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Connecting a Bluetooth Low Energy to the Cloud (B)

Status: Abgeschlossen

Abstract—Recent research and standardization efforts for the Internet of Things (IoT) have re-sulted in technological building blocks for applications, such as Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), 6LoWPAN, and Web protocols for machine-to-machine communication. BLE networks, however, still form predominantly closed topologies and global accessibility of the data remains difficult. To this end, this thesis aims at an open BLE sensor infrastructure through RESTful Web services. The goal is to develop a gateway or border router that connects BLE nodes directly to the Internet and cloud-based services.


The Internet of Things (IoT) allows for the interconnection between the virtual world of comput-ers and the physical world of our everyday lives. Recent advances in the field of wireless commu-nication and the standardization of Internet protocols for constrained environments allow for the seamless integration of low-power sensor nodes into the Internet and cloud-based services. This enables powerful IoT applications that use real-time sensor data to optimize business processes, improve the quality of life, or increase safety in critical environments. At the lower layers, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) is a new, interesting technology with a high avail-ability of inexpensive systems-on-a-chip (SoCs) for low-power communication. With a coin cell battery, sensors can operate for several years. BLE is already available in smartphones, tablets, and wearable devices, which can process data collected by nearby sensors. However, accessing the sensor data and controlling BLE devices over the Internet is still poorly conceived. Future use cases for BLE devices foresee a departure from closed personal networks to a new architecture that satisfies the requirements of open IoT applications. The central enabler for this is a gateway that connects BLE to the Internet. There are two possible approaches on how to realize such a gate-way. The first approach is based on the current BLE network stack, which uses GATT/ATT profiles to transmit data. The gateway acts as an intermediary that translates the sensor data to another application-layer protocol (such as HTTP or CoAP) and makes it accessible through a Web API. The second approach is to enable IPv6 for Low-power Wireless Personal Area Networks (6LoWPAN) for BLE. Having IP on the sensor nodes, the Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP) can directly pro-vide RESTful Web services. The role of the gateway would then be that of a Layer 3 router. This thesis will explore both approaches in order to evaluate the overhead and provide a demonstrator for the technology.


  • The student shall design a gateway based on an embedded Linux computer (Raspberry Pi 2) and a BLE USB dongle. Through this, BLE sensor nodes provided by Sensirion must be made available over the Internet using Web protocols.
  • The student shall improve the driver API of the BLE dongle to allow for easy access to BLE devices from applications. A possible approach is to integrate an available IoT SDK by Nor-dic Semiconductors that enables 6LoWPAN for BLE.
  • The student shall provide an example application that demonstrates the connectivity be-tween BLE devices and cloud-based services and allows for basic evaluation of the tech-nology.
Student/Bearbeitet von: Arthur Habicht
Contact/Ansprechpartner: Matthias Kovatsch

ETH ZurichDistributed Systems Group
Last updated September 21 2015 12:24:47 PM MET ko