Espruino Puck.js on KickStarter

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  • We've just launched a new KickStarter!

    It's for a Bluetooth Beacon that runs JavaScript, using the nRF52832 - a power-efficient ARM microcontroller with Bluetooth 5.0, 64kB RAM and 512kB ROM.

    Please back us! I'm really excited about this - especially with the whole IP over Bluetooth thing that'll hopefully be gaining popularity soon!­puckjs-the-ground-breaking-bluetooth-bea­con

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  • Looks great. So nearly bought a pack of Estimotes recently - glad I didn't - backed!!

  • :) Thanks! I do have an Estimote, but I have to say I haven't used it as much more than a beacon (although does it actually do much more?)

  • Awesome! I'm glad you managed to get in on the nrf52, the nrf51 is a bit squishy for most projects. I especially like the effort you've put into the form factor and enclosure, it'll be great for people to start using immediately, perfect for a Bluetooth board.

    A couple of questions - why did you go with the individual leds over something like a neopixel? Simplicity + ease of use? Also, what is the capacitive sensing that's mentioned?

  • It's mainly power consumption - neopixels actually draw quite a bit of power even when off, and you want the maximum efficiency with a small battery. Also, if I went with an RGB module, they're often taller, and harder to source.... Going with 0603 LEDs means I have loads of choice and it's much less likely I'll have trouble getting parts when manufacturing.

    Also, nRF52 has loads of pins that I have no hope of all breaking out, so I can afford to use them for different things :) for instance one for powering the magnetometer so it can be turned off when not in use.

    The capacitive sensing is using the NFC aerial (which is a ring around the edge of the board) as a capacitive sensor - so there's an extra pin used with a feed resistor. I haven't properly tested it yet so I'm not 100% sure how good it'll be, so I'm trying not to make too big a deal out of it - but if it works well enough it might even be able to measure soil moisture (coarsely) :)

  • Fair enough, I didn't realise they were so hungry!

    I wonder whether you could do non-contact AC voltage detention with it that antenna...

    Nice kickstarter page btw, good luck!

  • Thanks! Hmm, not sure - it's possible. You might be able check the voltage on it and check if it's oscillating up and down - I might leave that for you to try when it's released! :)

  • Congratulations - @Gordon! ~23h to get to 100%! --- 23:06 'exactly'! The 331st backer carried the baton over the 100% finish line...

    Now the work begins: Not only for @Gordon, but for us - the already existing community - to rally for reaching stretch goals!

    The puck came flying as a great surprise! - Conclusion: any board that wants to find a market needs to have (wireless) network communication integrated. Without that, it just doesn't go anywhere... last but not least it's called IoT where I includes net.

  • Question: is the bluetooth code on the puck all open-source or are there proprietary binary blobs that are loaded?

  • If anyone's interested in having a more in-depth look at the beacon, there's a WebGL version here - use the mouse and arrow keys:

    The PCB on there is an older revision so it looks slightly different to the real one, but it's mostly the same - I just haven't had time to update it.

    @allObjects we'll see how it goes in the next few days, but I think having integrated radio does make things pretty appealing to people now!

    @tve all of Espruino is Open Source, but the nRF52 uses something they call a 'softdevice' which handles BT and is a binary blob. Their reasoning is they can get that certified, so you can create BT devices without having to pay to get them re-done.

    It's great on nRF52 where you have 64kB RAM - but it sucks on the cheap nRF51s where you have 16kB and the stack takes up 10 of it!

  • With personal computers - desktop, laptop, tablets, phablets,... - all having bluetooth - and cellphones becoming omnipresent and more an more powerful, they can be seen as hubs and can act as the PAN - Personal Area Network - or NAN - Near field communication Area Network - and respective server. No need to put a full wifi stack on the gazillion small devices around them - very low power bluetooth is good enough. Enabling the relevant protocols to have 'xyz protocol over bluetooth' enables uniform software on any device and any layer.

  • I'd really like to see some kind of standard for BLE -> Internet bridging. It seems someone has done an example for MQTT, but as far as I can tell it is only one direction at the moment.

    Annoyingly it seems that most BLE implementations have a limit on the number of concurrent connections, so it is difficult to have a secure(ish) bridge to the net for more than 6 devices.

    We could come up with something that worked for MQTT, but I think the only sensible solution for bridging right now is to go full-on IPv6 - something I plan to implement later.

