Tag Archives: Bluetooth Low Energy

High school student creates a smart wearable for Parkinson’s patients

OneRing monitors motor distortions and generates patient reports.

After school activities for the average high school student typically entails sports practices, music lessons and homework; but creating a smart medical device for a disease that affects 10 million people seems unlikely. That’s not the case for Cupertino High School sophomore Utkarsh Tandon. Tandon is the founder of OneRing, an intelligent tool for monitoring Parkinson’s disease.


OneRing is a wearable that captures movement data from a patient, algorithmically identifies Parkinson’s tremor patterns and classifies the severity. Tandon first became interested in studying the disease when he watched a video of Muhammad Ali, who has Parkinson’s, light the Olympic torch in 1996. After volunteering at a local Parkinson’s institute, the 15-year-old decided to build a company that focuses on improving the lives of those affected by this movement disorder. He began working on signal processing and machine learning algorithms, before evolving the concept and founded OneRing.


OneRing quantifies Parkinson’s disease movements and its mobile app leverages the data collected to generate smart patient reports that physicians can use to better prescribe medication. At the core of the device is its machine learning technology. The OneRing has been trained to model various Parkinson’s motor patterns such as dyskinesia, bradykinesia and tremors. A Bluetooth module encased inside the 3D-printed plastic ring allows it to communicate with its accompanying iOS app to provide time-stamped analytics about the patient’s movement severity during the day.

The ring itself currently comes in three sizes, each varying in diameter: 18mm, 19mm and 20 mm. Tandon and his team hope to develop a “one-size-fits-all” piece in the near future.


With this Kickstarter campaign, Tandon hopes to deploy OneRing to a local Parkinson’s institute where the device can be used in exams and sent home with patients. Ultimately he wants to bring OneRing to patients all around the world in hopes of suppressing the condition’s rapid progression. Interested in the cause? Head over to the OneRing project page, where Tandon and his team have already doubled their pledged goal of $1,500.

playDXTR is a new smart toy that monitors child development

Building blocks for kids just got cooler and smarter.

If there is one toy that has managed to be a staple in every kid’s play area, it’s probably building blocks. But in today’s screen-based world, digital devices lately have been the focus of playtime. Now, the analog building block just got a tech upgrade for the 21st century kid. PlayDXTR is a set of building blocks with embedded technology that can observe, monitor and quantify a child’s cognitive development.


PlayDXTR comes from the playful imaginations of Rene Lund, Mikkel Moos, Frederik Nielsen and Kenneth Madsen at DXTR Tactile. Their goal is to “bring toys toward the future by leveraging modern technology with good old-fashioned play,” and their latest product does just that.

27 different smart and magnetic blocks, called Kubits, make up playDXTR. With its built-in sensors, each Kubit can communicate with other Kubits by registering motion, direction, orientation and relative connections. An accompanying mobile app prompts children to construct things and arrange blocks in certain ways, which creates a stimulating and imaginative play experience for kids.

As the child plays with the blocks, the movement is monitored and analyzed, subsequently delivering data to parents about their child’s developmental progress. To name a few, parents will receive real-time information on their child’s critical thinking, problem solving, planning, memory, motor skills and attention span. Additionally, playDXTR offers insight to games and activities that can strengthen certain skills. What’s great about playDXTR is that it’s a fun toy for kids and a useful tool for adults.


Inside the waterproof, shock-resistant casing of the Kubit are RBG LEDs, a Bluetooth Low Energy module and motion sensors. Funds from the project will help the DXTR team assemble the next generation of hardware, which will include a 32-bit microprocessor, a low-power IMU and a rechargeable lithium polymer battery.

Intrigued? Head over to playDXTR’s Kickstarter campaign, where the DXTR Labs crew is seeking $50,000. Delivery is slated for April 2016.

SmartEgg connects all your remotes to your phone

A truly universal and eggscellent remote for the Internet of Things.

It seems like today we have remote controls for everything and keeping track of them can be a hassle. Our current home entertainment systems alone require more than one remote to rev up our TV, cable box, audio system and DVD player. Do we honestly use all the buttons on each of these remotes? Unlikely. The team at AICO Technologies are making things easier for us by replacing all of those remote controls with just one.


You may be thinking, “But universal remotes already exist!” True, but what’s been on the market is either only for home entertainment or smart home automation. What about the other appliances with controls in our house? Meet SmartEgg, an all-in-one smart remote that pairs to your phone. It not only controls your home electronics, but also your thermostat and any infrared devices via Bluetooth.

