ST BlueNRG Tracks People and Assets

ST’s newest BlueNRG microcontroller targets location services and reduces cost.
Joseph Byrne
Joseph Byrne

While everyone else goes high, STMicroelectronics is going low—low power, that is. The company has begun production of its third-generation Bluetooth Low Energy SoC: the power-thrifty BlueNRG-LPS. New to this generation is Bluetooth 5.3 compatibility and support for sub-one-meter location discovery. The latter enables asset and people tracking with greater precision than earlier Bluetooth transceivers, which could estimate the distance between radios but not their relative positions.

Like the previous BlueNRG-LP microcontroller, the LPS has a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) radio, Arm Cortex-M0+ CPU running at 64MHz, flash memory and RAM, security accelerators, and system peripherals typical of a small MCU. Targeting systems running on batteries for months if not years, power consumption is minimal. Even when the BLE radio transmits, the current peaks at only 4.3mA with a 3.3V voltage rail.

Industrial automation, building automation, health care, and consumer goods all employ battery-powered systems needing only low-speed wireless communications and basic processing capability. With its combination of BLE, an Arm-compatible 32-bit CPU, integrated peripherals, and well-regarded development tools, ST’s BlueNRG line is a good fit for developers of such systems. Implementing the BLE positioning specification, it should allow Bluetooth trackers to not only tell me that I left my keys in my house but also point me to their exact location.

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