Let's Build a Temperature Sensor with a Raspberry Pi Part 2

Raspberry Pi Temperature Sensor - Part 2

This is part two of the two part temperature sensor project. Make sure you check out Part 1 first.

In part 2, we setup the pi to emit the temperature and humidity data using BLE. We also made an iPhone app that can read that data.

YouTube Video

How To Build


First, follow the instructions in Part 1

The raspberry pi will be acting as the bluetooth peripheral (the thing advertising it’s data). Later on, we will setup the iPhone app which acts as the central device (the thing that reads data from the peripheral)

Bluetooth Peripheral (Raspberry Pi)

I used bleno, a Node.js module for implementing BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) peripherals. Before you can use bleno, you need to install some prerequisite software.

Use the following command to install the bleno system prerequisites on your raspberry pi:

sudo apt-get install bluetooth bluez libbluetooth-dev libudev-dev

Add bleno to your project.

npm install bleno

Add the following code to your project. Probably in a new file, but that’s up to you:

const bleno = require('bleno');

// bleno.state must be poweredOn before advertising is started. 
let state;
bleno.on('stateChange', (s) => {
  state = s;
  if (state !== 'poweredOn') {

 * Start or restart advertising with custom data.
 * @param {A 31 byte buffer compatible with the ble advertising spec} buffer 
function startAdvertising(buffer) { 
  return new Promise((resolve, reject) => {
    if (state !== 'poweredOn') {
      reject(new Error("not powered on"));
    bleno.startAdvertisingWithEIRData(buffer, (error) => {
      if (error) {

To start advertising, all we have to do is call startAdvertising with a 31 byte buffer. If you’re interested, heres some data on how the 31 bytes should be setup.

Add the following function to your project:

 * Create a new 31 byte buffer with temperature and humidity data.
 * For more information about how this function works, check out the following links:
 * https://www.bluetooth.com/specifications/assigned-numbers/generic-access-profile
 * https://www.silabs.com/community/wireless/bluetooth/knowledge-base.entry.html/2017/02/10/bluetooth_advertisin-hGsf
 * @param {A Double} temperature 
 * @param {A Double} humidity 
function advertisementData(temperature, humidity) {
  if (typeof temperature !== 'number' || typeof humidity !== 'number') {
    throw 'a fit';

  const buffer = Buffer.alloc(31); // maximum 31 bytes

  let bufferIndex = 0;

  // flags
  buffer.writeUInt8(2, bufferIndex++);
  buffer.writeUInt8(0x01, bufferIndex++);
  buffer.writeUInt8(0x06, bufferIndex++);

  // Complete Local Name
  const name = "Sensei" // Change this
  buffer.writeUInt8(1+name.length, bufferIndex++);
  buffer.writeUInt8(0x09, bufferIndex++);
  buffer.write(name, bufferIndex);
  bufferIndex += name.length;
  // Manufacturer Specific Data
  // 4 bytes for each number
  buffer.writeUInt8(1+8+8, bufferIndex++);
  buffer.writeUInt8(0xFF, bufferIndex++);
  buffer.writeDoubleLE(temperature, bufferIndex);
  buffer.writeDoubleLE(humidity, bufferIndex);

  return buffer;

This will create a new 31 byte buffer with temperature and humidity data assigned to the Manufacturer Specific Data. https://www.bluetooth.com/specifications/assigned-numbers/generic-access-profile

Manufacturer Specific Data: 0xFF
temperature: 8 byte little endian double
humidity: 8 byte little endian double

To start advertising temperature and humidity, you could call the function like this:

const buffer = advertisementData(24.4, 65.6);

I’ll let you figure out how you want to connect this to the real temperature data. My version of the peripheral code for this can be found here: https://github.com/Sam-Meech-Ward/Sensei-Peripheral-JS

Then you can use an app like LightBlue® Explorer to verify that it’s advertising.

Bluetooth Central (iOS)

BLE apps must run this on a real iPhone, not the simulator!

To interact with other ble devices from an iOS app, you will have to use the CoreBluetooth framework.

Create a new TemperatureDetector class, and add the following code:

import Foundation
import CoreBluetooth

class TemperatureDetector: NSObject {
  // The Central Manager is what will listen for advertising ble devices.
  var myCentralManager: CBCentralManager!
  override init() {
    myCentralManager = CBCentralManager(delegate: self, queue: nil)


extension TemperatureDetector: CBCentralManagerDelegate {
  func centralManagerDidUpdateState(_ central: CBCentralManager) {
    // If ble is supported and available, start scanning; otherwise, stop scanning
    if central.state == .poweredOn {
      myCentralManager.scanForPeripherals(withServices: nil, options: nil)
    } else {
  func centralManager(_ central: CBCentralManager, didDiscover peripheral: CBPeripheral, advertisementData: [String : Any], rssi RSSI: NSNumber) {
    // Only continue if we find a peripheral with the name "Sensei"
    // Change this to whatever you've called your peripheral
    guard let name = advertisementData["kCBAdvDataLocalName"] as? String, name == "Sensei" else {
    // Get the Manufacturer Data, that's where we stored the temperature and humidity
    guard let manData = advertisementData["kCBAdvDataManufacturerData"] as? Data else {
    // The data was stored in binary, now we have to read that data as an 8 byte double.
    // Temperature is the first 8 bytes
    let temperature: Double = manData.subdata(in: 0..<8).withUnsafeBytes { $0.pointee }
    // Humidity is the second 8 bytes
    let humidity: Double = manData.subdata(in: 8..<16).withUnsafeBytes { $0.pointee }
    print("Temperature: \(temperature), Humidity: \(humidity)")

When you create a new instance of TemperatureDetector, it will start scanning for BLE peripherals. If it finds the temperature sensor “Sensei”, it will print out the temperature and humidity data.

Here’s my complete iPhone app: https://github.com/Sam-Meech-Ward/Sensei-Central-iOS