SmartEgg is backed with a cloud database that already contains a growing list of over 5,500 remote controllers and 125,000 infrared hex codes, so it can sync your phone to any of your devices. Additionally, SmartEgg has self-learning capabilities for the slim chance that your gadget is not in the database.


Since SmartEgg stores all the control keys of your appliances, you can combine keys from any of those controllers to fit your scene. Its user-friendly interface allows you to customize the control buttons by removing unwanted buttons and reordering them. Now you’ll have a control with only the functions you need. This is ideal for your home entertainment experience. The process of turning on your TV and DVD player, then switching to DVD input and pressing play, is minimized to a single click.

What really sets SmartEgg apart from other universal remotes is its smart technology. Living up to its name, SmartEgg interacts with other devices if certain conditions are meet. For example, it can mute the TV when you’re receiving a call or set the thermostat an hour early before you arrive home from work. The unit employs Bluetooth Low Energy proximity sensing, also known as iBeacon technology, which triggers a scene automatically whenever your phone is detected nearby.


The SmartEgg boasts a wireless reach of 20m (65ft) indoors and 50m (164ft) outdoors, as well as an infrared range of more than 10m (32ft). With SmartEgg, you no longer have the inconvenience of replacing batteries for your various remote controls. Its battery consumes less energy, making it last over 12 months.

Interested? Head over to the SmartEgg’s Kickstarter page, where the AICO team is nearing its $50,000 goal. Delivery is expected to get underway in February 2016.

mbed eval boards showcase focus on IoT software and connectivity

Chipmakers like Atmel are joining hands with ARM to bring the entire ecosystem under one roof and thus facilitate the creation of standards-based IoT products.

ARM’s mbed operating system is winning attention in the highly fragmented embedded software space by promising a solid software foundation for interoperable hardware and thus scale the Internet of Things designs by narrowing the development time.

Atmel has put its weight behind ARM’s mbed OS by launching the single-chip evaluation board for the IoT ecosystem in a bid to ensure low software dependence for the embedded developers. The leading microcontroller supplier unveiled the mbed evaluation platform at the recent ARM TechCon held in Santa Clara, California.

The mbed OS platform is focused on rapid development of connected devices with an aim to create a serious professional platform to prototype IoT applications. So IoT developers don’t have to look to software guys for help. The mbed stack features a strong focus on enhancing the IoT’s connectivity and software components.

Atmel mbed Xpro board

ARM is the lead maintainer for the mbed OS modules while it adds silicon partners, like Atmel, as platform-specific dependencies for the relevant mbed OS modules. Silicon partners are responsible for their platform-specific drivers.

Atmel’s mbed-enabled evaluation board is based on the low-power 2.4GHz wireless Cortex-M0+ SAM R21 MCU. Moreover, Atmel is expanding mbed OS support for its Wi-Fi modules and Bluetooth Low Energy products.

The fact that Atmel is adding mbed OS to its IoT ecosystem is an important nod for ARM’s mbed technology in its journey from merely a hardware abstraction layer to a full-fledged IoT platform. Atmel managers acknowledge that mbed technology adds diversity to embedded hardware devices and makes MCUs more capable.

Solid Software Foundation

There is a lot of code involved in the IoT applications and software is getting more complex. It encompasses, for instance, sensor library to acquire data, authentication at IoT gateways and SSL security. Here, the automatic software integration engine like mbed lets developers focus on their applications instead of worrying about integrating off-the-shelf software.

The mbed reference designs like the one showcased by Atmel during ARM TechCon are aimed at narrowing the development time with the availability of building blocks and design resources—components, code and infrastructure—needed to bootstrap a working IoT system. Atmel managers are confident that a quality software foundation like mbed could help bring IoT products to market faster.


Atmel’s mbed-enabled IoT evaluation board promises harmony between hardware and software. Apparently, chipmakers like Atmel are joining hands with ARM to bring the entire ecosystem — OS software, cloud services and developer tools — under one roof, and thus facilitate the creation of standards-based IoT products. Atmel’s mbed evaluation board clearly mirrors that effort to deliver a complete hardware, software and developer tools ecosystem in order to bring IoT designs quicker to market.

The platform comprises of mbed OS software for IoT client devices like gateways and mbed Device Server for the cloud services. ARM launched the mbed software platform in 2014 and Atmel has been part of this initiative since then.

mbed in Communications Stack

Additionally, Atmel has tied the mbed association to its SmartConnect wireless solutions to make the best of mbed’s networking stack in the Internet of connected things. The IoT technology is built on layers, and here, interoperability of communications protocols is a key challenge.

