Bluetooth LE plus expanded memory enable over-the-air upgrades

June 15, 2015 // By Graham Prophet
Cypress Semiconductor’s integrated, single-chip Bluetooth Low Energy chips for the Internet of Things and other wireless applications now offer double the memory capacity. The PSoC 4 BLE Programmable System-on-Chip and PRoC BLE Programmable Radio-on-Chip solutions each now have options with 256KB of flash and 32KB of SRAM.

This allows over-the-air (OTA) firmware upgrades without the need for external memory. These devices are pin-to-pin compatible with Cypress’s original Bluetooth Low Energy solutions. The PSoC Creator integrated design environment (IDE) supports the 256 kB Bluetooth Low Energy solutions. Cypress has added support for multiple new Bluetooth Low Energy profiles in PSoC Creator, to cover applications, including Glucose Monitoring, Environmental Sensing and Apple Notification Center Service.

PRoC BLE is a Bluetooth Smart microcontroller with Cypress’s CapSense capacitive touch-sensing functionality, while PSoC 4 BLE adds intelligent analogue and programmable digital blocks. Both solutions integrate a Bluetooth Smart radio, a 32-bit ARM Cortex-M0 core with ultra-low-power modes, 256 kB flash memory, 36 GPIOs, and customisable serial communication blocks, timers and counters. Both solutions have an on-chip balun that simplifies antenna design while reducing board size and system cost.

Cypress has simplified the Bluetooth Low Energy protocol stack and profile configuration into a royalty-free, GUI-based BLE Component—a free embedded IC within PSoC represented by an icon—that can be dragged and dropped into designs using PSoC Creator. The IDE enables complete system design in a single tool. Alternatively, users of Eclipse and other ARM-based tools can customise their own Bluetooth Low Energy solutions on PSoC Creator and export the design to their preferred IDE.

Cypress is offering new low-cost BLE development kit modules featuring the 256 kB chips. The modules plug into the existing $49 CY8CKIT-042-BLE Development Kit, which gives users access to the Cypress Bluetooth Low Energy devices, while maintaining the design footprint from the PSoC 4 Pioneer kit. The development kit includes a USB Bluetooth Low Energy dongle that pairs with the CySmart master emulation tool, converting a designer’s Windows PC into a Bluetooth Low Energy debug environment.