Bluetooth Low Energy for Processing Android
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B​luetooth L​ow E​nergy for P​rocessing An​droid

Right now optimized for RFDuino but potentially possible for any BLE + GATT device. We've tested this library with the following devices: Red Bear BLE Nano, RFDuino, nRF8001 and it should work with the Bluefruit LE UART Friend as well as anything else BLE compatible. You'll want to get service/characteristic IDs to make connecting to a preconfigured device and service easier, or you could always just code up your own service/characteristic device set.

For instance, if you needed to connect to a BLE device that you knew basically nothing about, you'd power up your device, and in your Processing app scan for devices, connect to the device that you're interested in and scan for services and then scan for characteristics.

Using the library

It's very important that your AndroidManifest.xml file be correct and you'll need to edit it outside of the Processing IDE because there's something that we need to add so that your manifest is created correctly. It should look like this:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<manifest xmlns:android="" android:versionCode="1" android:versionName="1.0" package="">
   <uses-sdk android:minSdkVersion="18" android:targetSdkVersion="23" />
   <application android:debuggable="true" android:icon="@drawable/icon" android:label="">
      <service android:name="blepdroid.BluetoothLeService" />
      <activity android:name=".MainActivity">
            <action android:name="android.intent.action.MAIN" />
            <category android:name="android.intent.category.LAUNCHER" />
   <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION" />
   <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION" />
   <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.BLUETOOTH" />
   <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.BLUETOOTH_ADMIN" />
   <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE" />

The line that says <service android:name="blepdroid.BluetoothLeService" /> is particularly important because that's what allows Blepdroid to create a service that can connect to your phones Bluetooth hardware.


Ok, first let's talk terminology.

Device: a device that has a bluetooth transceiver. You can see what a device is called, what its hardware address is, and how strong the signal is.

RSSI: Received signal strength indication, i.e. how strong the signal is

Service: A single device can have multiple services. You can ask a device what services it has or you can just know ahead of time what service you're looking for. These don't send/recieve data, but they encapsulate characteristics, which do send/receive data.

Characteristic: A service has multiple characteristics that can be things like "heartrate" or "voice data" or "RFDUINO_SEND" or whatever else. These are the actual data channels. Most of them are read or write but not both. You hear data received on them by subscribing to the characterstic using setCharacteristicToListen() and then receiving information in the onCharacteristicChanged() callback. Speaking of callbacks:


The basic structure is as follows: pretty much everything happens via calls + callbacks. That's not my idea, that's Androids idea. It's not a bad idea though, even though it doesn't really mesh with Processing all that well. So, lets list them out:

void onDeviceDiscovered(BlepdroidDevice device)

We have run a scan and found a device. BlepdroidDevice looks like this (pretty simple)

	public String name;
	public String address;
	public UUID id;
	public int rssi;
	public byte[] scanRecord;

Name is usually something friendly, like "RFDuino" or "Wireless Mouse". Address is the device address that you'll use to connect to it. ID is the ID that the manufacturer put on it, rssi is signal strength (yes, you can use this for trilateration). And scanrecord is...something.

void onServicesDiscovered(ArrayList<String> ids, int status)

Every device has a bunch of services. When you connect to a device, you can say "hey, what services do you have?" and the device will tell you. By "tell you" I mean "give you a bunch of 128bit hex values" but that's usually good enough to know whether it supports the thing you're looking for or not.

void onBluetoothRSSI(String device, int rssi)

I don't have blepdroid set up yet to do constant RSSI scanning, but when I do, this is where it'll go.

void onBluetoothConnection( String device, int state)

When you've actually connected to a device. For state 0x0 is good, anything else is bad.

void onCharacteristicChanged(String characteristic, byte[] data)

You subscribed to a characteristic (i.e. a service (confusing, I know) that the device supports) and it has changed. This is usually a sign that some data has been written to your device.

void onDescriptorWrite(String characteristic, String data)

You've successfully written to a descriptor

void onDescriptorRead(String characteristic, String data)

You've sucessfully read from a descriptor

void onCharacteristicRead(String characteristic, byte[] data)

You've successfully read from a characteristic (and got the following data).

void onCharacteristicWrite(String characteristic, byte[] data)

You've successfully written data to a characteristic.


To kick all these events off we've got a few other methods:

void scanDevices()

This does what it says, but you'll notice that it returns void because, again, everything is callbacks. This triggers onDeviceDiscovered()

void connectDevice(String _hwAddress)

This is what helps you connect to a device. You can call it with the address of the BluetoothDevice object.

void discoverServices()

You've connected to a device and now you want to see what services it has. This triggers onServicesDiscovered.

void connectToService(UUID serviceID )

You've found a service that you like and you want to connect to it!

void setCharacteristicToListen(String characteristic);
void setCharacteristicToListen(UUID characteristic);

Once you've connected to a service, then you can say that you want to be updated whenever it broadcasts a characteristic notification. This triggers onCharacteristicChanged()

void writeCharacteristic(UUID characteristic, byte[] data);

Finally, this sends data to a characteristic that the device+service has.

Building this

You'll need to edit your classpath in the project settings like so:

alt tag

After that you can then select the project and then do Export, Jar, and set it to export to your Processing libraries library folder