CC2540 Bluetooth Low Energy Mini Development Kit Set up

Really excited to receive the CC2540DK-MINI I ordered from Digikey. It only took a few days to ship from US to HK.

I thought it would be pretty easy to set up and start working on it. But there were always some small dumb problems during the process. After spending a lot of time reading forums and blogs, I could finally get this to work.

1) Install TI BLE Stack (

2) Install SmartRF Flash Programmer ( and SmartRF Studio (

3) Connect CC debugger to keyfob.

I had problems with the battery holder corrosion too, seems to be a very common problem with these kits. I used tweezers to scrape and clean the negative terminal of the battery holder and it worked. The buzzer would keep beeping if keyfob is powered up, I pressed Button B3 to stop the buzzer and LED lit up.

The red line of the connector must be connected to Pin1 on both Debugger and keyfob.

5) Solder the two terminals of R1 together, R1 is located at the top of the debugger pins on the keyfob. Short R1 allows the CC debugger to power the keyfob directly when it’s connected. This saves power and batteries because the power management on keyfob is disabled when debugger is connected. This is recommended if the debugger is going to be connected for a long time. (Pg 27 of Mini DK User’s Guide)

4) Write Hex file to keyfob using the SmartRP Flash Programmer. C:Texas InstrumentsBLE-CC254x-1.2.1AccessoriesHexFilesCC2540_keyfob_SimpleBLEPeripheral.hex

5) Connect Debugger to to USB dongle and plug the dongle to PC. It couldn’t automatically detect the driver for some reason. I went to Device Manager and installed the driver manually. Default location is C:Texas InstrumentsBLE-CC254x-1.2.1AccessoriesDriversusb_cdc_driver_cc2540.inf

6) Write Hex file to USB dongle using the SmartRP Flash Programmer. C:Texas InstrumentsBLE-CC254x-1.2.1AccessoriesHexFilesCC2540_USBdongle_HostTestRelease_All.hex

7) Disconnect debugger and use the USB dongle to discover keyfob. Open BTool, select the Port of the dongle. Press button B3 (right button) on keyfob to make it discoverable for 30 seconds, scan for the device on BTool.

If it’s successfully detected there would something like this in the log output with the device address.

NumDevs : 0x01 (1)
Device #0
EventType : 0x00 (Connectable Undirect Advertisement)
AddrType : 0x00 (Public)
Addr : 78:C5:E5:9A:C3:BC

I tried using my Macbook Air to detect the keyfob but it didn’t work. I found this post on TI forum that although Macbook Air is Bluetooth Smart Ready but there’s no software support yet. Hope there will be more devices and apps coming up that support bluetooth 4.0.

Compaq Computers Commercials in 1984.

Compaq Computers Commercials in 1984.

Kenji Ekuan’s Philosophy on Design


Kenji Ekuan is a highly respected Japanese designer who has initiated many global design trends. Some of his notable designs and creations including the Kikkoman soy sauce bottle, Yamaha motorcycles and the Shinkansen Bullet Train.

Kenji Ekuan’s Ten Axioms of Lunchbox Structure

  • Beauty of Form – drive to make stylishness and beauty a primary function
  • Functional Multiplicity – belief in “the more functions the better”
  • Equipment Exciting Creativity – popular appeal yielding  an object’s broadest possible application and its creative uses
  • Unification in Diversity – a sense of order ensuring maximal inclusion and effective arrangement
  • All-Inclusive Enhancement – plurality in each element vividly brought to life
  • Ultimate Adaptability – meeting needs of time, quality and quantity
  • Waste-Avoiding Culture – a sense of design consistent with environmentally sensitive lifestyle
  • Generosity – richness born from an ultimate spirit of service

OmniTouch, a wearable system that allows multitouch input on everyday surfaces

OmniTouch, a wearable system that allows multitouch input on everyday surfaces

Technologies from movies that became reality

Star Trek Computer

Holodecks are still a ways off, but we can now use the computer interface we saw Wesley Crusher using on The Next Generation.

The computers of Star Trek: The Next Generation (and every subsequent series set in that era) featured a truly nifty touch screen interface that fans have dreamed about for years. As you can see with this video, this computer interace is no longer the stuff of science fiction.

The video was created by Pascal vd Heiden, a technical engine programmer at Triumph Studios in the Netherlands.


Minority Report Multi-touch Interface

In the movie Minority Report, Tom Cruise uses an advanced user interface system that lets him control media files with nothing more than a gesture from his gloved hands. He could do the same now with little more than an XBox. A member of the research staff at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) has created a Minority Report interface using the Kinect 3D sensor and a bunch of open source software. Not only does the device only cost $150, you can use it without any dorky gloves. Garratt Gallagher, the interfaces’s creator, shows off some basic gesture controls in the video below. It really does look like it came straight out of the movie. Awesome.


