Monday, May 20, 2019

What is it the blessTags application main advantage comparing with other similar application?

     The main advantage and, in the same time, the main “feature” of the blessTags is given by the fact the blessTags application is a software package in continuous development – it is not a dead project. The blessTags was improved, and it is, and it will be improved continuously based on the users feedback, the wishes to implement new useful features and to increase the speed and the reliability of the application and, not in the last, to correct the potential errors. As a good example, in a few days, a new version with substantial improvements will be released.

      The Gadget gives another significant advantage to the blessTags comparing with other application on the market. The Gadgets are several practical and independent applications able to use one or more sensors from a specific SensorTag, in order to achieve a fully functional, and useful application.

     Not in the last, the ability to work with six different SensorTag it is another significant advantage. The blessTags application can manage the following SensorTags: CC2541DK, CC2650STK (both produced by Texas Instruments) Thunderboard React, Thunderboard Sense (Silicon Labs), Thingy:52 (Nordic Semiconductors) and  WICED Sense2 (Cypress).

Do you want to test it? Please download the free version: blessTags Lite.
Do you like it? Please install the full version: blessTags.
  
If You Appreciate What I Do Here, You Should Consider:

Thursday, May 2, 2019

BlessTags' discovering problem, for a paired SensorTag

The problem:

     Potential issue: the blessTags application is unable to connect to a specific SensorTag. The SensorTag paired with success (so, the Windows side is OK), but nothing appears in the “3. Select the specific device” field.


     For example, in the previous figure a Nordic Thingy:52 SensorTag is paired with the Windows 10 operating system, but even if we select this type of SensorTag, the blessTags application is unable to discover such kind of device.
     Each type of device (e.g., Nordic Thingy:52 or CC2650STK) has a specific variety of features or characteristics. The blessTags application must manage correctly (configure, get data, etc.) each of them. But to do this, the blessTags app must know with each SensorTag is connected, to use the correct set of services and characteristics specific for the corresponding Bluetooth LE device.
     The SensorTag identification is made, by the blessTags application, through the Generic Access service (UUID = 00001800-0000-1000-8000-00805f9b34fb or UUID = 0x1800) – to be more specific using the Device Name characteristic (UUID = 0x2A00), see the following figure (Generic Access service for Nordic Thingy:52).


     If Device Name characteristic string is not one of the known strings (see the following figure with the predefined IDs for each known SensorTag), by the blessTags application, the specific SensorTag is not recognized by the Windows application and is not listed in the “3. Select the specific device” field.


     The reasons for a such situation: (a) the user changes the SensorTag name (it is possible on ThunderBoard React, ThunderBoard Sense, and Nordic Thingy:52), (b) a firmware modification of the SensorTag and (c) the SensorTag has an older version of the firmware, on which the device has another name – like in CC2650STK case.

 

Solution:

  1. First, we must find the new name for the Sensortag (the Device Name characteristic string). To do this:
  • Push “1. Refresh SensorTag List” button;
  • In the field “2. Select type of SensorTag” choose “Unknown BLE device(s)” option, in the “3. Select the specific device” field an unknown Bluetooth LE device appears (“BLE device 0 [unknown]”);
  • Check the box “Enter in Developer Mode” from the main user interface;
  • A new window will open (the Developer panel) from here pushing the “Get Generic Access data” button. As a result, the following information will be presented:
  • From here we see that the Device Name (the string from the characteristic 0x2A00) is Thngy (an “i” is missing) not the Thingy – the default name that comes from the producer. So, at this moment we must change the SensorTag Device Name or change the name on which blessTags application recognize the SensorTag – we will choose here the second option.
  1. Second, update the blessTags application database with the new device name from the SensorTag. You have two option to get to the panel that allows you to do that.
  • From the “Developer panel” push the “blessTags configuration” button. From the new window that opens, check the “Removing part of the restrictions from the blessTags application” box;
  • From the main user interface, please push the “?” button => push the graphical icon with the BLE mark => from the new window that opens, check the “Removing part of the restrictions from the blessTags application” box.
  1.  From the last box (right down) labeled “Nordic Thingy:52” change the text from “Thingy” to “Thngy” and push the “OK” button.
  2. Now the blessTags application can quickly discover the Nordic Thingy:52 SensorTag without any problems.

If You Appreciate What I Do Here, You Should Consider:

BlessTags Lite (the free version): http://www.microsoft.com/store/apps/9mt2kgztfjf5


Friday, January 25, 2019

A new release of the blessTags application

      In this version, the software is able to manage a wonderful new SensorTag: Nordic Thingy:52 – produced by Nordic Semiconductor. The following SensorTag’s characteristics are supported:  accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, orientation, temperature, humidity, barometer, color, key, output lines, LED, and the sensor configuration. The integration with gadgets was done at the level of compass, wireless presenters for PowerPoint and remote control for PC applications.
      The blessTags applications fully support events (able to trigger a visual or/and an audible warning or/and a data recording process) and activities (several different actions will be executed when a specific event will take place) for the Nordic Thingy:52 SensorTag.
     Two new options (only in the full version) were introduced in the configuration panel. These options allow to: (a) set the priority for the blessTags application and (b) remove several of the blessTags restrictions. 
    Regarding the first option, from the configuration menu, based on it a priority level for the application can be selected. Five different priorities are allowed:   Realtime - highest priority, High, Above normal, Normal (the program priority by default) and Below normal. This option can be used mainly to improve the speed of the data acquisition, especially when we use a faster SensorTag like Nordic Thingy:52 (with a movement data acquisition up to 200 Hz) or a modified software version for the CC2650STK.
     The second configuration option removes several software restrictions, such as (a) the lower limit used to acquire the acceleration for the CC2650STK or (b) the Device Name (0x2A00 characteristic) – right now a custom name can be used for each SensorTag.
     For a short video demonstration please see the following movie.


