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Circuit Playground Bluefruit - ALPHA - Bluetooth Low Energy
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Circuit Playground Bluefruit - ALPHA - Bluetooth Low Energy

by PressureDrop on Sun Aug 25, 2019 3:01 am

Hi Adafruit!

I have a unique problem (Although, I'm sure I am not unique in saying that!). I run 2 CoderDojos (https://zen.coderdojo.com/find?q=Wicklow&p=1) in Wicklow, Ireland and have been using Circuit Playground Express (CPX) for my sessions.

I am currently attending the Scratch Conference Europe at the University of Cambridge and my primary missions was to find and speak with Kreg Hanning who works on Scratch extensions for MIT Media Lab. Kreg expressed his admiration for the CPX, but, said that he wasn't able to build extensions due to the lack of Bluetooth. I let him know that you had recently released a version with Bluetooth and he became VERY excited. He has promised me that they would be reaching out to you and asked me if we would be interested in testing his new extension. That was an emphatic, "Yes!" from me.

My dilemma is that I'm not currently able to buy a the 4 CPX with BLE (I have registered to be notified) and am hoping to have them to be able to conduct those tests. I was trying to source and buy 4 of them to give to some of my best students for that testing.

Help!
Stephen Dietz

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Re: Circuit Playground Bluefruit - ALPHA - Bluetooth Low Ene

by adafruit_support_mike on Sun Aug 25, 2019 3:48 pm

I’m afraid we don’t seed units before we take a design into production.

Our development cycle really doesn’t have space for it.. once we’re reasonably sure the hardware and code can be released, we start production. The window between approval for sale and boards hitting the shop is a few days at most. Even those of us on the support team get new boards when they go up for sale.

As I’m sure you know, show-stopper bugs or problems can occur anywhere in the development cycle. We manage our risks as well as we can, but have to operate on the assumption that something could completely trash the schedule up to the minute the boards pass their final production tests.

That’s why we don’t do release dates or ETAs. On the other hand, once we actually know the prototypes are stable, we can put them into production in a few hours, and once the boards pass their final tests, it’s only a matter of minutes before we can put themin the shop.

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Re: Circuit Playground Bluefruit - ALPHA - Bluetooth Low Ene

by PressureDrop on Sun Aug 25, 2019 4:02 pm

Hi Mike,

Thanks for the response. I understand. Is the notification I've signed up for the best mechanism to get the boards as soon as possible?

Thanks again,
Stephen

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Re: Circuit Playground Bluefruit - ALPHA - Bluetooth Low Ene

by bhmv on Mon Aug 26, 2019 10:27 am

Hi Stephen,
I found your post quite interesting. To explain in more detail I have previously posted responses/queries here under > General Forums > For Educators > 6th Grade Coding Course Suggestions and > General Forums > For Educators > CPX and Scratch, 2 way comms.
As outlined in those posts, I have worked with Scratch and the CPX with Makecode fairly extensively and would eventually like to see a way of communicating from the Scratch program to the CPX. As you've indicated in your post, after you spoke with Kreg Hanning, his response was excellent. I look forward as to what will materialize from the CP having builtin BLE capability. And, although I have yet to understand the full extent of using Firmata code installed on the CP or CPX , I do believe it might be possible to modify/add to Firmata code to receive simple char commands like a thru z, in order to have the CP perform more complex tasks, like reading from various attached sensors (analog or I2C or SPI).
If Mike with Adafruit happens to view this post, perhaps he might have time to comment on it.

Thanks

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Re: Circuit Playground Bluefruit - ALPHA - Bluetooth Low Ene

by adafruit_support_mike on Wed Aug 28, 2019 12:57 am

PressureDrop wrote:Is the notification I've signed up for the best mechanism to get the boards as soon as possible?

Yep.. the in-stock emails go out in blocks of about 100, in the order that people registered. There's a delay between blocks so people who sign up earliest get a bit of a head start on those who've signed up later.

One point to note: adding an item to your shopping cart doesn't pull it out of inventory until you check out.. that makes life too easy for scalpers who want to game the system and create shortages. The shop works on a first-to-pay=first-served basis.

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Re: Circuit Playground Bluefruit - ALPHA - Bluetooth Low Ene

by adafruit_support_mike on Wed Aug 28, 2019 1:11 am

bhmv wrote:I have worked with Scratch and the CPX with Makecode fairly extensively and would eventually like to see a way of communicating from the Scratch program to the CPX.

MakeCode and Scratch are excellent platforms, but we don't have any control over them. The folks who manage those platforms will have to migrate our code to their environments.

bhmv wrote:And, although I have yet to understand the full extent of using Firmata code installed on the CP or CPX , I do believe it might be possible to modify/add to Firmata code to receive simple char commands like a thru z, in order to have the CP perform more complex tasks, like reading from various attached sensors (analog or I2C or SPI).

Firmata is a general-purpose protocol for communicating with microcontrollers. In broad general terms, it's a lookup table: it has a list of messages and a list of functions associated with those messages.

Firmata comes with a set of predefined message-and-function mappings that control or read a microcontroller's GPIO pins, but it also gives you the option to define your own messages and map them to your own functions.

I don't know if MakeCode or Scratch provide access to that functionality, since it involves creating functions and telling the Firmata message parser where to find them. Creating a plug-based visual interface for that could be tricky.

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Re: Circuit Playground Bluefruit - ALPHA - Bluetooth Low Ene

by bhmv on Wed Aug 28, 2019 9:13 am

Hi Mike, thank you for that reply.

adafruit_support_ mike wrote:
Firmata comes with a set of predefined message-and-function mappings that control or read a microcontroller's GPIO pins, but it also gives you the option to define your own messages and map them to your own functions.
I don't know if MakeCode or Scratch provide access to that functionality, since it involves creating functions and telling the Firmata message parser where to find them. Creating a plug-based visual interface for that could be tricky.


1) If a CPX BLE version does become available and if the CPX BLE firmata sketch can be added to/modified by the end user, then the approach I would take for sending very simple commands to the CPX BLE would be something like (set HIGH pins A0 thru A2, or set HIGH only pins A0 and A1, etc...), and have the sketch react accordingly.

2) And if the CPX BLE version would still have a functional MakeCode extension for the keyboard (HID), then selective control of the Scratch program would still be available.

The above 2 paragraphs might be well within most programmers ability; however, mapping predefined messages and functions, and creating a plug-based visual interface, is well beyond my programming abilities.
As the CPX and Scratch program already provide for excellent teaching coding platforms, the ability to pass very small and simple commands both ways (CPX<>Scratch), would in my opinion be a wonderful addition.

Thanks

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Re: Circuit Playground Bluefruit - ALPHA - Bluetooth Low Ene

by adafruit_support_mike on Thu Aug 29, 2019 8:43 pm

Feel free to take it up with the MakeCode and Scratch development teams. As I said, we don't have any control over those platforms.

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Please be positive and constructive with your questions and comments.