Design win; Nordic Bluetooth silicon runs crowdfunded BT beacon

July 29, 2016 // By Graham Prophet
Entering its last week on Kickstarter for delivery in December (campaign ends Friday August 5 at 8pm GMT) the $30 Puck.js has all the required programming and debug software tools built-in, and runs from a single Nordic Semiconductor nRF52832 Bluetooth low energy System-on-Chip (SoC) with built-in ARM Cortex M4F processor.

The open-source Bluetooth low energy beacon is so simple to program and debug, its designers assert, that almost anyone can do it wirelessly from a website with JavaScript; the Bluetooth low energy beacon is predestined as a development kit and finished product all in one small package that needs no wires or software.


On Kickstarter at of a Nordic nRF52832 SoC based Bluetooth® low energy (formerly Bluetooth Smart) beacon, named Puck.js, that is said to be so simple to program almost anyone can do it wirelessly from a website using a graphical editor or easy-to-learn JavaScript instead of C or C++ traditionally used by Bluetooth low energy beacon developers.


"Most manufacturers conveniently gloss over the difficulties of programming their hardware, and other beacons are provided without software or left crippled by their boring factory-installed firmware," says UK-based Puck.js creator, Gordon Williams. "Puck.js is different. It comes with our Open Source JavaScript interpreter 'Espruino' pre-installed, which makes it incredibly easy-to-use and means you can get started in just seconds, without any prior programming experience."


The intentionally hacker-friendly Puck.js is open source, supports both the iBeacon and Eddystone beacon formats, and will be supplied with firmware updates for the forthcoming Bluetooth v5.0 specification that will quadruple the range and double the speed of Bluetooth v4.2. Puck.js has a circular 35-mm diameter form-factor that is 10 mm thick, with a silicone rubber cover and plastic base. It is powered from a CR2032 coin cell battery and includes a magnetometer (digital compass), user-assignable tactile button, and four (Red, Green, Blue, and Infrared) LEDs.


It hosts a Nordic Semiconductor nRF52832 SoC, ARM Cortex-M4F processor, 64 MHz clock speed, 64 kB of RAM and 512 kB of Flash, built-in Near-Field Comms (NFC), Over-the-Air firmware updates, 12-bit ADC, timers, SPI, I ²C, and serial interfaces that can be used on any available pins, plus a temperature sensor.


Williams says that