Micros

Smartphone-programmable MCU offers low-power connection

5th March 2015
Barney Scott

Punch Through Design has released support for Node-RED to connect the LightBlue Bean MCU to the Internet. Node-RED is an easy-to-use visual programming software that runs on Mac and Linux computers, including the Raspberry Pi. With Node-RED’s help, Bean capabilities expand to support IoT development, allowing Beans to interact with other Beans or hardware and interface with Twitter, Facebook and email as well as make and receive HTTP requests.

Now, projects can be run on the Bean using just a coin cell battery, but still reach the Internet. This compatibility allows Beans to be used for a wide variety of Internet-accessible applications, including home automation, monitoring, sensing, student robotics, internet-enabled art installations, advertising and on-site marketing display creation.

“Adding Node-RED support to the LightBlue Bean opens up Internet-connected device development to audiences that want to build projects they can control with their smartphone, tablet or computer, but are unfamiliar with traditional coding,” said Colin Karpfinger, Founder and CEO, Punch Through Design. “Beyond DIYers, hobbyists and students, this new compatibility provides designers, developers and prototypers with an inexpensive way to build sophisticated IoT devices quickly, and we’re excited to see what will be created by the community over the coming months.”

The LightBlue Bean is an Arduino-compatible board with Bluetooth Low Energy that was crowd-funded and shipped Spring of 2014. Since then, tens of thousands of the coin cell battery-powered boards have been sold to a growing community seeking to create prototypes of connected devices.

The Bean showcases the LightBlue Ecosystem: software and hardware that make developing a Bluetooth-enabled product faster than ever before. The hardware (LightBlue Module) removes the risk of RF design and certification, while the software (LightBlue SDKs) standardises BLE development on iOS, Android, Mac OS X and Windows.

The LightBlue Bean is available from online retailers and directly from Punch Through Design.

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