The Revolutionary Bluetooth Beacon ‘Puck.js’ Is Here

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Puck.js is a low energy smart device which can be programmed wirelessly and comes pre-installed with JavaScript. It is very easy to use and multi-functional, with a custom circuit board, the latest Nordic chip, Bluetooth Smart, Infra-red and much more, all enclosed in a tiny silicone case.

An easy to use graphical editor in it is perfect for any maker, either the one who is just starting out or the one who has been making for years. Anyone can start programming straight out of the box without any need of wires or software.

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Why should one decide on Puck.js?

Well, first of all Bluetooth Low Energy (or Bluetooth Smart) in an incredible technology. It is now built into virtually all Phones and Computers, and remember that Bluetooth Smart devices have a battery life of years.

There are several manufacturers who skim over the difficulties of programming their hardware very conveniently and other beacons are provided without software or left crippled by their boring factory-installed software. On the other hand, Puck.js is very unique as it comes pre-installed with Kickstarter’s Open Source JavaScript interpreter Espruino, which helps in making it very easy to use and implies that you can get started in just seconds, without any past programming experience.

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Specifications

Check out the specifications of Puck.js below:

  •       35mm diameter, 10mm thick
  •       Silicone rubber cover, ABS plastic base
  •       CR2032 210mAh battery
  •       MAG3110 magnetometer
  •        1x Tactile Button, 4x LED (R, G, B, IR)
  •        8x 0.1″ pins – 6x GPIO, 2x Power
  •        Bluetooth Smart 5.0, 80M range in Open Space
  •        PLUS Nordic Semiconductor’s brand new nRF52832 microcontroller. It is packed          full of amazing features

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  •        ARM Cortex M4F core
  •        Compatible with Bluetooth 5.0 – giving Quadruple the range, and double the speed        of Bluetooth 4.2
  •        Near field communications (NFC) built-in
  •        A massive 64kB of RAM and 512kB of Flash – double that of the previous                      generation nRF51
  •        64 MHz clock speed – four times that of the nRF51
  •        Over the air firmware updates
  •        12 bit ADC, timers, SPI, I2C and Serial that can be used on any available pins
  •        Temperature sensor

Input and Output

Puck.js can measure light, temperature, magnetic fields and capacitance, can control Infrared devices, produce any colour light and has a clever tactile switch that turns the Puck into one big button.

The sensors have been selected carefully so that they are as useful as possible in addition to being affordable.

The Magnetometer

There is digital compass on Puck.js called the magnetometer. Its orientation relative to the earth’s magnetic field in 3 dimensions can be calculated. It will also respond to a magnet close by just like a compass which implies that you can use it to sense all kind of things as follows:

  •        Detect when a magnet is nearby (i.e. door opening or closing)
  •        Detect the angle of a magnet relative to Puck.js (i.e. water level via a magnet on a          float)
  •        Measuring the rotation of Puck.js (you can use your Puck as a knob)
  •        Magnetic North, for orientation

Physical Web

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The Physical Web (Eddystone) lets Bluetooth devices such as Puck.js to market themselves to phones in the area. In case a phone user clicks a notification, they will be taken to a website set by the Puck.js. Take a look at the following video to have some idea about the Physical Web:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yaLPRgtlR0.

The advertising packets of Puck.js are completely configurable, therefore, it will also support iBeacon for Apple devices.

Web Bluetooth

Without downloading any software on your PC or your Puck.js, you can easily control Puck.js right away from a website wirelessly with the help of Web Bluetooth. The website just sends the JavaScript code it wants directly to the Puck and it will be executed.

At present, Chrome supports Web Bluetooth on Android, Mac OS, Chromebooks and Linux. Windows support will be available soon, and other browser vendors are adding support too.

Kickstarter have a native command-line and an easy Graphical User Interface application that you can use in case your platform is not supported.

Puck.js is not a Slave

Puck.js is capable of entering the Bluetooth ‘Central’ (or ‘Master’) role. As compared to other beacons, it does not need to be told what to do like a ‘Slave’ as it is capable to connecting to other Bluetooth Smart devices and controlling them.

In addition to this, Puck.js can also act as a Bluetooth Smart HID device as it can make your computer see it as a keyboard or mouse, so it can interact with your computer without drivers.

Internet Supported

Puck.js runs the JavaScript interpreter ‘Espruino’ for microcontrollers. JavaScript is one of the most popular programming languages in the world. It’s easy to learn and widely supported, running on everything from your Phone to the servers that power some of the biggest sites on the web.

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TCP/IP and HTTP Client and Servers (including WebSockets) are contained in Espruino which will be available in Puck.js. You can put your Puck on the internet by means of a suitable Bluetooth Smart to Internet gateway.

Common ESP8266 WiFi or SIM900 GSM/GPRS modules can also be wired straightaway to your Puck, allowing it direct access to the internet without a Bluetooth gateway.

Hacker Friendly

8 easy to use pins on a 0.1″ pitch (6x GPIO, GND and VCC) are included in Puck.js which can be soldered or used with conductive thread. You are capable of using them to control anything once they are connected.

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Open Source

Open source includes hardware, software, libraries and documentation. Former hardware designs and software can be checked out on GitHub right now.

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In case you require a case with specific attachments you could easily download the case design file, customise it, and print it off at a local hacker space or online print shop like i.materialise or Shapeways.

Puck.js is created by the Espruino developers

Gordon Williams, the creator of Espruino has manufactured Puck.js. Just like all the boards that Kickstarter make, any improvements to the software will work their way back into the other boards, hence, benefiting everyone.

Get Productive

You can start programming Puck.js in seconds. There is no need to install anything, you only need to visit the Espruino Website in the Chrome web browser and connect to your Puck.

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You can also make use of our example projects, illustrate what you want Puck.js to do by dragging blocks around, or start programming directly in JavaScript.

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However, there is more. You can also modify your code while it’s running, and can even debug it once connected, stepping though line by line and even inspecting variables without restarting, all totally wirelessly, with no additional hardware required.

What do you acquire with Puck.js?

You will be able to get the following with each Puck.js:

  • a Puck.js circuit board with all the components mentioned above
  • a water resistant Puck.js case – with silicone top, hard plastic base and fitting
  • a CR2032 battery
  • a ‘Getting Started’ card with instructions

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Current Status

Kickstarter has working prototypes and a manufacturing partner called Seeed Studios that they used for their first KickStarter, use for all current boards and are extremely confident in.

The software which Kickstarter shipped on over 12,000 boards now is the popular Espruino JavaScript and is exceptionally well-proven. However, once new features become available, you will also be able to update your Puck’s firmware wirelessly.