Communications

Explorer kit enables Bluetooth 5.1 experimentation

2nd July 2021
Mick Elliott

The XPLR-AOA-1 explorer kit from u-blox allows evaluation and experimentation with the Bluetooth 5.1 direction finding feature.

It is in stock at Digi-Key.

The included tag (C209) based on the NINA-B406 Bluetooth LE module and an example software will send out Bluetooth 5.1 advertisement messages.

The antenna board (C211) is equipped with a NINA-B411 Bluetooth LE module, which receives the messages and applies an angle calculation algorithm to extract the direction to the tag.

The angle is calculated by the u-connectLocate software, running on the embedded MCU in NINA-B411.

No additional processing is required. The algorithm calculates the angles in two dimensions by using the full array of antennas on the C211 board.

The XPLR-AOA-2 kit goes one step further for accurate indoor positioning.

Four C209 tags will send out Bluetooth 5.1 advertisement messages.

The C211 antenna boards receive the messages and apply an angle calculation algorithm to extract the direction to the tag.

The angle is calculated by the u-connectLocate software running on the embedded MCU in NINA-B411.

No additional processing is required, as the angle is delivered directly from the USB port of the C211 board.

The positioning engine software provided with the XPLR-AOA-2 kit runs on an external PC and is accessed through a web browser.

The user can upload a room floor plan via the graphical user interface and deploy and configure the antenna boards.

The positioning engine collects the angle data from all the antenna boards and uses it to calculate the position of the tags.

If the antenna boards are placed in vertical positions, then the position can be calculated in 3D.

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