For a start, Atmel’s SAM R21-Xpro evaluation board is embed-enabled and is built around the R21 microcontroller, which has been designed for industrial and consumer wireless applications running proprietary communication stacks or IEEE 802.15.4-compliant solutions.

Next up, the evaluation board includes SAM W25 Wi-Fi module that integrates IEEE 802.11 b/g/n IoT network controller with the existing MCU solution, SAM D21, which is also based on the Cortex-M0+ processor core.

Furthermore, Atmel is offering an mbed-enabled Bluetooth starter kit that includes SAM L21 microcontroller-based evaluation board and ultra-low-power Bluetooth chip BTLC1000, which is compliant with Bluetooth Low Energy 4.1. Atmel demonstrated a home lighting system at the ARM TechCon show floor, which employed SAM R21-based Thread routers that passed light sensor information to an mbed-enabled home gateway. Subsequently, this information was processed and sent to the mbed Device Server using a web interface.

Majeed Ahmad is the author of books Smartphone: Mobile Revolution at the Crossroads of Communications, Computing and Consumer Electronics and The Next Web of 50 Billion Devices: Mobile Internet’s Past, Present and Future.

Gemio is giving friendship bracelets an IoT makeover

This piece of smart jewelry combines self-expression with the ability to connect with friends in-person.

Friendship bracelets first emerged on the wearable scene in the 1970s, and have remained pretty much the same ever since. In order to evolve with the times, one Seattle startup has unveiled more intelligent and interchangeable jewelry for today’s tech-hungry and fashion-savvy world.


Whereas most wearable devices have a uniform appearance, Gemio boasts modular Gemsets that can be snapped on and off with ease. These Gemsets can be programmed with various light and special effects from a palette of colors, so you can create an entirely new look each and every day. You can even swap out designs in a matter of seconds via its accompanying mobile app.

Crafted with a social component in mind, Gemio is the first wearable to focus on connecting people rather than the gadgets themselves. The bracelet employs much of the technology commonly found in existing trackers and smartwatches, such as Bluetooth, an accelerometer, a gyroscope and 20 LEDs, but applies them in a different manner.


Using BLE connectivity and a mesh network, wearers are able to sync their Gemios through gestures like high-fives and handshakes. Once paired, the bands alert its user to their friends’ proximity through the detachable Gemsets. The unit not only recognizes who you’re with and responds to what you are doing, it also illuminates when your friends are nearby, playing a signature “light tone.” (Think of it as a personalized ringtone, but in lights.)

What’s more, the responsive bracelet can detect various gestures and allows users to assign light effects to them. For example, wave hello and Gemio plays a light show, or twist your wrist to make it sparkle.


The startup was founded in 2014, with some of its earliest backers including Tricia Black, the first vice president of sales at Facebook. Gemio joins the likes of JewelBots and several others in developing wearable products that appeal to girls with hopes of enticing more to pursue STEM-related disciplines.

TrackR atlas locates your lost items

You’ll never misplace things (or pets) again!

Whether you’re an organized or messy person, you inevitably lose things or forget the last spot you saw it. What is more frustrating is that you make a bigger mess just trying to find it. You can keep a mental map of where you put things in your home, but wouldn’t it be much easier if your phone did that for you? Now with TrackR atlas, you can.


Fittingly named, TrackR atlas maps out your home and enables room-based item monitoring of your BLE-based items. This is the second project to come from the team that created the successful TrackR bravo, a small Bluetooth tracking device that attaches to your valuable items. Atlas works with bravo and other wireless trackers to better organize your home.

The TrackR atlas plugs into a wall socket in each room of your home, and utilizes both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Low Energy radios to detect the presence of items that have TrackR devices or third-party Bluetooth-based trackers attached to them. From the Android and iOS app, you can locate which room all of your items are in your home.


Atlas can also notify you when things move around or leave the house. This is perfect if you have pets that tend to wander off. Among its other features, atlas has remote ringing, Amazon Alexa voice-activation, and is backed by the Crowd GPS network so you can track your items when they are missing outside of your home. You never have to aimlessly search for things again!

The tiny unit has an 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi radio with a range of 230 feet (70 meters), and Bluetooth 4.0 with a range up to 98 feet (30 meters). It supports wall sockets for the U.S., UK, Australia and most of Europe.

