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BlinkSight offers single-chip indoor GPS

Posted: 15 Apr 2013     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:RTLS  indoor GPS  wireless sensor  impulse radio  base station 

BlinkSight has announced the release of its single-chip "indoor GPS" solution based on ultra-low power impulse radio technology by imec and Holst Centre. The solution targets wireless sensor network (WSN) applications.

According to BlinkSight, the chip delivers real-time information to track and trace people and objects in indoor environments. The company also noted that this unique combination of high accuracy, long range, and low power consumption is ideal for both consumer and business applications.

"The real-time location business is emerging and the global market for connected devices is growing at tremendous speed," said BlinkSight CMO Guus Frericks. "Adding highly accurate indoor capabilities to connected devices such as smartphones paves the way for a broad range of game changing consumer applications across 'Internet of Things' segments like smart homes, offices and retail."

BlinkSight's innovative system solution uses the ultra-low power 'impulse-radio' (IR) developed by imec and Holst Centre that enables real-time 3D location information that is accurate to within 10cm. The device combines digital processing elements and sophisticated analogue radio functionality in a single chip, enabling superior performance at a low cost of ownership. It can operate in both the 3.1-4.8GHz and 6-10GHz bands for use around the world and seamless co-existence with other wireless technologies.

With an operating voltage range of 1.5 to 3.6V, the new device is ideal for battery-powered applications. Together with its small form factor and low power consumption, this makes it suitable for integration into tags, wireless sensors, base stations and mobile devices. A base station equipped with BlinkSight's technology could track and trace thousands of fast moving tags in real time. In addition the tags are interactive and capable of sending dynamic data (e.g. temperature).

"Our solution is easy to install and thanks to the collaboration with imec we've been able to bring a working solution to market very fast," said BlinkSight CEO and founder Stéphane Mutz. "A lot of effort went into minimising power consumption, and we expect to have tags powered by energy harvesting available soon. We aim to bring a complete turnkey system to market and want to work with industry leaders to bring accurate indoor GPS capabilities to connected devices."

"Imec was a pioneer of impulse radio and the first to demonstrate an integrated impulse radio prototype. We are thrilled that BlinkSight is now successfully bringing the technology to market." said Harmke de Groot, programme director, ultra-low power wireless and DSP at Holst Centre/imec.

Fabricated in standard 90 nm RF-CMOS, the chip is manufactured at TSMC in Taiwan.

Key features of BrightSight's chip include:

  • Single chip impulse radio transceiver optimised for indoor GPS applications
  • Standard 90nm RF-CMOS technology
  • Single 1.5 to 3.6V power supply
  • Embedded software programmable ultra-low power 128bit vector DSP (<16 pJ / cycle)
  • Range: >60m LOS (Line of Sight) / >20m N-LOS (No Line of Sight)
  • 3D positioning accuracy better than 10cm
  • 5+ years operation from a standard coin battery

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