Soon, you could make everything in your life smartphone-app-controllable—or at least the things that have wires. A California-based inventor has taken to Kickstarter to fund the launch of the latest evolution in “maker” technology—an Arduino-compatible microcontroller that’s small, fast, and cheap, with built-in wireless communications. The RFduino has already exceeded its Kickstarter goal nearly 30 times over, with 10 days to go before its deadline.
Based on a Nordic Semiconductor 32-bit ARM system-on-chip that has built-in support for Bluetooth 4.0, the RFduino runs the same code as Arduino UNO and DUE boards, and it works with any type of sensor, servo, or other device that can communicate with an Arduino microcontroller. Bluetooth 4.0’s Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) feature allows the microcontroller to run on power sources as small as a button-cell battery for some applications—and the team has developed a “shield” for the CR2032 battery, as well as single- and dual-AAA battery configurations. It can also run off a USB power source or can be wired directly to a 3-volt DC power source.
As a result, the RFduino could be used for a whole host of devices that interact with mobile devices, including remote controls, proximity-switch devices such as alarms, and home automation applications that control LED lighting. It could also allow devices programmed with Arduino “sketches” to interact with each other over Bluetooth 4.0—potentially allowing for the development of swarms of smart devices that can talk both to smartphones and notebook computers and their environments.
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