Raspberry Pi has unveiled a significant enhancement for owners of the Raspberry Pi Pico W: the Bluetooth 5.2 capabilities of the radio chip are now fully accessible through both C/C++ and MicroPython programming languages.
The Raspberry Pi Pico W, introduced in June of the previous year, is an advanced version of the popular Raspberry Pi Pico. Despite retaining its original design with features like castellated pin headers and a micro-USB connector, it incorporates the Infineon CYW43439 radio module for Internet of Things (IoT) applications, featuring both 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.2 capabilities.
Initially, only Wi-Fi functionality was enabled for the CYW43439 module. However, Raspberry Pi has been working on unlocking the Bluetooth mode. While Bluetooth support was integrated into the Raspberry Pi Pico C/C++ Software Development Kit (SDK) several months ago, MicroPython was lagging behind until now.
The process of routing both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth traffic over the same SPI bus between the RP2040 and CYW43439 presented considerable engineering challenges. Raspberry Pi’s team collaborated with Infineon, particularly Graham Smith, to accomplish this feat. The Pico W host-side software was developed by Peter Harper, SDK by Graham Sanderson, and MicroPython support by Damien George, with documentation by Alasdair Allan.
The new MicroPython firmware release enables both Bluetooth Classic and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) modes. While the former lacks some modes, Raspberry Pi is addressing this in a future update. The BLE mode supports both Central and Peripheral operating modes. To showcase this advancement, Raspberry Pi has released two MicroPython demo projects that highlight broadcasting and receiving temperature readings using Bluetooth.
The Bluetooth functionality is powered by BlueKitchen’s BTstack library, which comes with a commercial license standard with every Raspberry Pi Pico W. This ensures that using Bluetooth on the Pico W for commercial products doesn’t entail licensing issues. Matthias Ringwald contributed extensively to the integration and verification of the BTstack library.
Existing Raspberry Pi Pico W owners can upgrade their devices with the new MicroPython firmware from the official website without requiring new hardware. Those interested in Bluetooth development using C/C++ or MicroPython can find detailed information in the Connecting to the Internet with Raspberry Pi Pico W data book (PDF).
Looking for some other Pico based projects? Then look no further:
How To Build an Air Quality Alert Light with Raspberry Pi Pico
Raspberry Pi Pico W Gives Your Plant Emotions with Face Animations
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