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Small Murata IoT Component Links BLE, NFC

The company's fingernail-sized MBN52832 module can collect sensor data and forward it wirelessly via BLE or NFC, enabling IoT applications with very small controls in lighting, health care, agriculture or other vertical markets.
By Claire Swedberg
Feb 09, 2018

Electronic components company Murata has released a fingernail-sized, low-power-consuming module for use in Internet of Things (IoT) devices that incorporates Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and Near Field Communication (NFC) technologies. The unit is designed for companies building IoT solutions for home or building automation, proximity services, health care or beacon-based systems.

Murata's miniaturized MBN52832 module measures 7.4 millimeters by 7 millimeters by 0.9 millimeter (0.29 inch by 0.27 inch by 0.04 inch). The component is designed to offer low power consumption and higher processor capabilities than its predecessors, the company reports, while including NFC and BLE functionalities.

Murata's MBN52832 module
Due to its small size and multiple data-transmission options, the module is a first for Murata, according to Yong Fang, the company's marketing manager. It features a Nordic ID-based BLE module, and may be the first product like it to be offered with Murata's high-volume manufacturing capabilities, he adds. The MBN52832 comes with a built-in ARM Cortex M4 core, with 64 kilobytes of RAM and 512 kilobytes of flash memory for data processing. It features an onboard BLE antenna and can accommodate an external NFC antenna.

Like many Murata products, Fang says, the new IoT component's development was customer-driven. Users of Murata products expressed a need for IoT-based components that offered the versatility of both BLE and NFC technologies. "This offers a good system for customers who want to build IoT solutions," he states. The Cortex M4 core, along with RAM and flash capability, make it a suitable basis for multiple solutions, the firm reports.

The device comes with a serial port; a port for temperature, humidity or light sensors; and the capacity for dimming or current control. "So from the designers' point of view," Fang states, "they can use it as a single component to add wireless functionality" and sensors.

The most common application for NFC, Fang says, is to enable users to put to sleep an IoT device built from the new Murata component, in order to conserve battery life. The device will typically be used without a power connection. For that reason, he adds, devices would rely solely on battery power, with the battery expected to last for one to three years.

"You would want to limit power consumption," Fang states. To put the module to sleep, a user would tap an NFC-enabled tag or a mobile phone against the device, thereby saving power as a result. For example, as someone were leaving or entering a building, he or she could tap the NFC device against the Murata-based technology and thus put it to sleep. The device can also go to sleep automatically at a preset time, and be woken up via an NFC reader tap.

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