TI's new SensorTag kit helps to jump-start Bluetooth low energy smartphone app development in minutes

November 02, 2012 // By Paul Buckley
Texas Instruments Incorporated has introduced the company’s Bluetooth low energy SensorTag kit which removes the barriers to entry for smartphone app developers who want to take advantage of the growing number of Bluetooth low energy-enabled smartphones and tablets.

The kit features a downloadable SensorTag App, sample applications, and requires no hardware software expertise.

TI has integrated six sensors in the kit to enable countless applications such as health and fitness, educational tools, toys and remote controls, and mobile phone accessories that can be controlled by a consumer’s smartphone, tablet or laptop.

Development is quick and simple. Developers unpack the SensorTag, download the free app to a smartphone, select a sample application, and demo an app in minutes using the SensorTag’s sensors. This gives developers a viable starting point to making a smartphone ‘appcessory’ prototype quickly using the CC2541 Bluetooth low energy system-on-chip (SoC). The CC2541 is supported by TI’s royalty-free BLE-Stack software, technical documents, reference designs and the TI E2E connectivity support community. An appcessory is a gadget that uses smartphone apps for control and monitoring.

“For manufacturers, Bluetooth low energy enables a simple and efficient way of connecting their application to the cloud through a smartphone, tablet or laptop. The SensorTag kit allows manufacturers to quickly and easily evaluate the benefits of adding Bluetooth low energy to their device or build new applications,” said Oyvind Birkenes, general manager, Wireless Connectivity Solutions, TI.

The SensorTag kit is currently aimed at iOS-based applications. The iOS SensorTag App used in the evaluation process can be downloaded for free here. TI plans to provide SensorTag Apps and support for Android and Windows 8 as more Bluetooth low energy-enabled devices roll-out.

The SensorTag integrates six MEMS sensors from third parties including InvenSense (gyroscope), Kionix (accelerometer), Sensirion (humidity and temperature), TDK (barometer) as well as a magnetometer and TI’s IR temperature sensor (TMP006). Additionally, several application developers have used the SensorTag to already deliver appcessories to market including Ace Sensor, Inc. and Byte Works, Inc.

The CC2541-based SensorTag kit complements TI’s Bluetooth offering as TI’s dual-mode Bluetooth solutions including the CC2564 Bluetooth v4.0 dual-mode QFN device, BlueLink 7.0, WiLink 6.0, WiLink 7.0, and