Setting up your BlueFruit

Setting up your bluefruit is fairly straightforward, but there are a couple of things you will need to do. They are (almost) all documented on the AdaFruit website BlueFruit page. Some things you will need to do:

  • Install the Arduino software
  • Open Preferences and put ‘’ in the Additional Boards Manager URL
  • Open Tools>Board…>Board Manager
  • Click on Adafruit nRF52 and click ‘Install’
  • Quit and re-open the Arduino IDE
  • Check if you have succeeded. You should be able to select the Bluefruit board from the Boards menu, select the correct port from Tools>Port and upload a sketch!

OS-specific Install Instructions

  • If you are on a mac, you will additionally need to install the USB to UART bridge drivers provided by Silabs. Be sure (within 30 minutes of install) to approve it in the Security and Privacy settings for your mac (you’ll see a button for this below “Allow apps downloaded from…”).
  • If you are Windows, you may need to install a driver (I did not have to on the windows machine in our classroom).
  • Check if you have succeeded. You should see a USB port in your Arduino Ports menu

Additional Software

  • You will need the Bluefruit LE Connect app on your phone, and here is the AdaFruit website describing how to install that
  • You’ll want the Bluefruit libraries and sample code. Go to Tools>Manage Libraries and search for bluefruit. Install the Adafruit BluefruitLE nRF51 suite

Sketches used in class

You can download the sketches used in our class from our class google drive, arduino folder.

Project 2: Build a Better Button

Learning Goals for the Project

  • Learn about Circuit design
  • Learn how to communicate between an Arduino and your phone
  • Build a simple circuit that is enhanced by its connection to your phone

Basic Requirements for Project

Your project should demonstrate your ability to either:

  • Take input from at least one button (or other sensor), and connect it to some interesting service
  • Your focus should be on circuit design and Arduino programming. You don’t need to create a custom phone app. You can if you want create a custom case or button using 3d printing.

You should make a case for why this is an assistive technology of some sort. For example, you could build a door opening sensor (using a button or proximity sensor) that causes your phone to announce the door was opened, or a single switch control for scrolling or tabbing through a web page, or a capacitive sensor that captures a log of how often a cane is used.

There is some great software that con be connected to the Arduino including 1Shield, AppInventor, Blynk and IFTTT. Some work only for Android, others for both Android and iPhone.

There are lots of really great examples online of arduino based projects, arduino projects that involve smartphones, and arduino projects that involve 3D printing or laser cutting. Many of them are too complex for the expectations of this project, though they might help to inspire final projects, or give you ideas for something simple you can do in a week. Here is a sample:

Hand In

Create a Thingiverse or Instructables page for your project with a brief description of the project, a video, any 3D printed files, and a schematic for your circuit. Turn the URL in by email with the subject: Project 2. Be prepared to demo your project in class.

1 or 0 Project uses physical computing to solve an accessibility problem
1 or 0Project communicates with your phone in some way
1 or 0Project includes a working circuit that you designed
1 or 0Project includes at least one button
1 or 0 Project includes some kind of response to the button
1 or 0Thingiverse or Instructables page describes project in a reproducable fashion.