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ST, Nanotron join forces for location networks

Posted: 19 Oct 2006     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:STMicroelectronics  Nanotron  wireless device  WPAN  PAN 

STMicroelectronics (ST) and Nanotron Technologies GmbH have joined forces to develop complete designs for wireless control and sensor networks targeted at the real time location systems market.

The devices will operate on low-data rate networks that meet the recently started efforts to establish a low-data-rate wireless personal area network standard. The collabouration between two companies will initially focus on the development of components and reference designs, including hardware, software, and tools, for the industrial and the active RFID asset-tracking market.

The effort combines Nanotron's systems expertise and IP for designing RF systems based on chirp spread spectrum radio hardware and software with ST's capabilities in semiconductor development and manufacturing as well as its manufacturing and marketing resources.

A chirp product should be available in early 2007, the companies said. They stressed that the deal is non-excusive on both sides and that the aim is to develop and market fully compatible and reliable dual sources for high-precision location tracking.

"The continued growth of active RFID applications depends upon advancements in RF technologies, like chirp and Symmetric Double-Sided Two-Way Ranging, to enable solutions that are highly robust, highly accurate and simple to deploy at low cost," said Jim Nicholas, general manager of ST's microcontroller division. "By working with Nanotron, we intend to complement our RF Low Data Rate products with new high-performance reliable communications platforms that will dramatically improve our customers' time-to-market."

Dr. Jens N. Albers, CEO of Nanotron, added, "Chirp technology is used in nature by dolphins for communication and by bats for ranging. Nanotron implemented the technology concept that is known from radar technology for both communication and ranging."

- John Walko
EE Times Europe

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