Please visit blessTags online:


 

Friday, January 11, 2019


2 Instances of the blessTags app. – a practical application


    Starting with the blessTags version 11.2.6.0 a new configuration option was introduced. This option (the first option from the figure presented below) allows executing one instance or many instances (the number of instances it is not limited) of the blessTags application. The blessTags Lite application allows only one instance of the application to run at one-time moment. 




    In this mode, an instance of the blessTags application can manage one type of SensorTag (e.g. CC2650STK) and another instance of the blessTags application can manage another SensorTags (e.g. ThunderBoard Sense).  Using this approach, you can supervise several parameters from a plant, simultaneously in two different places, and generate warnings or sends emails when a specific state is recognized.

Media Player Classic control


    Another practical application is presented in the following.  In the Gadgets tools set, using the Remote Control application several different Windows programs (3 different types of media players, PowerPoint or Adobe) can be controlled using the buttons from a SensorTag. Other specific remote control commands can be easily defined by a user.
    In the following movie, it is presented a practical application to control the Media Player Classic using two different SensorTags. The first SensorTag is used to play/pause a movie or to get to the next video. To do this a specific predefined list sets of commands is used. The second SensorTag is used to control the volume of the Media Player Classic – one button for volume up and the second button for volume down. The association between the buttons and the Media Player Classic’s volume commands is done using the user-defined list of remote commands.

    Please watch the movie, do it all the steps presented and enjoy a custom application of two instances of the blessTags app.


Please visit blessTags online: 



Monday, December 31, 2018

blessTags configuration panel

        Starting with the blessTags version 11.2.6.0 a new panel, used to configure the blessTags application, was introduced – see the below figure. This configuration panel is active only in the full version of the blessTags application.


This panel brings the following new features:
  1. Unlimited number of instances for the blessTags application
        The first option allows to run an instance or many instances (the number of instances it is not limited) of the blessTags application. In this mode, an instance of the blessTags application can manage one type of SensorTag (e.g. CC2650STK) and another instance of the blessTags application can manage another SensorTags (e.g. ThunderBoard Sense).  The blessTags Lite application allows only one instance of the application to run at one time moment.
  1. The system tray icon
        Right now, the application has the possibility to be represented by a button on the taskbar or by a small icon on the system tray.



       Left clicking on this icon will minimize – maximize the blessTags application. By right clicking on this icon three different controls are accessible to the user in order to: close the blessTags application, configure the active SensorTag (the last SensorTag selected by the user) and disconnect the SensorTag (all the sensors embedded on the SensorTag will be configured in sleep mode and the Bluetooth LE communication will be terminated).
       A short demonstration movie with these two configuration options is presented below.

  1. Set the priority for the application
       This option is implemented from the blessTags version 12.0.0.0, only in the full version of the application. From the configuration menu, a priority level for the application can be selected. Five different priorities are allowed (from fastest to slowest):   Realtime - highest priority, High, Above normal, Normal (the program priority by default) and Below normal.


       In Windows, each thread is scheduled to run based on its scheduling priority. By default, in the Windows operating system (OS), all the threads have the same priority – Normal priority. The schedule of the OS assigns time slices to all the threads, in a round-robin fashion, starting with the threads with the highest priority. If none of these threads are ready to run, the system assigns time slices in the same mode (round-robin fashion) to all threads with the next highest priority. Every time when a higher-priority thread becomes available to run, the system ceases to execute the lower-priority thread and assigns a full-time slice to the higher-priority thread.
       This option can be used mainly to improve the speed of the data acquisition, especially when we use a faster SensorTags like Nordic Thingy:52 (with a movement data acquisition up to 200 Hz) or a modified software version for the CC2650STK.
  1. Removing the software restrictions
       In order to work correctly, the blessTags application imposes several restrictions. For example, the identification of different types of SensorTags can be done using the mandatory BLE service Generic Access, based on the 0x2A00 characteristic. This embedded characteristic, the Device Name (0x2A00 characteristic), have a special string that defines in a unique way different SensorTags. Using this last option, the user can use custom names from each SensorTags.
      Additionally, other restrictions are also eliminated. For example, in order to be able to use a modified software version of the CC2650STK SensorTag (that acquires the acceleration at a higher speed – less than 150 [ms] for each sample), this option must be selected.



Please visit blessTags online:

BlessTags Lite (the free version): http://www.microsoft.com/store/apps/9mt2kgztfjf5