2017 bluz Wish List


#1

We are always trying to improve bluz and make it better and more useful. Our recent release of v2.1.50 was a major step in that direction, and we have some exciting new features that we plan to release shortly as well.

Still, there is time to figure out what is next for bluz. So we wanted to open the question to our community to get feedback and perspective on what you want to see from bluz over the coming year.

Any feedback is welcome, no feature is too small and no new hardware platform is too grand. Here are some of the ideas we have been kicking around, but we’d love to hear what you think!

  • Next Generation Bluz: Most likely based on the nrf52840. This would be bluz with an ARM Cortex M4F, 1MB Flash, and 256K RAM, as well as full Bluetooth 5.0 capabilities like higher data rates and longer ranges. A major step up in hardware specs from the current version.
  • New Gateways. The nrf51822 is limited in what it can do for a gateway, both in number of devices allowed and the data rates it can utilize. While the raspberry pi can be an alternative, it is limited to WiFi. The idea here would be a much more powerful gateway that can still use WiFi or Cellular to connect, possibly up to the limit of 128 devices on one gateway, with much higher data rates.
  • LoRa integration. A gateway add-on that would allow it to communicate over very long distances (think kilometers) back to a central gateway. We could design a system where one central node has a LoRa radio and an internet ready radio (WiFI or Cellular) and it can communicate with many LoRa<->BLE gateways in the field, which can then talk to many bluz devices. So it would allow for cheaper deployments than cellular but incredibly longer range.
  • Mesh. This has always been on our list and we are constantly balancing waiting for the official Bluetooth version versus choosing a proprietary method for now.
  • Something else entirely besides Bluetooth LE. We made bluz originally because there wasn’t a low-power option on the Particle cloud. But there aren’t other options as well, such as Ethernet, LoRa, XBee, or many other back-end technologies. What would you like to see us build?

#2

#3

Many of these sound great to me. My first choice would be increased range, so BT 5.0 would probably be more useful for me vs mesh but it’s an interesting idea that I might like to play with, especially if BT5’s range is less than I’d like.

My 2nd wish would be not having to change code to account for the radio interrupts. Not sure if that can be solved purely by software or would require a hardware change as well.

Finally any improvements to speed and battery life would always be welcome, especially if it could be done intelligently, ie bump up the bandwidth when needed, like an OTA update and then drop back down to efficiency mode afterwards. Particle did something recently where they only transfer the user code if that’s all that’s changed, it makes updates so fast you miss it if you blink :wink:


#4

How about the long-promised beacon support?


#5

That’s already checked in! https://github.com/bluzDK/bluzDK-firmware/commit/7a9f23e0c231b4f96d069729f83d5f19cb7f467c

Expect a beta release very soon with iBeacon and Eddystone support.


#6

It’s not really bluz hardware upgrades themselves, but more support of the existing platform that I’d like to see.

I’d really like to see a better battery shield that really lets the low power nature of BLE shine. Something that can boost a single AA cell to 3.3V with battery voltage brought to an analog pin and incredibly low quiescent current, along with a good example of waking from interrupt to send data once per minute in order to achieve several months (a year?) of uptime from one cell. Maybe a low battery signal brought to a digital pin.

And tested Blynk support of course :slight_smile: both via TcpClient and directly via Bluetooth.


#7

Beacon Support!