Computer/Embedded Technology


Bluetooth LE programmable robot for sensor-based applications

25 March 2020 Computer/Embedded Technology

Nordic Semiconductor announced that Sphero, a Colorado, USA-based consumer robotics and toy company, has selected Nordic’s nRF52832 Bluetooth Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) system-on-chip (SoC) as the primary processor and low-power wireless connectivity solution for its ‘Sphero RVR’. Sphero RVR is a programmable robot for beginners to advanced coders, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) educators and students, as well as makers, hackers and hobbyists.

The robot is an all-terrain programmable and expandable product that can be driven right out of the box and customised for unique use cases and applications. For example, RVR could be used as a home security sentry, autonomous metal detector, or wirelessly controlled environmental sensor, among a broad range of user-coded applications. It features a diverse suite of sensors enabling the robot to interact with its environment, including ambient light, colour, infrared, accelerometer and gyroscope.

The Nordic SoC-enabled Bluetooth LE connectivity allows the user to wirelessly code RVR from the ‘Sphero Edu’ app on a Bluetooth 4.0 (or later) smartphone or tablet. The companion app is compatible with iOS and Android smartphones and tablets plus macOS, Windows, Chrome OS and Fire OS devices.

Coding options within the companion app are based on the user’s skill level. Alternatively, RVR can be coded using a Raspberry Pi, Arduino, a Nordic-powered micro:bit, or the company’s own ‘littleBits’ platform to customise the robot’s capabilities further.

As well as providing the robot’s Bluetooth LE connectivity, the Nordic nRF52832 multiprotocol SoC’s 64 MHz, 32-bit Arm Cortex M4 processor with floating point unit (FPU) handles the device’s power control, battery management, colour sensing, ambient light sensing and RGB LED animations.

The nRF52832 combines the Arm processor with a 2,4 GHz multiprotocol radio (supporting Bluetooth 5, ANT, and proprietary 2,4 GHz RF protocol software) featuring -96 dB Rx sensitivity, with 512 KB Flash memory in part for storage of RVR’s factory data and 64 KB RAM.

RVR includes a rechargeable, high-capacity battery to both power the robot’s motors, as well as cameras, robotic arms, air horns, or other external accessories that can be fitted to the robot. The nRF52832 SoC has been engineered to minimise power consumption with features such as the 2,4 GHz radio’s 5,5 mA peak Rx/Tx currents and a fully automatic power management system that reduces power consumption by up to 80% compared with Nordic’s nRF51 Series SoCs.

For more information visit https://sphero.com/




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