Analysis

Dev kit combines sensor data & cloud connectivity

3rd June 2015
Barney Scott

Texas Instruments has introduced the next-gen SimpleLink SensorTag, a development kit that enables easy and quick integration of sensor data with wireless cloud connectivity. The SensorTags jump start development for the IoT, offering flexible development with multiple wireless connectivity options including BLE, 6LoWPAN and ZigBee, based on the SimpleLink ultra-low power CC2650 wireless MCU.

Ten integrated low-power sensors provide the industry’s lowest power consumption for multi-year battery life, and DevPack plug-in modules extend the kit’s functionality and programmability. Out of the box capabilities are also offered with a free iOS or Android app, not requiring programming experience. Connection to the cloud can be obtained in less than three minutes through TI’s IoT cloud ecosystem including IBM’s Bluemix IoT Foundation, and a WiFi demo version of the SensorTag will be introduced soon.

On top of cloud connectivity, the SensorTag ecosystem makes development even easier than before. The SensorTag kits come with ready-to-use protocol stacks, free Code Composer Studio IDE license, online training and 24/7 online TI E2E community support. In addition, TI’s cloud-based software development tools provide instant access to examples, documentation, software and even an IDE, all from the convenience of the web.

Expanding the standards supported by the SensorTag, there will be two different development kit versions. The multi-standard SensorTag, based on the SimpleLink ultra-low power CC2650 wireless MCU, supports development for Bluetooth Smart, 6LoWPAN and ZigBee. This SensorTag has a unique feature that allows developers to change between different 2.4GHz technologies by simply loading software images directly from the SensorTag app over-the-air. When the SensorTag is used as a ZigBee and 6LoWPAN device, it connects to the cloud through a low-cost BeagleBone Black gateway. For Bluetooth Smart development, it connects to the cloud via a smartphone.

The WiFi SensorTag will allow users to demo the SimpleLink CC3200 wireless MCU. Further details and availability information will be coming soon.

Both SensorTags come with 10 integrated low-power sensors including the TI OPT3001 precision ambient light sensor, TI HDC1000 integrated humidity and temperature sensor and TI TMP007 contactless IR thermopile sensor. Additional sensors include a 9-axis motion sensor (gyroscope, compass and accelerometer), altimeter/ pressure sensor, digital microphone and magnet sensor.

New to the next-gen CC2650 SensorTag is the ability for developers to customise their kit to fit their design with DevPack plug-in modules. The $15 Debug DevPack is based on the TM4C1294 MCU to add debug capabilities to the SensorTag. Plug it into the DevPack expansion header and debug the SensorTag with Code Composer Studio IDE, TI Cloud Tools, or IAR embedded workbench for ARM.

The Display (watch) DevPack adds a 1.35" ultra-low power graphical display to the SensorTag. The Watch DevPack is designed for development of smartwatches, refrigerator displays and any other application that has a need for a remote display. The LED Audio DevPack consists of four high power multi-colour LEDs and a 4W audio amplifier powered by a micro-USB for home automation and smart lighting applications. If developers cannot find a specific DevPack to fit their needs, they can create their own by downloading the Build Your Own DevPack guide.

"Key to helping customers derive value from the IoT is simplifying the connection of IoT devices to business applications. The SimpleLink SensorTag from TI with their rapid connection to IBM Bluemix and Internet of Things Foundation is a big step forward in enabling this and allows customers to rapidly drive business benefits from IoT projects," said Jack Desjardins, VP Ecosystem Alliances, IBM Internet of Things.

The SimpleLink multi-standard CC2650 SensorTag (CC2650STK) is available now for $29 on the TI Store and through TI authorised distributors.

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