Dev Kit Weekly: Insight SiP ISP2053-AX Evaluation Board
August 05, 2022
To help tailor its ubiquitous wireless technology to the requirements of modern consumer audio, the Bluetooth SIG released Bluetooth Low Energy Audio in the fall of 2020. It adds new features to Bluetooth Classic Audio such as the Low Complexity Communications Codec, or LC3 (Figure 1), a low-power audio codec capable of delivering high quality at low data rates – and therefore minimal energy consumption.
Also new is Multi-Stream Audio (Figure 2), which allows multiple synchronized-but-independent audio streams to be transmitted between an audio source and one or more sinked devices; as well as Auracast Broadcast Audio (Figure 3), a new audio sharing capability that basically extends Multi-Stream to an unlimited number of audio sink devices, whether that’s on a personal area network or location-based in a theater or gym.
Now we’re starting to see products that support those capabilities come to market. For instance, the InsightSiP ISP2053-AX evaluation board is a development kit for the ISP2053 system in package (Figure 4) that’s based on the Nordic Semiconductor nRF5340 Bluetooth 5.2 wireless SoC. The ISP2053 packages that advanced dual-core Bluetooth SoC in an 8mm x 8mm x 1mm module with everything else you’d need to get connected audio applications off the ground like decoupling and load capacitors, 32 MHz and 32.768 kHz crystals, DC-DC converters, an RF matching circuit, and even this antenna.
Not only does this robustly integrated SiP help connected device developers accelerate time to market by hop-scotching a bunch of low-level hardware design, it’s also a big win on the procurement front as all those components can be single-sourced.
The nRF5340 (Figure 5) at the heart of the ISP2053 was designed specifically for Bluetooth 5.2 applications and brings two Arm Cortex-M33 CPUs to bear on connected audio applications while delivering an ultra-efficient power consumption score of 101 CoreMarks/mA. The chip natively supports traditional BLE, Bluetooth Mesh, and other IEEE 802.15 wireless PANs like Zigbee and Thread, as well as ANT+ wireless sensor network connectivity and NFC, the last of which benefits from an integrated onboard NFC antenna.
Of course, it also supports BLE Audio at throughputs of up to 2 Mbps in addition to the Advertising Extensions and longer range available from version 5 of the Bluetooth spec.
To get developing BLE Audio applications you’d use Nordic Semi’s nRF Connect SDK, which packages the Zephyr RTOS and all the libraries, drivers, and protocols you’ll need in a single environment. To get that interfaced with your ISP2053-AX target, you’d just connect the test board to this larger interface board using the provided ribbon cables, power up the stack through the barrel connector and connect it to your development PC over the USB port on the interface board.
Once that hardware setup is complete, you can use an example nR5340 Audio application in the Connect SDK which demonstrates things like audio playback over isochronous channels (Figure 6) using the new LC3 codec for compression and decompression. The example application can be used to help prototype connected isochronous streaming or broadcast isochronous streaming modes between BLE Audio gateways and headsets, where the gateway receives audio data from an external source via USB or I2S and transmits it to one or more sinked devices.
Regardless of whether you’re developing a gateway or a headset, both are required for this app example. Problem is they each require different firmware. Good news is, an included buildprog.py Python script is included to simplify building and programming the firmware.
There’s also a pretty cool online power profiler for the nRF5340 from Nordic that will provide a snapshot of the wireless SoC’s power consumption across various transmit, voltage, clock, and BLE role configurations that you can access from devzone.nordicsemi.com/power/w/opp.
When you’re ready to build off examples like that, you can use the header pins on the I/O board or these pins on the test board itself to add on hardware. A debug connector permits use with Nordic development kits, while the interface board includes an onboard J-LINK JTAG and Serial Wire Debug emulator, enabling use with J-Link programmers.
If you want to get tuned in – get it? – you can pick up your own Insight SiP ISP2053-AX development kit from the company’s website for 179 euros — that’s $181.39 for you stateside viewers. Or, for those cost-conscious of you can enter this week’s raffle by filling out the form embedded below to win the kit we reviewed today for absolutely free. We’ll even pay the shipping.
Once you have one, you’ll be on the air in no time, and may even want to check out some of the additional capabilities we didn’t have a chance to address today like angle of arrival and angle of departure that can be used in direction finding use cases. Again, all of that is at your fingertips with the nRF Connect SDK and an eval board like the Insight SiP ISP2053-AX.
As always, thanks for watching, and we’ll see you next week on Dev Kit Weekly.