Sunday 1:10 p.m.–1:50 p.m.

Bluetooth Low Energy

Jeremy Stott

Audience level:


How does your smart watch work for tens of hours before needing to be charged? Let's check out Bluetooth Low Energy, and how to use Python to maximise fun.


Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) or Bluetooth Smart (ugh) is a subset of the Bluetooth 4 specification. It hasn't got much in common with it's older brother, Bluetooth Classic, other than the name and ubiquity. BLE devices are everywhere! The technology has been around for some time, but exploded in popularity when smart phone manufacturers included hardware support. Now almost every smart phone has BLE hardware to talk to a countless number of low energy peripherals. Fitness trackers, heart rate monitors, watches, drones, you name it.

We will start with a quick overview of how BLE works and how it differs from other wireless protocols. Including what kind of additional hardware you would need to experiment with BLE. Android, iOS, Windows, Linux and OSX all handle BLE differently, and sometimes not at all. We will cover some different software options you've got to communicate with BLE devices, including Python of course. Along the way we might check out some of the security features of Bluetooth Low Energy devices.

Finally we will sacrifice three PDAs to appease the son of King Gorm the Old and of Thyra Dannebod for a live demo.