You may not immediately recognize the name Cypress, however the chances are very good that you’re familiar with their products in one form or another. The items that their PSoC has been used in is simply too long to list — from Sonicare toothbrushes, to Adidas shoes, and even the touch screen in the Tesla Model S.
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Anyone looking to create wearables or low energy devices should find their latest announcement quite exciting: The PSoC 4 BLE is a PSoC that integrates an onboard Bluetooth low energy radio.

The specs of the PSoC 4 BLE are:

  • 48-MHz ARM® Cortex™-M0 CPU
  • Up to 128 KB Flash and 16 KB SRAM
  • Bluetooth LE (Smart) connectivity with Bluetooth 4.1:
    • 2.4-GHz Bluetooth LE radio with integrated Balun
    • -92-dBm Rx sensitivity, up to +3-dBm Tx power
  • Programmable analog
    • 4 x Op-amps
    • 1 x 12-bit, 1-Msps SAR ADC
    • 2 x Low-Power Comparators
    • 1 x Cypress CapSense™ touch controller with SmartSense™ Auto-Tuning
  • Programmable digital
    • 4 x universal digital blocks
    • 4 x 16-bit configurable Timer/Counter/PWM blocks
    • 2 x configurable serial communication blocks
  • 56-QFN (7 x 7 x 0.6 mm), 68-ball WLCSP (3.9 x 3.5 x 0.55 mm)
  • Flexible Low Power Modes
    • 1.3-μA Deep-Sleep Current
    • 150-nA Hibernate Current
    • 60-nA Stop Current
  • Wide Operating Range 1.7 – 5.5 V (Radio operational 1.9 V onwards)

If you’ve been messing around with combining stacks of different boards to get your work done, your mouth is probably watering at this point. The fact that the MCU + BLE Radio — with analog components like op-amps and comparators and a digital CPLD-like fabric — are all present in one single chip really sets this apart, and will greatly decrease the prototype time of any project.

On the software side the IDE has some unique features as well. The ability to visually create your custom circuit within the fabric, even extending out the BLE sections, will drastically change and simplify the workflow.

Another option they are offering is their PRoC, which is a bit more function-specific. They may not have the same flexibility as the PSoC, but they should be considerably cheaper.

The specs of the PRoC are

  • 48-MHz ARM® Cortex™-M0 CPU
  • 128-KB flash and 16-KB SRAM
  • Bluetooth Smart connectivity with Bluetooth 4.1:
    • 2.4-GHz Bluetooth LE radio with integrated Balun
    • -92-dBm Rx sensitivity, upto +3-dBm Tx output power
  • Modes: 1.3-μA Deep-Sleep, 150-nA Hibernate, 60-nA Stop
  • Analog and digital peripherals:
    • One 12-bit, 1-Msps SAR ADC
    • Four 16-bit TCPWM blocks
    • Two SCBs, configurable as I2C, SPI or UART
    • I2S for audio input
    • Flexible mapping onto GPIOs
  • Integrated library support for one- and two-finger gestures
  • 56-QFN (7 x 7 x 0.6 mm), 68-ball WLCSP (3.9 x 3.5 x 0.55 mm)

 

To get started developing with the PSoC 4 BLE, you can buy the Pioneer Kit at Arrow Electronics for $49 and download their free, drag-and-drop development software.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The kit comes with the following:

  • BLE Pioneer baseboard preloaded with CY8CKIT-142 PSoC 4 BLE module
  • CY5671 PRoC™ BLE module
  • BLE dongle (CySmart USB dongle)
  • Quick start guide
  • USB standard A to mini-B cable
  • Four jumper wires (4 inch) and two proximity sensor wires (5 inch)
  • Coin cell

Of course, after you’re done prototyping, you may want to move on to something a little more professional. Cypress is offering these units as pre-certified by the FCC for under $10.

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We got ours and have only had time to pull it out of the box and take pictures. We’ll dig in soon and see what we can do with this thing! Watch for updates as we explore the possibilities. What would you make with one?