Bluetooth Smart dev kit for Arduino-based projects

February 17, 2014 // By Graham Prophet
Nordic Semiconductor has a development kit that adds Bluetooth Smart capabilities to the Arduino platform. The Bluetooth Smart SDK ports the nRF8001 SDK to an Arduino-compatible set of libraries. The SDK will be provided as an open-source repository on GitHub for use, modification, and expansion by developers.

The SDK is compatible with a range of Arduino, ChipKIT shields that employ the nRF8001 Bluetooth Smart connectivity device. Over 300,000 Arduino boards have been produced and are supported by a wide range of 'shields' that enable a modular approach to prototyping. Shields perform individual or combined hardware tasks and can be connected to Arduino-compatible boards using the standard Arduino interface format.

The Bluetooth Smart SDK is a port of the existing SDK available for the nRF8001 Bluetooth Smart connectivity device. The Bluetooth Smart SDK is available as a repository on GitHub where subscribers can fork their own versions and make pull requests and contribute to further improve and expand the SDK.

Support for the SDK is available at the Nordic Developer Zone (, a popular forum where developers using Nordic products can discuss solutions to challenges and share ideas.

The SDK contains many different examples including:

Human Interface Device (HID);

UART over Bluetooth low energy;

Heart Rate Monitor (HRM);



The software interface for the Bluetooth Smart SDK for Arduino has also been implemented on a variety of microcontrollers and microcontroller platforms such as ChipKIT, Maple, Teensy, mbed, and others. This wide coverage makes it easy to move a project that has been prototyped on the Arduino platform to platform and microcontroller of the engineer's choice.

The Bluetooth Smart SDK is complemented by the Bluetooth Smart BLE Arduino shield from Red Bear Lab. The BLE shield board meets the Arduino form factor and contains all necessary circuitry to enable an Arduino project to start communicating with Bluetooth Smart Ready products such as an iPhone 4S or later, smartphones using Android 4.3 or later, OS X Mountain Lion and later, as well as Windows 8 and later.

"Bluetooth Smart, also known as Bluetooth low energy, is a new technology and developers are keen to explore its possibilities. They are also seeking methods that allow fast prototyping and easier software