Tired of misplacing things? Head over to TrackR’s Indiegogo campaign, where they have already more than tripled their $50,000 goal. You’ll be able to pinpoint the location of your valuables starting June 2016.

Introducing a personal assistant to help you remember your things

THE O will make sure you never leave your valuables behind again.

With people always on the go and in a rush these days, it’s easy to leave important things behind by accident. Even if you’re on alert, an item can slip out of your pocket or purse without your knowledge. But thanks to THE O, not anymore.


Billed as “a comprehensive virtual personal assistant,” the smart accessory will notify you as soon as you forget or misplace one of your belongings. THE O can easily attach to just about anything, from your keys and wallet to your jacket and briefcase. The wearable unit comes in three different models: original and octopus (gunmetal rhodium), luxury (gold plated), and light (rubber).

The accessory works by connecting to an accompanying mobile app via Bluetooth and alerting you only when it needs to, acting as a virtual leash when you’ve moved too far away from your item. THE O can also check your essentials for you before leaving the house in the morning or after getting up from lunch, storing GPS location and time then marking needed items on appropriate days.


Focusing on a minimized size and a waterproof feature, its creators have designed a custom PCB to fit into its special ABS shell. The devices are assembled through ultrasonic welding, and a small PET slip is used to connect to the circuit. THE O itself measures only 4mm x 39mm x 29mm in size, so it’s certainly mall enough to be slipped into a pocket, sewn onto an umbrella or clipped onto a bag. Aside from that, the device’s coin-cell battery boasts a life of around 18 months.

Currently live on Kickstarter, THE O team is seeking $48,606. Pending all goes to plan, the first batch of units will ship in February 2016.

SCOUTEE is the world’s first smart speed radar

This smart device transforms your phone into a real speed radar.

Miha Uhan was a baseball player and former member of the Slovenian national team. Turns out, he was also quite the Maker and entrepreneur. Having been around the game for quite some time, he realized that despite advancements in technology, pitching speeds are still measured using traditional radar guns and jotted down with a pen and paper. That was until now.


Meet SCOUTEE, the world’s first smart radar which uses your smartphone to record speed, capture video, save and analyze pitch parameters, monitor progress, and share results. The solution itself, which is much more convenient, compact and reliable than its conventional counterparts, is comprised of two parts: a hardware device and an accompanying mobile app.

The gadget, which is no larger than a bar of soap, can be easily placed on a tripod, clipped onto a fence, held in your hand, and even snapped onto your phone with a small magnet sticker. Once situated, its built-in Doppler radar technology can measure the speed of the ball and relay the data over to the mobile app via Bluetooth. From there, you can select pitch type, location and result right from on screen. The data is also saved so that you can keep tabs on your progress over time. What’s more, it even records video with pitch data overlay, making it super easy to share your talent with friends, coaches and scouts — ideal for creating those college recruiting videos!


As a former pitcher, Uhan was aware of how imperative it is for young players to protect their arms and train responsibility, so he insisted on including a customizable “pitch limit warning” feature that alerts a user whenever they’ve exceed their count. Additionally, SCOUTEE can be an invaluable tool for coaches to keep track of their players’ performance and stats.

The device is equipped with a pair of ARM Cortex MCUs — one tasked with communication, the other for running its Digital Signal Processing (DSP) algorithms — along with Bluetooth Low Energy connectivity, a range of up to 130 feet, an accuracy of +1/-1 mph, and a battery life of six hours with continuous use.


“Over multiple development phases we evolved the radar and processing part of the product dramatically. We started with simple of-the-shelf Doppler radar sensor combined with simple low-cost speed detection processing in our first working prototype. But to meet the final range and accuracy demands of the product we ended up with high-performance Doppler radar transceiver together with high-gain low-noise IF amplifying stages,” its creators reveal.

Are you a baseball player, coach or scout? Then you may want to head over to SCOUTEE’s Kickstarter campaign, where the team is currently seeking $50,000. Units are expected to begin shipping in April 2016 — just in time for opening day!

UC San Diego engineers develop a smart mouth guard

Researchers have developed an integrated wireless mouth guard biosensor for real-time monitoring of health markers in saliva.

Engineers at the UC San Diego have developed a smart mouth guard capable of monitoring health markers, such as lactate, cortisol and uric acid, in saliva and transmitting the data wirelessly to a mobile device. The idea is that, one day, the technology could be used to keep tabs on patients without invasive procedures, as well as track athletes’ performance or stress levels in soldiers and pilots.


