Project Idea

The idea and point of this project was to experiment and find ways to incorporate Bluetooth Low Energy or BLE in everyday life and tasks.


The Future of Bluetooth Low Energy: The goal of this project was to explore possibilities of BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy). Many people have valuable items like wallets, credit cards, car keys, smart phones, and tablets that they misplace frequently. By using BLE, you can locate the items you lose track of as long as they are in the range of BLE which is 100 meters. BLE is favorable because the modules are small (12 x 18 x 2.3mm, or about the size of a penny) and do not use very much energy (27mA when it is transmitting and 0.5 uA when it is in sleep mode). Also, many new smartphones support BLE. The following are possible applications for BLE: a program that detects if you have walked away from your computer to go to lunch and puts the computer to sleep, a wallet tracker that involves an iPhone tracking a fake BLE credit card in the wallet, a clip-on tracking system that has the same idea as the wallet tracker but is more compact and can be placed anywhere, and a system that detects which room you are in and turns the lights on in that room. The BLE protocol provides easy access to the signal strength (RSSI). We are planning to use the RSSI value to estimate the distance between the BLE modules and/or smartphones in order to investigate and implement some of these ideas in order of complexity.

Interim Report

Problem Definition:

Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) is a relatively new version of Bluetooth that was introduced in 2006. BLE's portability and low energy consumption would allow it to be used in healthcare, sports and fitness, security, automation, entertainment, toys, pay systems, and time services. In health care, BLE can be used for stethoscopes, probes/sensors, EKG, heart rate monitor system, measuring blood levels, and blood pressure cuffs. BLE can be incorporated into heart rate systems, and special shoes that act as a GPS to track how far a person runs in fitness. Some recent security systems also use BLE for detecting. One example is a lock that unlocks when it detects a certain phone within range. The idea of using BLE to detect objects can also be included in home automation. For example, when you walk into a room with your phone the lights can automatically turn on and off once you leave the room with your phone. Another big use is entertainment; using BLE, your phone can communicate with streaming devices such as Apple TV or Roku. Next is what everyone loves: toys! With BLE you can go buy a robot and program it with your iPad or tablet over a BLE connection. With pay systems, BLE is a viable use because it is secure, localized, and easy to use. Time services is a yet another possibility: BLE can sync the time from your phone other destinations such as a hotel room clock so you can see what time it is back home. The goal of this project is to incorporate some of these possible uses in real life. Some of these ideas would work extremely well with BLE while others would be harder to attain.

Problem Solution:

Our programs would provide automation, the ability to track your phone and some other features mentioned above.

Progress to Date:

So far, we have incorporated BLE into home automation. We have constructed a program in Objective C that allows a laptop to track an iPhone, and an app for the iPhone 5 that advertises data over BLE. The program looks for data that the iPhone advertises, or sends out, including the RSSI (received signal strength indicator) value, included in the BLE packets. RSSI can be thought of as signal strength that has an inverse relationship with distance. When the program finds the iPhone’s data, it can track how far away the phone is by using RSSI value. When the RSSI goes out of a certain range (i.e. when the iPhone is a certain distance away from the laptop), the laptop will lock its screen. We have also worked making a variation of the program that converts RSSI to distance. This would be useful because you would know how many meters your iPhone is from your computer if you misplaced it. We have not currently made a program that can successfully do these conversions. Finally, we have worked on creating a program that visually displays the signal strength (RSSI) of the tracked iPhone on a laptop. Because RSSI does not specify an exact location, the visual representation on the laptop would resemble a circle with a cartoon laptop at its midpoint. The radius of the circle would be the RSSI and the iPhone would be somewhere along its perimeter. As the iPhone moves farther away from the computer, the circle shown on the program would become bigger.

Expected Results:

Our final result is to write a program for an iPhone that tracks a BLE chip that is advertising its RSSI and converts the RSSI to distance. The program would be able track BLE chips inserted into devices such as wallets or TV remotes. Using the program to detect valuables like credit cards or wallets would allow a person to know how far away they are from their device if it is lost or stolen. The program could also alert the owner of their valuable is stolen or lost and goes out of a certain range.


Final Report


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The Walkaway application is a program that allows you to, while your phone is connected, walk away from your computer and it to lock. Sadly, only available for OSX.
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The BlueStalking application is a program that allows you to track any Bluetooth peripheral visually by displaying a circle with certain circumference. Sadly, only available for OSX.
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The Baby Blue app allows you to advertise your iDevice as a peripheral, act as a master and receive data or connect to peripherals, and track peripherals visually.
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The WaterMe app allows you to monitor

Contact Us

You can contact us either by the github account associated with our repository or by emailing


Thanks go to Latchesar Ionkov and Rob Aulwes for help with the coding.