$25 Texas Instruments SensorTag is a Bluetooth LE Devkit with 6 Sensors

Yesterday, I wrote about Wimoto Motes, tiny Bluetooth LE devices with several sensors that can be controlled and monitored via an iOS app, and soon by an Android app, as well as Linux devices. Each mote costs $39 plus shipping, and one commenter mentioned the price may be a bit too high. A Google search for “bluetooth sensor” immediately brings TI SensorTag, which looks somewhat similar, except it is a Bluetooth LE development kit, includes 6 sensors (but no light sensor), and only costs $25 including shipping.

TI_SensorTag

SensorTag Specifications:

  • Bluetooth 4.0 low energy (CC2541) SoC
  • 6 sensors connected via I2C:
    • IR Temperature sensor (TI TMP006)
    • Humidity sensor (Sensirion SHT21)
    • Pressure sensor (Epcos T5400)
    • Accelerometer (Kionix KXTJ9)
    • Gyroscope (InvenSense IMU-3000)
    • Magnetometer (Freescale MAG3110)
  • Power – Single cell coin cell battery (CR2032), quiescent current consumption of 8uA, allowing years of battery life.
  • FCC, IC and ETSI certified solution
  • Dimension – 71.2x36x15.5 mm, PCB: 57x25x1.5 mm

TI_SensorTag_AppSensorTag devkit comes with a SensorTag with an enclosure, one CR2032 battery, one screw, and a quick start guide.

This development kit is mainly designed for smartphone app developers as no embedded software designer or compiler is required.  Currently SensorTag only works with iOS and Windows PC, but it will eventually support Android, once a standard Bluetooth 4.0 LE (SMART) API is available. However, if you check out the Wiki, you’ll find some instructions are also available for HTC Once, and Linux devices (Raspberry Pi).

To get started, download and install TI SensorTag app to your Bt 4.0 enabled iOS device (iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod Touch, or the new iPad), press the side button on the SensorTag to connect the two devices, and play around with the sensors from the application.
The application also has a “Generate Source Code” button to show you the source code. Sample code can also be downloaded from TI website.

If you don’t have an iOS device, you can also install BLE Device Monitor to communicate with SensorTag from a Windows 7/XP computer fitted with CC2540 USB dongle, or possibly, another Bluetooth 4.0 LE compliant USB dongle (TBC).

Finally the company also provides CC2540/41 Bluetooth low energy (BLE) software development kit for both the controller and host, as well as the hardware files (Schematics, BoM, and PCB layout) for the kit.

If you’re interested in an introduction about Bluetooth 4.0 LE, and learn how to use and program SensorTag, you can watch the short 15-minutes video tutorial below.

For further information, visit http://www.ti.com/sensortag.

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easTexas Instruments Releases Android App for SensorsTag and Publishes Bluetooth Low Energy Training VideosGoogle Releases Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, Unveils New Nexus 7 TabletTexas Instruments SensorTag Unboxing, Getting Started with Bluetooth Low Energy in Linux (with a Raspberry Pi)Enter Wearable Tech Innovation World Cup 2013 for Cash Prizes and Free Development Kits Recent comment authors
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Marius Cirsta
Member

Now that’s more like it. Good stuff and the price is a lot better. Thanks for finding this and writing about it.

Paul
Guest
Paul

Damn, I specifically subscribed to TI newsletter to be in loop on such stuff, and instead I get week after week of boring news of BBBlack released 2 months ago and reminders that MSP430 still exists. You’re doing it bad, TI, you’re doing it bad since you raised MSP430 Launchpad price. SensorTag appear to have been released at least 1.5 months ago and no buzz completely. Well, CNX is to the rescue, as usual – another day, another impulsive buy ;-).

Well, CC2541 with 8051 core sucks grossly for hacking comparing to for example nRF51 with Cortex-M0. But yeah, RFDuino which is based on it is vaporware for another bunch of months, and SensorTag suddenly here. Makes sense to treat it as just “consumer” style reference BLE device. TMP006 IR temp sensor is actually pretty cool, worthy addition to a personal parts museum.

Paul
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Paul

@Paul
Actually, it was released in November last yeah, whoa: http://dangerousprototypes.com/2012/11/03/ti-bluetooth-sensortag-kit/

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[…] seen more and more Bluetooth 4.0 LE devices in the last few months including RFDuino, Wimoto Motes, TI SensorTag, and Scadanu Scout, so I thought it would be good to write a bit about Bluetooth. First, I’ll […]

Amit
Guest

SensorTag is a great product that we have integrated in our new app called WeatherRun. When paired with SensorTag, WeatherRun provides and tracks accurate Altitude, pressure and humidity. The target audience of the app is outdoor enthusiasts who need to know and plot the ambient conditions. The app can be downloaded at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/weather-run-bike-walk-hike/id599397919?mt=8

Klaus
Guest

Used the SensorTag for a recent project, developed an iPhone App that uses the SensorTag to monitor weight training, counts the number of repetitions and breaks it down into the type of movement the individual did, e.g. push, pull or curl here the link https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/weight-training-genie/id650541393?mt=8

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[…] is a first Bluetooth Smart development kit focused on wireless sensor applications. For details see SensorTag post. I’ve just received it today, and I paid the regular price […]

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[…] Texas Instruments CC2541 SensorTag is a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) development kit with 6 sensors (IR temperature, humidity, pressure, accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer) mainly destined at mobile application developers for iOS, and soon, Android 4.3. I’m interested in BLE, as I expect most new phones with come with BT 4.0 BLE (aka Bluetooth SMART), and this technology may help bring the Internet of things to life, allowing us to interact with sensors, smart appliance (e.g. light switch)… Since it just costs $25 (including international shipping), I decided to buy it, and give it a try. Today, I’ll show some unboxing pictures, and how to communicate with the kit using the Linux command line. […]

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[…] Low Energy) – This will be great for the numerous IoT hardware platforms based on BLE such as TI SensorTag. TI has already provided preliminary Android 4.3 instructions for their […]

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[…] Texas Instruments Sensortag is a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) development kit with 6 sensors (IR temperature, humidity, pressure, accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer) mainly destined at mobile application, which I recently tried in Linux. Until now, only it was only officially supported in iOS and Windows, but a few days after the release of Android 4.3 which adds Bluetooth Low Energy support, Texas Instruments quickly worked to release an Android App for their BLE devkit. […]

eas
Guest

I picked up one of these as a give away at a meetup recently. Pretty neat.

The “out of the box” functionality is pretty cool, but you can also create custom firmwares. Unfortunately, going that route isn’t exactly hobbyist friendly. The needed toolchain is available as a 30-day demo, but beyond that, it is $3K and there isn’t a great open source alternative.

I’d like to tweak the stock firmware so that the device is discoverable without having to press the button. Even with my meagre skills I might be able to accomplish that in less than 30 days, but if the firmware ecosystem was more hobbiest friendly, people might actually get in the habit of sharing their modifications.