation functionality, the WYÛR and CÔRD devices share other features including the simultaneous rebroadcast of data via both ANT+ and Bluetooth LE, and the capability to broadcast in multiple concurrent Bluetooth service formats depending on the needs of the user. The devices’ heartbeatz technology allows users to connect their Apple Watch heart rate output to any ANT+ receiver such as a smart bike or treadmill, without requiring the use of a smartphone to perform as a gateway.

Powerful sensor performance

The WYÛR platform also integrates a 6-axis inertial measurement unit (IMU) for cycling speed, cycling cadence and step detection, supervised by the Nordic nRF52832 SoC’s 64 MHz, 32-bit Arm® Cortex® M4 processor with floating point unit (FPU). The Nordic SoC’s on-chip NFC-A tag is also used to wake the device from sleep mode, to help preserve battery life. WYÛR employs a coin cell battery to achieve battery life from a couple of months to over one year depending on usage and configuration, thanks in part to the ultra low power characteristics of the Nordic SoC.

“We chose Nordic’s nRF52832 and nRF52840 SoCs for a variety of reasons with low power consumption and generous memory capacity being two major drivers, but the most important factor is the ability to simultaneously communicate in ANT+ and Bluetooth LE,” says Stallings.

“We are big fans of Nordic and always have a positive experience when designing in and utilizing Nordic products, while the detailed nature of Nordic’s documentation is also a major factor in our decision to use Nordic chips.”