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The TI SensorTag was created by Texas Instruments as a testing tool for programmers wanting to create apps and software for Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) devices. Designed to be robust, inexpensive, programmable and versatile, it seemed not to have occurred to the engineers designing it that this might be an ideal tool for classrooms. It brings together, not just a wealth of sensors, but enormous possibilities for exploration and discovery across the various STEM components, potentially from middle school through to senior years.
The SensorTag 2.0 (or CC2650 SensorTag) was released in March this year - the original TI BLE SensorTag has been around for several years, but is no longer available for purchase.
The SensorTag 2.0 carries on board eight sensors:
Temperature, both ambient and infra-red (the latter so that, instead of dropping the device into the boiling water - not recommended! - you only need to point at the object whose temperature you wish to measure!)
3D Magnetometer, and
Magnet sensor (switch linked to buttons)
The additional sensor (digital microphone) is on-board, but not currently activated - we may expect this to come online with a future firmware update.
The SensorTag includes several programmable alerts - red and green LED lights and a buzzer. (The SensorTag is also extendable with programming options using "devPacks" - a USB-powered debugger, an LED "watch" and an audio/LED interface).
The device offers two programmable buttons which are proving very versatile as I continue to find new applications. (How about using these to create a BLE remote control?)
Did I mention that you can buy the SensorTag 2.0 online from TI for $USD29 (around $AUD40) plus postage (to Australia, that is around $10)?