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Record operating range at 880m by single impulse radio chip

Posted: 22 Apr 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:impulse radio ultra-wideband? transceiver? CMOS? UWB?

French fabless start-up BeSpoon and the CEA-Leti research institute have demonstrated an impulse radio ultra-wideband (IR-UWB) integrated circuit able to measure distances to within a few centimetres' accuracy.

And the circuit can do this at a range of 880m using standard regulations on UWB transmission and at a range of 3.6km using emergency situation UWB regulations. The record-setting distance was 3,641m.

IR-UWB has been recognised as a suitable location technology for indoor applications, where global positioning by satellite does not work. This suitability is both in terms of robustness and accuracy and a number of companies are developing impulse radio chips. It measures distances to within a few centimetres' precision and is not affected by walls or people passing by. However, the technology is perceived to have challenges with range and integration and cost, which BeSpoon and Leti claim to have overcome.

BeSpoon measures distances between two transceivers by computing the time it takes for pulse signal to perform a round trip. Measurement is done within 125ps, the time it takes light to travel about 3.75 centimetres. Importantly these measurements are taken at very low digital clock rates avoiding the power consumption of high-speed processing, BeSpoon said. Once the distance is computed it is straightforward to localise objects using triangulation or other established techniques.

BeSpoon and the CEA-Leti demonstate range of IR-UWB

BeSpoon and the CEA-Leti demonstate range of IR-UWB. Measurement is done within 125ps, the time it takes light to travel about 3.75 centimetres.

As well as performing precise time measurement BeSpoon's IC copes with issues such as clock instability.

The chip, which was designed jointly by BeSpoon and Leti, features a complete IR-UWB transceiver implemented in CMOS and able to perform accurate distance measurements. The chip combines RF front-end and digital baseband and is designed for a straightforward integration within smartphones or set-top boxes.

Furthermore, BeSpoon has demonstrated the capability to comply with the strict regulation of IR-UWB, and yet operate up to 880m distance in line of sight. BeSpoon and Leti claim to have a world record distance measurement at 3,641m, in compliance with the regulation for emergency situations.

"Indoor location is only beginning and, very soon, robustness and precision will be key to offering great new services," said Jean-Marie Andr, BeSpoon CEO, in a statement. "Mobile geofencing is another exciting development of our technology."

BeSpoon was founded in March 2010 by a team from Purple Labs, which had designed cell phones and smartphones. It has operated a joint lab with Leti in Grenoble for the development of its chip.

- Peter Clarke
??EE Times





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