Is Bluz a good fit for this application?


#1

Hello.I am new to the neighborhood. As an intro I am not a coding expert but struggle along, more of a hardware guy. In any case, I currently make a small device that primarily passes sensor inf to the serial port continuously. I realize this is not the intended use of BLE but I migrated the device from simple Arduino AVR base to BLE using SIMBLEE https://www.simblee.com/, primarily because it allowed me to expand the options on the device to display the sensor values on a phone or tablet easily without writing my own phone App and dealing with the Apple developer stuff. Primarily, I use this app to display the sensor values when the device is not connected to a computer USB Port. The device has no display so this works well for mobile applications.
This has worked ok but this company is utterly useless at support and we have our doubts if they will be continuing this device at all. Right now there is no inventory anywhere and questions to the company go unanswered for weeks or months.

I need to do another production run but am reticent to trust this company’s future.
So looking at BLUZ, I have some questions.

  1. Can serial data be sent to serial port (usb) continuously? (Power consumption is not a huge issue.)
  2. How to send that data through BLE to a Smartphone? I am guessing no other simple way than to develop my own app?
  3. Any simple way of using BLE to send the data to a webpage that can be used on any phone? I am guessing this would have to be a cloud based service and every device would be registered etc? Most of my users are not very savvy so this may not work.

I would be looking for help implementing whatever solution is best so if anyone with bright idea looking for a gig, contact me.
Thanks


#2

Let me try to answer your questions

First, bluz DK doesn’t have a USB port built in, and while it can talk serial, it would need a USB to Serial adapter. This isn’t the intended use of bluz and it is really meant more for wireless communication.

Bluz connects automatically to the Particle cloud, the device ID and registration is already built in. It can connect to a smartphone and talk to it as well, but this would likely require your own app. Alternatively, you can use the apps we already have to talk to it.

Bluz can also support the Nordic UART protocol to talk to a smartphone, so that is available as well.

Getting data to a website is fairly easy, you can see some of our example projects that do just that:


and

Both take sensor data and send it directly to a website. People can even login to the website with their own Particle username/password and get their data. There is fantastic products support surrounding bluz and the entire Particle ecosystem, so this is pretty easy to do.

Let me know if that helps or if you have more questions.


#3

Thank you Eric.
I would obviously design a custom board using the Bluz module and include a USB-Serial interface with FTDI chips which should work?
I would like to avoid developing a whole new App just for displaying sensor data as I have spent a lot on a custom software development on computers which is 80% of the use case. I just need a simple way to display the values on a phone when the user is mobile and not attached to a pc. I assume the only way to send the info to a website is through the particle cloud?
With the Nordic UArt protocol, would that require a custom app also?

Thanks


#4

Yes, bluz has a UART peripheral, so you could use any FTDI chip to convert to USB.

Going through the Particle cloud and getting data onto a website would be the easiest way, and ultimately is the use case for which bluz was really intended. Is there a problem you see with this approach?

Yes, the Nordic UART would still require some kind of an app. There is no standard way on a smartphone to read BLE data and display it, you would need to design your own.