Star Wars Hologram

Imagine that you can see your distant friends in full 3D, standing in front of you in the real world, while talking with them over the phone, just like the image of the future presented in the holographic form of Princess Leia in Star Wars. 3D Live Human Magic Land demonstrates our advanced technology which can make can make this vision real. This technology can capture humans in 3D and placing them into a mixed reality environment at other places in real-time. It opens a new chapter for human communications where not only voice but also gesture and body motion is transmitted completely in full 3D.

My heroes – Nikola Tesla and Albert Einstein

mad electricity einstein

Two amazing (and my favourite) documentaries about my heroes Albert Einstein and Nikola Tesla. They are often compared with two other scientists, Einstein with Newton and Tesla with Edison. Both Einstein and Newton are famous during and after their lifetime, but Tesla is often the forgotten hero.

Einstein’s Big Idea: E = mc2

Nikola Tesla: Mad Electricity

Twitter for other senses

The Listening Machine

The Listening Machine is an automated system that generates a continuous piece of music based on the activity of 500 Twitter users around the United Kingdom. Their conversations, thoughts and feelings are translated into musical patterns in real time, which you can tune in to at any point through any web-connected device.

At the core of The Listening Machine is a piece of software that monitors the Twitter activity of 500 people around the UK, selected proportionally from eight different fields: arts, business, education, health, politics, science, sport and technology. A further part of the group is selected completely at random. When any of these people posts a status update, the machine analyses its properties in terms of both sound and meaning, and generates music based upon it. Using techniques from the fields of natural language processing and machine learning, each tweet can be analysed from a number of perspectives:

  • Its sentiment: is it positive, negative or objective? Emotive words (“brilliant”, “rubbish”, “awesome”) and emoticons will rank as positive or negative accordingly, whereas technical terms (“pronunciation”, “structured”) rank as neutral, or objective.
  • Its classification: is it about a specific topic? The same set of 8 categories are used to classify each status update, using an archive of material from the BBC News website.
  • Its prosody, or rhythm of speech and intonation: vowel sounds and rhythmic patterns are extracted to translate sequences of words into flowing sequences of musical notes.

By looking at the overall behavioural trends, The Listening Machine can make measurements of the collective as a whole, which are displayed on the gauges described below. If the overall activity within the “sports” classification is high, its dial will indicate as such.


The Listening Machine was created by Daniel JonesPeter Gregson and Britten Sinfonia.


Tasty Tweets

Have you ever wondered what twitter tastes like?

Tasty Tweets is a data visualization experiment that allows users to explore current twitter trends through taste, with a press of a button.

Using the Twitter API, it collects tweets containing mentions of specific fruits such as blueberry, pineapple, apple and carrot and creates a smoothie that represents the blend. The smoothie is created based on the same proportions of fruits collected from the tweets. Because twitter trends change quickly, each smoothie has a unique palette of flavors.

Data from which the smoothie is created are graphically represented on a computer screen. It shows the proportions of flavors in the current smoothie as well as the most recent tweets from which the smoothie was created. Furthermore, a historic view of past smoothies allows users to compare trends over time.

To add another dimension to the visualization, Tasty Tweets is constructed in a way that  makes it possible to layer the different juices within the glass. The layering of the juices results in a visual representation of the proportions of flavors in the smoothie – a graph in a glass. Tasty Tweets allows the user to experience twitter in a new way.


My little phone-mily

I decided to weigh each baby using my kitchen scale. Because GS3 feels so light in my hand, I was a little surprised that it’s only 12 grams lighter than iPhone 4S. Maybe the 4.8 inch display gave me an illusion that it’s much lighter than it actually is.

Samsung Gallaxy S3 – 130g

iPhone 4S – 142g

Blackberry Torch – 163g

Considering how much bigger the GS3 display is, it’s definitely the winner here. I think a lot of credit goes to the use of Corning Gorilla Glass 2. I mean, have you seen the video? It’s like everything we know about glass was wrong… but can I really drop the GS3 without shattering the glass? I doubt it.

Getting a customized url for your Google Plus profile

Your Google plus profile has a ugly looking url that is almost impossible to remember, mine looks like this Some say google does it to prevent spammers from figuring out your email address since google plus profiles are linked to gmail accounts. But I don’t really care about that since all my SN accounts use the same username anyway. I just want a nice, easy to remember url but couldn’t find any way to do that in google settings.

After some searching, I found that you can redirect to your G+ profiles using a url in this format –

where username is the gmail username. I’m quite satisfied with this, but this still doesn’t allow you to get a customized url.

Here comes the solution:


Using you can choose your own username and it will shorten your G+ profile url to this format: I set mine to

One great thing about is that you don’t have to create an account or anything. There are a bunch of other sites that do the same thing, I think this one is the most popular so far.


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