Reports are coming in that makers near and far are beginning to receive their PSoC 4 BLE Pioneer Kits as part of the giveaways we’ve conducted over the past couple months in anticipation of the PSoC Pioneer Challenge. That contest will award one maker with $2,500 for travel to Maker Faire Bay Area in May, for their project that utilizes this new developer board’s capabilities.
Upon receiving the kit you’ll no doubt want to start playing with it — hopefully in the time you’ve been waiting for it to arrive, you’ve already explored the PSoC Creator (IDE) software and numerous datasheets and documentation available online. In our Hands-On post from last month, we showed a demonstration of the on-board CapSense slider. Now I want to show another feature of the board, the CapSense proximity header:
A header is thru-hole soldered to the board, allowing you to plug any wire into the header to create a quick, ad-hoc proximity sensor. For my example I used the 22AWG insulated wire that came with the kit. You can literally assemble this in under a minute.
Ready-made software will also allow you to quickly open, program, and build designs for the CapSense proximity header. You’ll find numerous examples in the PSoC Creator software, listed under File -> Example Project… These include the BLE_Proximity project and the various CapSense_ projects for diverse applications from proximity to trackpad implementations. For my example, a pre-built and packaged example is available here.
Download the file PSoC_4_BLE_CapSense_Proximity.zip. Unpack the zip to your desired local directory. In PSoC Creator, open the .cywrk file, the associated Project/Workspace file. The TopDesign will look like this:
All you need to do is insert a wire in the proximity header, attach the board’s USB cable to your computer running the PSoC Creator software, and build the program.
Your app will automatically prepare the CapSense Button & Proximity service; launch that service.
And in no time you’ll be able to turn a simple piece of wire into a proximity sensor for the PSoC 4 BLE Pioneer Kit! The whole process takes only a few minutes, and will immediately get you thinking about how to include proximity and capacitive sensing in your PSoC Pioneer Challenge design.
You’ll notice the wire sensor is quite sensitive, and touching the wire produces a momentary full-bar return. The range and results are designated by the component’s settings, which you can access by double-clicking the component in the IDE:
You can also access these settings in the component’s context menu, where you can also find the accompanying datasheet. Simply right-click the component and you’ll see a host of more options including a link to the component online, tuner, and macro generator, among other options:
All of this should get you quickly plug-n-playing with your PSoC 4 BLE kit, as well as contemplating your design for the PSoC Pioneer Challenge! Your project could win you an expenses-paid trip to the Bay Area in May to attend and exhibit at the 10th annual Maker Faire Bay Area.
Ask yourself, How would I use capacitive sensing in a Bluetooth-enabled design? What applications can you imagine for CapSense proximity technology? What about using the different thresholds — as designated by the different color bars — to create changes in interaction? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or submit your own design to the contest, and we look forward to seeing the winner in San Mateo later this year.