PSoC 4 BLE Pioneer Kit Workshop

I attended a workshop on the PSoC 4 Bluetooth Low Energy Pioneer Kit, presented by Cypress Semiconductor and hosted by Future Electronics. It was after reading about it on the element14 community site that I checked if a workshop was held in Belgium as well, and luckily one was.

Kit

Every attendee, about 10 of us, received a PSoC 4 Bluetooth Low Energy Pioneer Kit (CY8CKIT-042-BLE) to work with.

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The kit contained the following parts:

  • BLE Pioneer Baseboard
  • PSoC 4 BLE Module
  • PRoC BLE Module
  • CySmart USB Dongle
  • USB cable
  • Coin cell battery
  • Jumper wires

In addition, we also received a printed copy of some hands-on labs, along with some information from Future Electronics in the form of a few issues of the Future Technology Magazine.

Workshop

The workshop lasted approximately 7 hours and was very well organised, everything that was needed was available. The only thing you needed to bring was your laptop. If you hadn’t downloaded the software in advance, USB keys were available to get the installation files.

The agenda was as follows:

  • Introduction + Software Installation
  • PSoC Creator overview and terminology + Lab 1: Blinking LED
  • Coffee break
  • BLE Solution overview and architecture + Lab 2: Setup a BLE Connection
  • Lunch break
  • Lab 3: IoT Sensor-Based Design
  • Coffee break
  • Lab 4: CapSense Design with BLE
  • Wrap-up

Session 1

After having received an introduction on Cypress and their products and having installed the software (PSoC Creator, CySmart and BLE Pioneer Kit), the first session started. We were given an overview of the software tools and the related terminology for both PSoC and BLE. After that, the first hands-on lab started.

The first lab’s purpose was to get familiar with the PSoC Creator development environment by doing the “hello world” of electronics: blinking the onboard LED.

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Session 2

The next session dove into the details of BLE: the BLE stack, how to establish a connection and how to communicate. We received an overview of the BLE component in PSoC Creator and got started with the next lab.

After becoming familiar with PSoC Creator in the first lab, the second lab took it a bit further by introducing the element we had just learned about: the BLE component. Once the BLE connection was set up, we were able to blink the LED by writing data via Bluetooth.

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Session 3

The third session was mainly hands-on. A brief explanation on the baseboard’s PSoC 5 was given. The lab focused on two things: the first one was to flash the base board’s PSoC5 with new firmware simulating heart rate data, the second part focused on connecting the heart rate PSoC 5 output to one of the PSoC 4 BLE input pins and make the data available via Bluetooth.

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Session 4

The fourth and final session started with a brief explanation of the CapSense capacitive touch sensors and moved on to the lab directly. In the last lab, we learned how to control an RGB LED (color and brightness) through BLE and how to read the value of the onboard CapSense slider. One of the additional exercises was to use the onboard CapSense proximity sensor instead of the slider.

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Conclusion

The workshop had a great balance between theory and hands-on exercises. Every part of the workshop continued building on the previous one, starting from basics such as a blinking LED and ending with live sensor data being passed via bluetooth.

The provided exercise documentation was very well described and illustrated, the kit contained all parts needed (including jumper wires) to get the exercises done.

The best part of it all ? The entire workshop was free and we got to take the kit home at the end of the day.  If you get the chance, try to attend one of these workshops, definitely worth your time and an excellent introduction to BLE and PSoC!

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