Nordic Semiconductor today announces that Axon, a Scottsdale, AZ-based company specializing in life protection technology, has selected Nordic’s nRF52832 Bluetooth® Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) System-on-Chip (SoC) to provide the wireless connectivity for its ‘TASER Pulse+’, a connected self-defense tool designed to reduce the risk and severity of injuries to consumers and suspects.
TASER Pulse+ is a lightweight Bluetooth LE-enabled TASER that, according to Axon, utilizes “less-lethal technology” and automatically triggers an emergency services alarm upon deployment, eliminating the need for the user to dial for help in a potentially life-threatening situation. When the user deploys the TASER Pulse+, the device sends an instant alert to the iOS- and Android-compatible ‘Noonlight’ app on the user’s Bluetooth 4.0 (or later) smartphone via a low latency Bluetooth LE wireless connection provided by the Nordic SoC. In turn the Noonlight personal safety platform notifies a dispatch team of the need to send immediate assistance (police, fire, and medical) to the user's precise location using real-time GPS tracking. Once paired to a smartphone over Bluetooth LE, the TASER Pulse+ remains permanently connected even if the Noonlight app is closed.
In operation, the TASER Pulse+ is capable of delivering neuro-muscular incapacitation from a distance of 15 feet or less, causing involuntary muscle contraction during its 30-second cycle providing the user with an opportunity to move to safety.
The TASER Pulse+ uses two CR123 cell batteries to achieve over one year of battery life, 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 that reduces power consumption by up to 80 percent compared with Nordic’s nRF51 Series SoCs.
Nordic’s nRF52832 multiprotocol SoC combines an 64MHz, 32-bit Arm® Cortex® M4F processor with a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio (supporting Bluetooth 5, ANT™, and proprietary 2.4GHz RF protocol software) featuring -96-dB RX sensitivity, with 512kB Flash memory and 64kB RAM. The nRF52832 is supplied with Nordic’s S132 SoftDevice, a Bluetooth 5-certifed RF software protocol stack for building advanced Bluetooth LE applications. The S132 SoftDevice features Central, Peripheral, Broadcaster and Observer Bluetooth LE roles, supports up to twenty connections, and enables concurrent role operation.
The S132 SoftDevice was a key feature in the development of the TASER Pulse+, with Nordic’s software architecture including a clear separation between the RF protocol software and Axon’s unique application code. This software separation simplified development and ensured the SoftDevice would not get corrupted when Axon engineers were developing, compiling, testing, and verifying their application code.
“Low power consumption was the main driver of our decision to use Nordic’s nRF52832 SoC in our TASER Pulse+,” says Annie Pratt, Director of Consumer Products at Axon. “The Nordic SoC’s low power modes allowed us to deliver the battery life our customers expected while still providing adequate range.
“We would not have been able to release the product in the required timeline without Nordic's SDK [Software Development Kit]. From a development standpoint, the separation of the SoftDevice from the application code made a lot of sense structurally, keeping the application code straightforward.”