Nordic Semiconductor to Demonstrate Bluetooth 5 Enhancements at CES 2017

December 27 2016, 04:00
Nordic Semiconductor in collaboration with its design partners are unveiling latest Bluetooth low energy and IEEE 802.15.4-enabled innovations at International CES 2017 in Las Vegas. The Norwegian company will demonstrate the capabilities of its Bluetooth 5-compatible nRF52 Series SoCs. Product demonstrations include contactless payment, wearables wireless charging, thread networking, voice-activated remote control, educational platforms, home automation and Bluetooth 5 enhancements.

The company is also confirming details of exhibits, demonstrations, and design partner companies it will be hosting on its booth (#44744 in Sands A-D, Sands Exhibition Hall) at CES, from January 5 to 8, 2017. Among the exhibits is a demonstration of how Nordic's nRF52 Series Systems-on-Chip (SoCs) are increasingly being used at the heart of wearable contactless payment technology. The demonstration shows a Bluetooth low energy wearable using the nRF52832 SoC's Near Field Communication (NFC) interface for payment. Using the SoC's NFC capability for this purpose simplifies product design, lowers cost, and reduces space requirements.
Nordic will also show how it is helping advance AirFuel resonant wireless charging. The company will unveil wireless charging in a small form factor technology demonstrator with a wearable device that uses an nRF52832 SoC to implement a AirFuel Power Receive Unit (PRU).
Nordic will also showcase two home-automation demonstrations, one using Bluetooth low energy and the other using a Thread network based on the IEEE 802.15.4 low power wireless network standard. The latter demonstration will employ the nRF52840 SoC (and associated Development Kit), Nordic's latest addition to its nRF52 Series. The SoC is a multiprotocol, ultra low power wireless connectivity solution supporting Bluetooth 5, IEEE 802.15.4, ANT+, and 2.4GHz proprietary RF protocols.

In addition, Nordic will demonstrate the capabilities of the nRF52840 SoC and S140 SoftDevice (Nordic's latest RF protocol 'stack') - including the range and throughput enhancements of Bluetooth 5. The SoC and SoftDevice have been engineered to build on the mature architecture of the existing nRF52 Series SoCs to support complex Bluetooth low energy and other low-power wireless applications that were previously not possible with a single-chip solution.
Other demonstrations include the 'nRFready Smart Remote 3 for nRF52 Series' reference design targeting remote control OEMs/ODMs and manufacturers of smart TVs, set-top boxes, and digital media devices; the Power Profiler Kit, a low-cost and simple method to measure dynamic power consumption in embedded solutions; and a candy dispenser remotely controlled via Bluetooth low energy and the Physical Web (to avoid the need for a smartphone app installation).
Companies using Nordic's award-winning nRF51 and nRF52 Series multiprotocol wireless connectivity solutions will also demonstrate and talk about their products on the booth.
CA Engineering will be displaying its Secure/Remote Access (S/RA) Tunnel which provides direct and remote access to HomeKit-enabled Bluetooth low energy accessories such as a Yale Lock. The S/RA Tunnel receives commands over a Wi-Fi link and then 'tunnels' the commands to Bluetooth low energy accessories in a personal area network;
Tapptek will be showing a beer tap that uses Bluetooth low energy to communicate with customers' mobiles. Via the wireless connection gamification, marketing and messaging, loyalty and promotions are possible.
EnOcean will be unveiling a batteryless Bluetooth low energy switch module with NFC. The device expands the company's energy-harvesting wireless sensor solutions for the Internet of Things (IoT). The PTM 215B module enables the development of self-powered switching-applications for Bluetooth low energy lighting;
Vitamix is a manufacturer of high-performance blending equipment for domestic and commercial use and will be introducing the Ascent Series, which represents the company's most significant new product introduction for two decades.
ConnectSense will be demonstrating two sensors supporting Apple HomeKit. Users can monitor and control the sensors from their smartphone via a Bluetooth low energy connection. The ConnectSense Temperature & Humidity Sensor monitors sensitive home areas and the ConnectSense Smart Water Sensor detects water before it causes damage;
Plezmo will be showing its platform of intelligent Bluetooth low energy devices and easy-to-use coding apps to learn, play, and innovate with technology. Plezmo empowers kids to bring their innovative and personally meaningful ideas to life. While they focus on realizing their ideas, they are developing logical thinking and coding skills.
Nxt-ID will be showcasing IOT Stamp, an 'intelligently connected' module small enough to fit within any device like the wearable payment band displayed on the booth. The intelligently-connected devices communicate via Bluetooth low energy to provide collaborative services, while only connecting to the Internet when required to reduce power consumption;
Staaker will be demonstrating the Staaker follow drone. The drone is portable, fast, and has up to 30 min flight time. The drone has a sophisticated and precise 'follow' technology that ensures the user is always in the frame.

"Wearable devices incorporating payment solutions, wireless charging of smaller products such as smartwatches, and voice-activated remote control are among the highlights on the Nordic booth at CES 2017," says Geir Langeland, Nordic Semiconductor's Director of Sales & Marketing. "These demonstrations have been specially selected because developers are keen find out how to add such capabilities to their next generation of Bluetooth low energy wearables.
"Nordic's highly-integrated nRF52 Series SoCs and development tools enable them to do just that. Better yet, the recently introduced nRF52840 SoC-fully compatible with Bluetooth 5-brings with it the extra performance, unique security features, and extended throughput and range to cope with the most ambitious applications developers can dream up."

