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Bluetooth low energy module employs Nordic µBlue chip

Mon, 02/22/2010 - 11:10am
Oslo, Norway – February 9, 2010 – Ultra low power (ULP) RF specialist Nordic Semiconductor ASA announced that further to the Bluetooth SIG's official adoption of Bluetooth® low energy (as part of the latest Bluetooth Version 4.0 Core Specification), French multi-die system-in-package (SiP) design specialists, Insight SiP, has released the world's first drop-in single mode Bluetooth low energy SiP module.

The Insight SiP ISP091201 is a completely self-contained Bluetooth low energy SiP module that includes Nordic’s µBlue (“MicroBlue”) nRF8001 connectivity-on-chip solution integrating the radio, baseband and software stack (Bluetooth low energy PHY, Link layer and Host), plus an integrated antenna, 16MHz crystal and 15 supporting passive components. The module measures just 8 x 12 x 1.4mm.

The ISP091201 is also designed to be fully compliant with FCC and CE EMC requirements and requires no other external supporting components beyond an inexpensive external 8-bit microcontroller (from any vendor and used to run the upper Profile and Application layers of the Bluetooth low energy stack) and on-board 3V power source.

The module is housed in a QFN, LGA package and is miniaturized enough to fit into highly space constrained applications such as watches, health and fitness sensors (e.g. pedometer, heart-rate-, blood pressure- and glucose-monitors), remote controls and key fob-style proximity detectors.

The module is based on Nordic’s proven µBlue reference design which was made available to selected customers in November 2009. Nordic has also developed a master single mode emulator that allowed Insight SiP to test the communication link of its module. As a result, the module requires minimal engineering overhead in order to incorporate it into a product as a fully functional wireless connection.

The Bluetooth low energy part of Bluetooth Version 4.0 specifies two types of implementation, single mode and dual mode. Single mode chips consume only a fraction of the power of Classic Bluetooth, allowing the short-range wireless standard to extend to coin cell battery applications for the first time.

Because Bluetooth low energy wireless technology is an interoperable standard, the ISP091201 SiP module will be able to communicate with both single mode Bluetooth low energy chips from other manufacturers, and dual mode Bluetooth low energy chips that are likely to become a de facto feature in almost all new Bluetooth-enabled cell phones and computers.

"Product developers don’t need extensive RF experience to design-in our module into their first Bluetooth low energy product,” explains Diana Moncoqut, the Marketing and Sales Director at Insight SiP. “This is particularly relevant given that Bluetooth low energy is expected to grow ultra low power wireless into brand new markets and applications where engineers may not have previous experience of RF engineering."

"Nordic pioneered the 2.4GHz ultra low power wireless sector with its family of nRF24xxx proprietary products," comments Geir Langeland, Nordic Semiconductor's Director of Sales & Marketing. "Our first single mode µBlue solution is an extension of this heritage into the standards-based interoperable market sector, so we are extremely proud that our chip is included within the first single mode Bluetooth low energy module to come to market – just 8 weeks after the standard was adopted by the Bluetooth SIG."

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