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Summary:

Want a project board that lets you build Bluetooth Low Energy into a variety of places? The LightBlue Cortado project by Punch Designs is just the ticket.

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Y’all may recall that I want to build presence in my home so I can automate the heck out of it. When I move from room to room, I want to the lights in that room to turn on, or flash if I get a text message. It would also be cool if my music followed me without my intervention as well.

I’ve covered iBeacon as a way to maybe get that capability as well as a Kickstarter for an energy monitoring tool that is trying to use your electric use as a presence indicator. But Tuesday a new project launched that would basically let you build your own iBeacon sensors. The board, by Punch Through Designs, contains a Bluetooth Low Energy module, an accelerometer, an LED light and a microcontroller. You use the Arduino development environment to program it, which is a familiar environment for many makers.

The team behind the Cortado is seeking $20,000 on its own site, and the board sells for $18 on Tuesday and $18.90 starting Wednesday with the goal of shipping in May. The idea is basically to give developers the same flexibility that SparkCore or Electric Imp does for Wi-Fi with a Bluetooth LE module. It doesn’t have the back-end cloud support that those platforms have, but still could become a fun prototyping tool that could pave the way for new ideas and services in the internet of things — including presence.

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  1. Stacey, thanks for covering this. We love the cortado and what the guys are doing here. Every attempt at making the IoT easier and less intimidating, the better. Only this will accelerate adoption and bring great things to consumers quicker. We have been giving the idea a lot of thought too from the app developers side, and bringing the hardware and IoT closer to them, and thought why not also provide an easy, fun sensor kit, that is out-of-the-box programmable to build apps, as well as IoT-enabled devices. Love to show you and hear your opinion.

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