Bluetooth Low Energy for the Raspberry Pi

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© Lead Image © Teerapat Seedafong,

© Lead Image © Teerapat Seedafong,

Article from Issue 266/2023

Bluetooth Low Energy is ideal for networking battery-powered sensors. We show you how to use it on the Raspberry Pi.

Bluetooth LE, or BLE for short, comes with a whole new world of terms on top of the new technology. Before getting started with some practical examples, I first need to discuss the theoretical background. Without all of this BLE speak, you can't evaluate the many application examples available on the web and adapt them to your needs.

Bluetooth is a short-range technology for use between two devices [1]. Before a connection is established, a system can be either a peripheral device or a central device. Powerful devices such as PCs, tablets, and laptops can assume both roles, while less powerful devices are limited to the peripheral role.

Each peripheral sends advertisements at regular intervals, such as "I am sensor ABC and provide heart rate data." Alternatively, the message could be: "I am sensor XYZ and would like to know the current time." Heart rate and current time are services. Both of them are standardized, but manufacturers are free to use their own proprietary services. More about that later.


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