How to Build a Bluetooth Device Scanner in Python

Bluetooth technology has become an integral part of our daily lives, seamlessly connecting smartphones, laptops, headphones, and an array of other gadgets. Its ubiquity underscores its importance in modern device connectivity. Leveraging the versatility of Python, developers can tap into this connectivity with ease, thanks to libraries like pybluez. These libraries empower developers to interact effortlessly with Bluetooth devices, opening doors to a multitude of possibilities. In this article, we’ll delve into the fascinating realm of Bluetooth device scanning using Python, exploring its applications and intricacies along the way. Join us as we uncover the potential of Python in harnessing the power of Bluetooth technology.

Prerequisites

Before diving into the code, ensure you have Python installed on your system. Additionally, install the pybluez library using pip:

>> pip install pybluez

Scanning for Bluetooth Devices

Let’s break down the process of scanning for Bluetooth devices in Python.

  • Importing the Required Module: We begin by importing the bluetooth module, which is part of the pybluez library. This module provides functions and classes for Bluetooth communication in Python.
import bluetooth
  • Defining the Scan Function: Next, we define a function called scan_devices() that initiates the device discovery process. This function utilizes the discover_devices function from the bluetooth module. We specify various parameters to customize the scan process.
def scan_devices():
    devices = bluetooth.discover_devices(duration=8, lookup_names=True, flush_cache=True, lookup_class=True)
    return devices
  • duration: Specifies the duration of the scan in seconds. In this example, we set it to 8 seconds.
  • lookup_names: If set to True, it retrieves the user-friendly names of discovered devices along with their addresses.
  • flush_cache: If set to True, it clears the device cache before performing the scan.
  • lookup_class: If set to True, it retrieves the device class information along with addresses and names.
  • Main Execution Block: In the main block of the script, we call the scan_devices() function to perform the Bluetooth device scan. We then iterate through the list of nearby devices and print their Bluetooth addresses and names, if available.
if __name__ == "__main__":
    print("Scanning for Bluetooth devices...")
    nearby_devices = scan_devices()
    print("Found {} devices:".format(len(nearby_devices)))
    for addr, name in nearby_devices:
        print("  {} - {}".format(addr, name))
  • The __name__ == "__main__" condition ensures that the code within this block is executed only when the script is run directly, not when it’s imported as a module.

Below is a Python script that consolidates all the necessary code to scan for available Bluetooth devices.

import bluetooth

def scan_devices():
    devices = bluetooth.discover_devices(duration=8, lookup_names=True, flush_cache=True, lookup_class=True)
    return devices

if __name__ == "__main__":
    print("Scanning for Bluetooth devices...")
    nearby_devices = scan_devices()
    print("Found {} devices:".format(len(nearby_devices)))
    for addr, name in nearby_devices:
        print("  {} - {}".format(addr, name))

Running the Scanner: To run the Bluetooth device scanner, save the script to a Python file (e.g., bluetooth_scanner.py) and execute it using Python:

python bluetooth_scanner.py


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