Announcing Bluz, Spark + BLE, developed by the community!

The Spark ecosystem is growing. Announcing Bluz, a Spark-powered BLE dev kit for creating Bluetooth Low Energy connected products. But this time, we didn’t make it - one of you did. Bluz is the first Spark Compound - a product in the Spark ecosystem created not by us, but by you. And we hope it’s the first of many.

Back Bluz on Kickstarter

Bluz: the first Spark Compound

Back in summer 2014, a gentleman named Eric Ely (@eely22 here in the forum) started a thread about SparkLE in our forums, and quickly got some great feedback for a BLE-powered Spark Core clone. To date, the thread has 109 posts and 2.2K views, and 26 community members have leaned in to provide feedback. Lots of people wanted SparkLE.

A few months later, Eric and his cousin Ben launched GoGlove, a SparkLE-powered wearable remote, on Kickstarter. Once the campaign was successfully funded, Eric approached our team about commercializing SparkLE. We gave him the go ahead. He renamed it Bluz and started generating some buzz for the project.

Eric (@eely22) has been fantastic to work with. He’s a talented engineer, and he’s done a great job of porting the Spark “experience” to BLE while adding a unique set of features that make Bluz really compelling on its own. Bluz can run for months on a coin cell battery. It can communicate with a computer, a smartphone, or directly to the cloud (using a Core/Photon/Electron as a gateway). Because Bluz is part Spark, it will integrate completely and seamlessly into the Spark environment. You can use the same Web IDE, Webhooks, Dashboard, Tinker app, SparkJS, and all the other Spark tools. And it hits all the criteria for a great dev kit: it’s easy to use, affordable, and open source. You should seriously consider grabbing a few.

A call for Compounds

Bluz is the first-ever “Compound” - a board that joins the Spark ecosystem but is not of our making. Bluz is part us and part Eric - a “compound” of the two. It’s a better product than either of us could have made on our own, and we hope to see more of them.

We’d love to see other Compounds, and if you’re interested in making one, we’d love to support it. Consider this a call for Compounds.

If you want to make a dev kit that’s powered by Spark, here’s what you should do:

  • Create a thread here on our community forum to present your idea
  • Collect feedback to see if it has legs
  • If there’s clear interest from the community, come talk to us
  • We’ll help with your Kickstarter campaign and provide advice on supply chain, manufacturing, logistics, and distribution
  • We charge a flat $2/device to provide access to our cloud platform (a one-time fee which covers the device for its entire lifetime)

Do you want to see Spark in new environments? Ethernet? Mesh? Sub-ghz? Come tell us about your ideas and we’ll help you bring them to life!


Congrats to Bluz on their successful (340% funded) kickstarter campaign.


Would this cover use of the Particle Cloud for a generic Microcontroller, say the Arduino ? The Particle Cloud is quite useful with or without the Photon/Core/ etc. So could we use the phone as a gateway (or a photon, or even a R-Pi) as the Bluz folks have done, and use the Particle Cloud (variable, function, pub/sub) from the microcontroller. I suppose this would require some library to be published by Particle ?

I could see folks (including myself) paying $2/connected device for using the cloud functions.



We’d be happy to support other devices (such as Arduinos) connecting to the cloud, we’d just need somebody from the community to take the lead on developing it! We’re happy to offer our assistance, of course.

One thing to note here is that there is a minimum set of hardware requirements. Not sure if it is published anywhere, but as far as I know, bluz is using the lowest values currently in any kit. They are:

  • ARM Cortex M0 at 16MHz
  • 32k RAM (really 24k after BLE stack)
  • 256k Flash

The second two are the biggest requirements. I tried running this on 16k RAM (really 8k) at one point and it simply wouldn’t work. The initial RSA handshake allocates a lot.

Also, there is a fair amount of Flash needed to store the necessary libraries.

So running this on an Uno is probably out of the question. However, there are a lot of other dev kits out there that could support it.