SAN JOSE, Calif. – RF specialist Nordic Semiconductor ASA (Oslo, Norway) will be demonstrating applications of its low-power 2.4-GHz ANT+ and Bluetooth wireless communications chips at the DESIGN West exhibition and conference taking place here this week. The demonstrations cover use in applications ranging from smart home and security through to sports, fitness and toys.
Nordic is exhibiting its own reference designs and sample applications based around nRF24L series chips for proprietary 2.4-GHz, and nRF51 series chips for ANT+ and Bluetooth protocols. In addition, other companies’ demonstrations include Nordic chips in applications that will enable designers to take advantage of a the market for "appcessories" – an accessory paired with an application or app. ANT+ is protocol for ultra-low power wireless networking.
Nordic will be demonstrating RF modules developed by Hosiden Corp. and Fujitsu Component. The modules are based on Nordic’s nRF51822 Bluetooth low energy and 2.4-GHz proprietary protocol system-on-chip and are supplied with Nordic's Bluetooth low energy stack.
Other demonstrations include a couple of Bluetooth low energy wireless mouse and keyboard reference designs based on the nRF51822 SoC; heart rate monitors based on the nRF51822 SoC and nRF51422 ANT system chips. There are also toys that display proximity detection and nRF51822-equipped helicopter and race car that can be remotely controlled from an Apple iPhone.
While Bluetooth and ANT+ are standardized low-power communications protocols that run at 2.4-GHz in many applications proprietary protocols can provide a more flexible option. Darren O’Donnell, Nordic Semiconductor’s director of sales and marketing for the Americas, said: "Within our SDK we provide a proprietary protocol called Gazelle, which customers can use or adapt."
ANT+ and Bluetooth low energy are comparable in terms of power consumption with both being designed to run of coin cells. "ANT has been on the market longer and gained some traction in sports and fitness peripherals. Bluetooth is supported natively in Apple's iOS," said O'Donnell.
Nordic is on booth 724, DESIGN West, which is organized by UBM Tech, the publisher of EE Times.