Crowdfunding has changed a lot of things, but it's also changing how chipset manufacturers are tailoring their products. Nordic Semiconductor hasn't been a startup for some time - they're trading on the Oslo Stock Exchange. But they're watching how the hardware scene has been evolving, and they've noticed they can't be targeting their chips to only traditional manufacturers. Crowdfunding has taken over the most exciting section of hardware startups, and in return Nordic Semiconductor has started tailoring their strategy in response with a SDK that allow makers and large organizations to prototype low power bluetooth ideas rapidly.
The Norwegian-based firm has been in this game for some time. They pioneered this Ultra Low Power field seen in Bluetooth Smart since the 1990s, and are providing the wireless link in the majority of non-Bluetooth PC wireless keyboards and mice sold around the world.
"Now we see first time makers using our ICs (integrated controllers)," says David Edwin of Nordic Semiconductor. "There's some sort of disruption between crowdfunding and the maker movement, and we're just helping with our baby steps at Nordic."
Arduino seems to have become the chip of choice or makers due to its low cost and it's ability to serve a wide range of needs. Arduino boards are supported by a number of 'shields' which allow a modular approach to prototyping - such as for sensors, motor-driving circuitry, wifi, and LCD displays, for example.
Nordic Semiconductor's Bluetooth Smart SDK (also known as the low power Bluetooth) ports the nRF8001 SDK to an compatible set of libraries. This SDK is thrown up on GitHub for anyone to use or modify. It's said to be complete, open source, and free of charge, and provides some tutorials for beginners. More of this can be found in their developer zone.
Ma Chi-Hung, CEO RedBearLab states, "Nordic’s Bluetooth Low Energy SDK for Arduino contains a lot of ready to deploy templates which demonstrate the inner working of common Bluetooth smart application profiles like Human Input Device (HID) and Heart Rate Monitor (HRM). These templates also provide a very easy starting point for users who want to produce and test their own Bluetooth smart Services and Characteristics. This is a great step for Arduino providing as it does the first Bluetooth smart SDK for Arduino.”