The study, which was led by UC San Diego professors Joseph Wang and Patrick Mercier, focused primarily on uric acid, which is a marker related to diabetes and gout. Currently, the only way to monitor these levels in a patient are through blood tests. Wang explains, “The ability to monitor continuously and non-invasively saliva biomarkers holds considerable promise for many biomedical and fitness applications.”

The team of researchers developed a screen-printed sensor using silver, Prussian blue ink and uricase. To ensure that the sensors only reacted with the uric acid, the nanoengineers had to set up the chemical equivalent of a two-step authentication system. The first step involves a series of chemical keyholes that allows only the smallest biochemicals to enter inside the sensor. The second step is a layer of uricase trapped in polymers. The reaction between acid and enzyme generates hydrogen peroxide, which is detected by the Prussian blue ink.

That information is then sent to a circuit board as electrical signals via metallic strips that are part of the sensor. The board, which is no much bigger than a penny, is equipped with a microcontroller, a Bluetooth Low Energy transceiver, and a potentiostat. These small chips detect the sensor output, digitizes it and wirelessly relays the data over to a smartphone or computer.

Thus far, the researchers have been able to show that the mouth guard sensor could offer an easy, more reliable way to monitor uric acid levels; however, it has only been tested with human saliva and not yet actually in a person’s mouth. Looking ahead, the team plans to embed all of the electronics inside the wearable device so that it can be worn. This process will entail testing the various sensors and electronic materials to ensure their biocompatibility.

The next iteration of the mouth guard is expected to be completed in a year or so. Until then, you can read all about the study in its recently published article in Biosensors and Bioelectronics.

(Image: UC San Diego, Jacobs School of Engineering)

SmartHalo will make any bike smart

SmartHalo is a smart biking system that lets you focus on what matters the most — the road. 

Like a number of other companies who have created hardware solutions to bring older vehicles into the IoT era, one Montreal-based startup is hoping to do the same for bicycles. Those who’d rather not dig deep into their pockets to purchase a new electronic bike can now make their existing one “smart” for roughly $100.


The brainchild of CycleLabs, SmartHalo is a compact device that attaches to the handlebar of your old bike and provides you with easy-to-read GPS, distance, speed and other performance data. Aside from that, the intuitive navigation system will highlight the quickest route to work in the morning and safest way home at night along with a front headlight for enhanced visibility when it gets dark.

“We believe that technology should not be something you have to worry about – it should just work. We’re urban cyclists who wanted to deal with the main problems of biking in cities: navigation and security. We found that the existing solutions right now were just not suited for harsh urban environments,” its creators share.


Among its most notable features is its turn-by-turn navigation system. Simply input your desired location into its accompanying mobile app, tuck your smartphone away and SmartHalo will take care of the rest by guiding you with simple-to-follow directions via an intuitive light between your hands.

As if that wasn’t enough, SmartHalo will automatically monitor your activities. Unlike other trackers on the market today, you’ll never have to hit ’start’ or ’stop.’ Instead, the device will track your progress as soon as you begin pedaling, then display the detailed metrics in the app for later review. It even lets you set goals using any of its parameters, like calories burned, and then view your progress in real-time on your handlebars as you pedal.


Have you ever missed an important call or email because street noise and road vibration made them hard to notice? Well, you’ll be happy to learn that SmartHalo can also serve as your personal assistant while on-the-go. The mounted unit will notify you of any incoming calls and messages, and alert you should there be an impending storm allowing you to take cover.

As any urban cyclist will tell you, theft is an all too common occurrence. Fortunately, when you’re not around, SmartHalo will keep your two-wheeler safe from any burglars by triggering an alarm if its internal motion sensor detects movement. Moreover, the gadget can only be unlocked with a special “key” provided with the product and will seamlessly deactivate as you approach the bike.


“We designed SmartHalo to be beautiful inside and out. There is no on/off button – its sophisticated sensors detect your presence. When you finish your ride, it automatically shuts down. This leads to amazing battery life, to keep going as long as you do,” the CycleLabs team explains.

With standard use, its battery can last for approximately three weeks before having to be recharged via USB. In terms of hardware, SmartHalo is equipped with a Bluetooth Low Energy module for communication, low energy LEDs, an accelerometer, magnetometer and gyroscope, as well as a crypto authentication chip for enhanced security.

Ready to make your bike smarter? Then race over to SmartHalo’s Kickstarter campaign, where the CycleLabs crew is currently seeking $50,000. The first batch of shipments is expected to get underway in May 2016.