  • Not sure if this the bridging you are looking for, the Apple TV 3 & 4 are Apple HomeKit hubs... This is a project that talks HomeKit, that might be of some use:

  • Wow, nice! Well, that would be good - the worry for me is this is Apple, and with HomeKit they've intentionally kept it non-open... I think I'll get in trouble unless I sign up to the Apple MFI program for £££ and pay them per-unit.

    Honestly, as nice as it is, I'm pretty sure one of 3 things would happen if I used this:

    • Takedown notice
    • I get Sued
    • Apple changes HomeKit such that the code won't work any more (probably whitelisting only their device MAC addresses?)

    Nordic actually have a IoT SDK here:­Bluetooth-low-energy/nRF5-SDK-for-IoT

    Which includes code for a OpenWRT or Raspberry Pi-based router, which I think is the way forward for now. My understanding is it's supposed to all be standards-compliant, so the actual router manufacturers should be starting to implement it at some point.

  • I just love numbers... also just for their coincidental looks... almost like art.

    ('Snapshot' was taken with 23.5 days left, to be more precise).

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  • @allObjects :) You left a sitter for us to point out - 175% pledged and 75% time left

  • Nice! And it only worked out in USD at that exact time... I wonder if the exchange rates keep updating as well? Now is a good time for anyone outside the UK :)

  • I see that you are using Seeed Studios this time round if I remember on the last Kickstarter you used a UK company. I assume you switch to Seeed after the first production run of Picos, what happened there?

  • Can the Pucks talk to each other? On the nRF52832 page they mention "2.4GHz proprietary" is this the nRF24l01+ protocol? Can they talk to the nRF24l01+?

    If so this would be great for things where you wanna throw some sensors about the house but you don't like the idea of clogging up all the WiFi spots some routers impose. Then if WiFi is abosulely needed you could have them all communicate to the net via a Master Puck with an ESP8266 attached. That would be a system with BLE, NFC, WiFi and nRF24 without needing a smartphone nearby.

    If not, will the Puck support the Host capabilities of the nRF52? Then you could maybe pair to a puck to send it data.

    EDIT: Oh, maybe the ANT capabilities are useful here.

  • Bonus question: In the KickStarter you mentioned "Nordic Semiconductor started porting Espruino to their chips", was this the guys over at Nordic contributing, or was this you on their behalf, maybe paid? It doesn't really matter, just curious. It'd be cool if they were invested in Espruino and wanted to list it as a capability of their product.

  • Click for more numbers ;-)

  • @JackJamesHoward yes, it's Seeed for everything now. Basically I was a very small customer for the UK company, and it was kind of obvious that they had to focus time on more important customers. Seeed are far more responsive, and are a little cheaper too - so it just makes sense to use them :)

    Can the Pucks talk to each other? On the nRF52832 page they mention "2.4GHz proprietary"

    Yes, they can be 'Bluetooth Central' (like your PC would be), so can control other BLE devices. The nRF52 can communicate with nRF24, but it doesn't have to. Honestly I don't think I'll be supporting nRF24 comms, as I'm pretty sure it means you have to disable all the BLE functionality. Nothing stops you from doing a build without BLE and then accessing the radio directly though.

    if WiFi is abosulely needed you could have them all communicate to the net via a Master Puck with an ESP8266 attached.

    Yes, totally - ESP8266 would be easy to connect (but it wouldn't run off the CR2032 battery ;)

    was this the guys over at Nordic contributing

    Yes, it was - someone called Michael Dietz at Nordic did a whole load of work on it, and there's been a lot of support from them. Nobody's paid me to do any porting work, but that would have been awesome (if anyone from Nordic is reading ;)

  • @Spocki, was 'listening to the pillow' when the move over the 200% line happened... I'd hoped that it would be the 662nd backer... - 2 x 331st based on rough stats (~80.0$ per pledge over a big stretch). 331st was the one who pushed over the 100% line... Your graphics look pro... ;-)

    Now, it looks like the 667 backer made it happen... and the average is slightly down to $79.49, also indicated by the Wed line in the graph...

    The structuring of the rewards plays a great role how the pledging goes. For me - as an individual - having (at least) two devices rather than just one when the device is a networking device makes great sense, and it was the overwhelming sense. I was shooting more for a (mesh) network of beacons rather than a point t0 point experience... I'm looking for ward to get my hands on the pucks to play a 'new hockey' game in software.

  • Awesome... backed!

  • @Gordon So you mentioned the Espruino WiFi on you last Puck.js update.
    Is it going to be called that or can you tell me what you are naming the Kickstarter so I can keep an eye out for its launch?

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Espruino Puck.js on KickStarter

Posted by Avatar for Gordon @Gordon