I recently went hands-on with the PSoC 4 BLE, a Bluetooth-capable (ready-made, really) development board. I showed the physical layout of the board, the hefty and capable Windows-only free software needed to program the board, and gave a demonstration of CapSense and smartphone-interactive projects to show the board’s capabilities. I should say for each of these things, I really only glanced at them. There’s a lot going on with this board — especially at the software level — that requires more delving into.
Do you IoT?
We’re challenging makers to conceptualize and prototype Internet of Things projects using this new BLE-enabled dev board. A few of you have already written in with ideas, from voice and touch solutions for people with disabilities to home automation, hydro- and aquaponics projects, and home security proposals. We want to keep the idea ball rolling, and also offer an incentive.
“Maker Faire Edition”
Continuing with our tradition of rewarding makers from around the world with the opportunity to innovate for and showcase at the greatest show (and tell) on earth – Maker Faire! – one maker will be awarded $2,500 to cover travel and lodging to Maker Faire Bay Area’s 10th anniversary event in San Mateo, California, this May.
Projects can be simple or complex. There is no criteria for judging based on the difficulty or complexity of your build. Submissions can range from a simple temperature sensor to a sophisticated home security system. Instead of complexity, we are looking for projects that technically utilize the capabilities of the board and software, that demonstrate those capabilities, and whose overall design is novel and clever.
No doubt you’ll want to get ahold of a PSoC 4 BLE Pioneer Kit to begin prototyping. You can pick up a kit from Arrow Electronics, and in the meantime begin researching the PSoC 4’s datasheet and related documentation. I highly recommend downloading the PSoC Creator IDE so you can begin prototyping in software even while you wait for a kit to arrive.
The Creator IDE version 3.1 comes with numerous pre-loaded BLE projects for you to begin experimenting with, or even build upon for your Pioneer Challenge project. For example, here’s the design and then allocation of UART on the PSoC 4 for use in an example promixity project:
You simply drag and drop components from within the IDE, build your code (with one click), and program it. (You’ll need the actual board for the programming part of course.)
More than a hundred available components — from display (segment LCD) to thermal management (thermistors and fan controllers) to CapSense — await your development. New components are continually being added and you can even build your own to further customize your entry to this contest.
The thought, “Where do I begin?” has likely crept into your mind. Indeed, that’s part of the challenge. We want to see where makers go with this board, and how you integrate the IoT with your projects; not just how your project links up with the Internet of Things, but literally how you get there with this board and the software that powers it.
Another place to start is the 100 Projects in 100 Days Cypress published in 2013 with element14. These projects use the non-BLE version of the kit, but are a good place to begin thinking about your project and how to build upon previous maker successes.
The Challenge begins today! You have until 11:59 p.m. PDT on Monday, March 23, 2015, to submit an entry, after which the public voting and judging rounds will begin. You can submit up to 8 images and a 500-word description of your project. We’re not looking for fully-realized out-of-box competitors to commercial products — like Nest — but we are looking for potential and ingenuity.
You can submit up to three entries, and yes, this contest is open to international applicants as well.
Along the way if you’re looking for help with the baseboard or software to run it, or simply want to see what other PSoC makers are up to, you can visit and join our dedicated Google+ community for this contest.
We look forward to seeing your pioneering project, and of course to seeing the winner at Maker Faire Bay Area in May!