This passage takes SENSORO smart iBeacon sensor as an example and gives a comprehensive introduction of some of the ‘secrets’ in its design and manufacture and presents to you its inner composition.
Figure 1. Smart iBeacon surface
- What is Beacon?
Beacon actually contains a complete microcomputing system, including 32-bit ARM® Cortex M0 CPU or 8051, RAM, FLASH, wireless communication module, different types of sensors and Apps. When Beacon is deployed, it continuously broadcasts information through BLE which can be received by your smartphone without BLE pairing.
The working principles of iBeacon technology can be described in the following three steps:
- A Beacon transmits a universally unique identifier through BLE;
- A compatible App picks up the identifier then looks up over the internet to determine the smart device's physical location;
- A smart device triggers an action.
We say that iBeacon is a digital coordinate deployed the n physical world or is a digital electric label that can be attached to any physical object, location or scene. Aside from the function of sensing its own movement, it can also sense the lighting, temperature around you—this builds up a people behavior perceptive network after being processed by SENSORO SDK, which can be interpreted as a bridge linking the physical world and the digital world, bringing your program or equipment to the era of contextual computing.
Developers don’t need to deploy complex cloud system; instead, SENSORO SDK (iOS and Android both available) makes it much easier.
- Internal structure
There are various types of Beacons from different suppliers, but they share the same basic composition. Taking Yunzi for an example, we can see the common structure and components shown in the following figure:
Figure 2. Internal structure and components graph of smart iBeacon Yunzi sensor
- Manufacturing process
Every industrial process of Beacon manufacturing matters when in comes to quality. Complexity or simplicity, strictness and slackness directly affect the product diversity shown.
Surface. The most preferred is two-color plastic and intra injection molding, but technically extremely challenging. Many manufactures give up this technology because of the expensive cost in repeated molding adjustments in order to ensure stable shape. Common practice would be single-color molding so as to lower cost and save time. While Yunzi chooses without hesitation the best technology-- two-color plastic injection molding.
Metal craftwork? Tough choice. The average manufactures would not use metal for the higher cost and difficulty. Yunzi is one of the few advocators for metal craftwork. In order to realize artistic design, Yunzi designers use the same iPhone 5S frame aluminum alloy processing technology—well-distributed and delicate anodizing sandblasting and mirror-bright upper and lower flames polishing. Micron-grade production accuracy is ensured by high energy laser engraved frame logo and LED micro loophole.
The inner core circuit board is the heart of Yunzi. The average manufactures use green ink PCB process while SENROSO uses environmentally-friendly black ink and matte coating—artistically beautiful even though invisible to users. All contact points and pads are gilded to prevent air oxidation—still durable after long time.
Antenna design also determines core-competitiveness of beacons because different levels of technology directly affect the stability of their wireless signals. Yunzi designers carefully calculate the impedance matching of radio-frequency circuit, also simulate and adjust wireless signal radiation of antenna to ensure best consistency of the antenna transmit signal direction. Moreover, many other manufacturers commonly purchase regular BLE modules and piece them together.
Protection design. Outdoor operation is becoming a major concern for clients and Yunzi is water-proof like many of other beacons. But Yunzi is also dust-proof with final ultrasonic encapsulation. It has been tested that Yunzi continues to function well after being immersed in 0.5m depth of water for half an hour. The stated features enable Yunzi to endure in more severe environments
This passage uncovers the ‘secret’ of smart iBeacon Yunzi sensor’s design and craftwork for your better understanding in its manufacture process. We hope that more interesting Apps can be developed with the help of iBeacon products.
Figure 3. A set of smart iBeacon Yunzi sensor