‘ViewTag’ employs Nordic’s nRF52840 SoC to display and save flight information on luggage via Bluetooth LE connectivity
Nordic Semiconductor today announces that ViewTag, a West Chester, PA-based technology company, has selected Nordic’s nRF52840 advanced multiprotocol System-on-Chip (SoC) to provide the Bluetooth® Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) wireless connectivity for its ‘ViewTag’ smart luggage tag aimed at frequent travelers.
ViewTag is a permanent digital tag attached to all types of luggage to provide a convenient, environmentally-friendly alternative to the disposable paper bag tags used by airlines. When traveling with a partner airline, passengers can check themselves and their luggage in remotely via the airline’s iOS or Android app on a Bluetooth 4.0 (or later) smartphone. The flight information is then sent, displayed, and saved to the ViewTag device using the Bluetooth LE connectivity provided by the Nordic SoC. Once at the airport, users are then able to drop-off their luggage without needing to use a check-in kiosk and can track their bags throughout the airport handling process via the airline app.
ViewTag ‘wakes up’ with the push of a button (or when an external RFID reader/writer device providing an RF field is detected), enabling pairing with the user’s Bluetooth 4.0 (and later) smartphone or tablet and the transfer of new tag or image data to the device from the partner airline app. If complete and valid data is received it is securely stored in the Nordic SoC’s 1MB Flash memory on the ViewTag. The nRF52840 SoC’s 64MHz, 32-bit Arm® Cortex® M4F processor enables the latest tag data to be immediately displayed on the screen, while images are displayed once an RFID command is received. The SoC combines the Arm M4 processor 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.
ViewTag employs a single cell lithium primary battery that provides battery life of several years and approximately 3,200 screen updates depending on storage temperatures, thanks in part to the ultra low power operating characteristics of the Nordic nRF52840 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.
Nordic’s nRF52840 multiprotocol SoC is Nordic’s most advanced ultra low power wireless solution. The SoC supports complex Bluetooth LE and other low-power wireless applications that were previously not possible with a single-chip solution. 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 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.
“We selected Nordic’s nRF52840 SoC for our ViewTag device in order to save power, as well as reduce package size and development time. Battery life was an extremely important consideration to ensure the ViewTag battery does not need to be changed by the user,” says A.J. DiValerio, COO at ViewTag.
“In addition, we were impressed by Nordic’s documentation and technical support as well as the company’s regulatory and certification support.”