Cypress Semiconductor last week introduced at the Bluetooth World trade show its new Bluetooth Smart module that provides Bluetooth Low Energy solutions for remote controls, healthcare, fitness equipment, home appliances, electronic toys, and other wireless applications. The new small-form-factor EZ-BLE PRoC (Programmable Radio on Chip) module is a derivative of the existing PRoC BLE Programmable Radio-on-Chip solution. The EZ-BLE PRoC module integrates the programmability and ARM Cortex-M0 core of the PRoC BLE, two crystals, an onboard chip antenna, a metal shield, and passive components.
With a package footprint of 10 mm x 10 mm x 1.8 mm, the EZ-BLE implements the Bluetooth 4.1 qualification and worldwide regulatory certification, which greatly simplifies the RF engineering design and development process. Also, this single qualification and worldwide regulatory certification process promises to cut wireless product time to market significantly. Another item that factors into faster time to market while streamlining customer support is the full provision of the silicon, software, firmware, and module hardware.
Dave Solda, director of the module business unit at Cypress, said the BLE PRoC module leverages the company's PRoC BLE IC and the success of its module portfolio. He added that the company's cost-efficient manufacturing capabilities for both silicon and modules will position it well for a long-term play in the Bluetooth Smart market.
Design Support of EZ-BLE PRoC
In speaking with Design News, Solda explained the design support by the PSoC Creator software:
"Designers looking to create Bluetooth Smart products must often use software tools from multiple vendors and develop complex firmware to meet wireless specifications," he said. "Cypress has abstracted the Bluetooth Low Energy protocol stack and profile configuration into a royalty-free, GUI-based BLE component that can be dragged and dropped into designs using PSoC Creator's integrated design environment (IDE)."
This is one aspect that enables designers to get started simply and quickly with EZ-BLE PRoC design. The application details of the new programmable-on-chip solution are embedded in PSoC Creator. The mixed signal development tool has several examples of all supported Bluetooth Low Energy profiles. Also included are hundreds of project examples to use to rapidly prototype design concepts.
MORE FROM DESIGN NEWS: A Peek Into Cypress' BLE Pioneer Kit for IoT
The $49 BLE Pioneer Kit gives wireless product designers easy access to the Cypress Bluetooth Low Energy devices, while maintaining the design footprint from the popular PSoC 4 Pioneer kit. The BLE Pioneer kit includes a USB BLE dongle that works with the CySmart Test and Debug tool. The CySmart Test and Debug tool works with Windows-based desktop PCs and notebook computers, as well as Android or iOS smartphones and tablets.
The EZ-BLE PRoC module can be evaluated by inserting the unit into the EZ-BLE PRoC Module Evaluation board. I plan to explore the EZ-BLE PRoC module on the bench and discuss my hands-on experiences of the EZ-BLE PRoC here on Design News.
The EZ-BLE PRoC module is currently sampling, with production expected to begin in May. The module is available in a 21-pad SMT that includes the shield and is ideal for space-constrained applications.
Don Wilcher is a passionate teacher of electronics technology and an electrical engineer with 26 years of industrial experience. He's worked on industrial robotics systems, automotive electronic modules/systems, and embedded wireless controls for small consumer appliances. He's also a book author, writing DIY project books on electronics and robotics technologies. His latest book, Make: Basic Arduino Projects, published by Maker Media, is on the Alabama State Department's approved Career and Technical Education (CTE) reading list. He's currently developing 21st century educational training products and curriculum focusing on Internet of Things (IoT) and Industrial Physical Computing for makers, engineers, technicians, and educators. Besides being an Electrical Engineer, he's a Certified Electronics Technician with ETA International and Alabama State Certified Electronics Instructor.
Design engineers, New England's premier design and manufacturing event, Design & Manufacturing New England, will take place in Boston, May 6-7, 2015. A Design News event, Design & Manufacturing New England is your chance to meet qualified suppliers, get hands-on with the latest technologies, be informed, and expand your network. Learn more here.