Payment solutions using NFC contactless technology are on the rise. According to a recent North American payment survey by Accenture Consulting, in 2015, 52 percent of consumers said that they are "extremely aware" of mobile payments and 19 percent of US consumers use their mobile's NFC capability to regularly make payments. Wireless charging is seeing similarly rapid growth. Analyst IHS, for example, reports that wireless charging receiver market grew more than 160 percent in 2015 over the previous year, as annual global shipments reached 144 million units. Annual shipment volume is expected to top one billion units by 2020.

The Nordic Semiconductor Bluetooth 5 developer solution for its nRF52840 SoC comprises the Nordic S140 v5.0 multi-role, concurrent protocol stack that brings Bluetooth 5’s long range and high throughput modes for immediate use to developers on the Nordic nRF52840 SoC. The Nordic nRF5 SDK v13.0-alpha offers application examples that implement this new long range and high throughput functionality. The existing Nordic nRF52832 SoC is also now complemented with a Bluetooth 5 protocol stack, the Nordic S132 v5.0, that enables development using the new 2Mbs high throughput mode.
Bluetooth 5’s high throughput mode offers not only new use cases for wearables and other applications, but will also significantly improve the user-experience with Bluetooth products. Time on air will be reduced, typically leading to faster more robust communication as well as reduced overall power consumption. Also with 2Mbs the prospect of audio over Bluetooth low energy begins to beckon, and whilst at this time not a part of the specification it is a very exciting prospect to be able to introduce real time audio using Bluetooth low energy into products.
“Long range modes in Bluetooth 5 include the introduction of two new data rates at 500kbs and 125kbs,” continues John Leonard, Product Marketing Manager at Nordic Semiconductor. “With associated coding in the radio they significantly increase range by up to 4x. Together with the increased maximum output power on the nRF52840 a total link budget of approximately 111dBm can be achieved. This is a very significant increased compared to previous Bluetooth standards and makes Bluetooth 5 a real candidate for in-home, whole-house coverage applications where penetration through walls and objects is a necessity.”
“Bluetooth 5 represents a quantum industry shift for Bluetooth and is why we think it’s really important to launch not just our new Bluetooth 5-ready chips but also all the software tools developers may require to start developing applications immediately,” comments Geir Langeland, Nordic Semiconductor's Director of Sales & Marketing. “Bluetooth 5 and Nordic’s latest nRF52840 and the production-ready nRF52832 open up a whole new world of possibilities for single-chip Bluetooth low energy applications, and so from a commercial-perspective there is no time to waste and therefore we wanted to ensure our customers had the tools they need to start developing Bluetooth 5 applications and products straight away.”

Bluetooth 5-ready SoCs
The nRF52832 System-on-Chip (SoC) is a Bluetooth low energy, ANT+ and 2.4GHz proprietary wireless connectivity solution. Built using a 55-nm wafer fabrication process, the nRF52832 incorporates a 64 MHz ARM Cortex M4F processor. The ARM M4F processor delivers up to 60 percent more generic processing power, offering 10 times the Floating Point performance and twice the Digital Signal Processing (DSP) performance compared to competing solutions. The processor enables the nRF52832 SoC to record an EEMBC CoreMark of 215. And at 90 CoreMark/mA the SoC is up to 2X as power efficient as competing solutions.
The nRF52832 SoC features an enhanced 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio featuring a maximum RX sensitivity of -96 dB, peak RX and TX currents of 5.5 mA and an on-chip RF balun.
The nRF52832 also features 512 kB Flash memory and 64 kB RAM, and incorporates a fully-automatic power management system that makes achieving optimal power consumption easy for designers. In addition, the nRF52832 includes a full range of on-chip analog and digital peripherals for glueless interfacing to external components such as sensors, displays, touch controllers, LEDs, keypads, motors, digital microphones, and audio Codecs. The SoC is available in 6 by 6 mm QFN and miniature 3.0 by 3.2 mm Chip Scale Package (CSP) packaging options.
The nRF52840 System-on-Chip (SoC) is a Bluetooth low energy, IEEE 802.15.4, ANT+ and 2.4GHz proprietary wireless connectivity solution. The SoC has been engineered to build on the mature architecture of the existing nRF52 Series to support complex Bluetooth low energy and other low-power wireless applications that were previously not possible with a single-chip solution.
Compliance with the Bluetooth 5 specification, coupled with increased maximum output power, enables the nRF52840 SoC to deliver Bluetooth low energy wireless connectivity with up to 4x the range or 2x the raw data bandwidth (2Mbps) compared with the Bluetooth low energy implementation of Bluetooth 4.2.
The nRF52840 SoC employs the proven 64MHz, 32-bit ARM Cortex M4F processor, includes a new radio architecture with on-chip PA (boosting output power and extending the link budget), a doubling of Flash memory to 1MB and a quadrupling of RAM memory to 256kB, a full speed USB 2.0 controller and a host of new peripherals (many with EasyDMA) including a quad-SPI interface. The nRF52840 can also operate from power supplies above 5V, such as rechargeable battery power sources.
Designed to address the inherent security challenges that are faced in IoT, the nRF52840 SoC incorporates the ARM CryptoCell-310 cryptographic accelerator, offering best-in-class security for Cortex-M based SoCs. Extensive crypto ciphers and key generation and storage options are also available.
The introduction of the nRF52840 SoC is accompanied by the release of Nordic’s S140 SoftDevice, a Bluetooth 5 compliant RF protocol software ‘stack’. Developers can begin developing for Bluetooth 5 today on the nRF52840 and the nRF52832 with the S140 v5-alpha and the S132 v5-alpha SoftDevices now available for download.
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