A new version of Bluetooth wireless networking could have a much longer range and allow you to control many devices. In a demo at the 2016 International CES in Las Vegas last week, San Jose, California-based chip maker Cypress Semiconductor showed that you could use the Bluetooth smart mesh to turn on or off all of the lights in your home.
Bluetooth had a limitation in the past where you could only connect from a smartphone to a device. On top of that, the range was only around 30 feet.
In the Bluetooth Special Interest Group, engineers are changing that so every Bluetooth device will be able to talk to each other. This is how you can control multiple sets of devices around your house or enterprise. A single smartphone could control 20 or 30 devices that are chained together in a mesh, which extends the range of the Bluetooth network. The overall range can be as much as 1.5 kilometers. That’s more than enough range to reach every Bluetooth in a home, even outdoor lights that are powered by solar cells.
“Each one will be able to talk to each other,” Eran Sandhaus, a vice president at Cypress, in an interview with VentureBeat. “This works for industrial lighting, outdoor lighting, or any other uses.”
At CES 2016, Cypress showed a working demo of the mesh. Cypress created a chip with CapSense motion-sensing technology. If you wave your hand over a pad, the chip can sense it. It then causes a bunch of Bluetooth-connected light bulbs to go off or on. The light bulbs were connected to each other and to the smartphone chip via a Bluetooth smart mesh. The mesh technology could be on the market as early as April, and one of Cypress’ customers is already making bulbs based on the technology.
Here’s a short video of the demo working.