I am working on a home automation hobby project and looking to add proximity sensing feature on imp using a low cost BLE module that can act as ibeacon. The idea is that when a person with a smartphone is in vicinity there would be a detection made by the iBeacon module and information sent to internet over imp.
I am new to electronics and looking for pointers on what BLE module to consider and how to configure it to act as iBeacon and connect to imp.
Thanks in advance
I’ve looked into BLE stuff a bit, and it turns out to be more not-simple that one would hope. Firstly (not sure how much you know about these things, so apologies if you know this already) it doesn’t look like Apple has officially published the iBeacon spec. It has been reverse engineered - see http://stackoverflow.com/questions/18906988/what-is-the-ibeacon-bluetooth-profile and the blog posts linked within.
The modules I’ve been looking at are the Nordic Semiconductor ones. The NRF8001 interfaces with an mcu and is seems to be fairly complicated to set up, at least from looking at the Arduino libs available. I believe this would offer you the flexibility to create the BLE response (from the link above) that an iOS app would require to identify this as an iBeacon.
Depending what info you wanted to send back via the Imp, the NRF8002 would work for proximity purposes, but I don’t think it offers the configurability to mess around with the BLE advertisements. It has a couple of GPIOs, which could be used to trigger something in the Imp, but I haven’t looked at it enough to know whether you can get any info about the BLE Central out of it. Probably not.
Red bear Lab have some firmware for their BLE mini (based on a TI module) which could be the easiest way to get going with this - http://redbearlab.com/ibeacon/
EDIT: It’s possible you don’t need the iBeacon protocol at all. BLE comes with the idea of proximity ingrained into it, and peripherals can advertise their TX power. Combining this with the RX poser your phone/central sees, you can work out proximity. Doing something which isn’t based on the iBeacon spec would be a lot easier.
Thanks for the info…can the iBeacon from redbearlab also detect iBeacons in addition to transmitting iBeacon (it wasn’t clear from their product description).
Would checking for TX power help with unique identification of the BLE peripheral …I am thinking of scenario if there are other smartphones in vicinity that might be emitting BLE.