Archive for May 20th, 2020

News: Imec Achieves cm Accuracy & Low-power Ultra Wideband Localisation

Wednesday, May 20th, 2020

Imec has combined advanced machine learning algorithms and innovations in chip design to extend its secure proximity portfolio with next-generation high-precision and low-power ultra wideband technology.

“UWB’s power consumption, chip size and associated cost have been prohibitive factors to the technology’s adoption, especially when it comes to the deployment of wireless ranging applications. For one, imec’s brand-new UWB chip developments result in a significant reduction of the technology’s footprint based on digital-style RF-concepts: we have been able to integrate an entire transceiver – including three receivers for angle-of-arrival measurements – on an area of less than 1 square mm. Importantly, our design also targets a very low power consumption: less than 4mW/20mW (Tx/Rx) – which is up to 10 times better than today’s implementations. And it builds on imec’s long standing expertise in secure distance bounding to increase the technology’s resilience to potential relay attacks,” explained Christian Bachmann, program manager for Secure Proximity and Sensitive Networks programs at imec.

“UWB’s power consumption, chip size and associated cost have been prohibitive factors to the technology’s adoption, especially when it comes to the deployment of wireless ranging applications. For one, imec’s brand-new UWB chip developments result in a significant reduction of the technology’s footprint based on digital-style RF-concepts: we have been able to integrate an entire transceiver – including three receivers for angle-of-arrival measurements – on an area of less than 1 square mm. Importantly, our design also targets a very low power consumption: less than 4mW/20mW (Tx/Rx) – which is up to 10 times better than today’s implementations. And it builds on imec’s long standing expertise in secure distance bounding to increase the technology’s resilience to potential relay attacks,” explained Christian Bachmann, program manager for Secure Proximity and Sensitive Networks programs at imec.

Ultra wideband technology is perfectly suited to support a variety of high accuracy and secure wireless ranging use-cases.

“Using machine learning, we created smart anchor selection algorithms that detect the (non) line-of-sight between UWB anchors and the mobile devices that are being tracked. Building on that knowledge, the ranging quality is estimated, and ranging errors are corrected. Since our approach also comes with machine learning enabled features that enable adaptive tuning of the network’s physical layer parameters, the right steps can then be initiated to mitigate those ranging errors – for instance by tuning the anchors’ radios,” explained Professor Eli De Poorter from IDLab.

Think of the ‘smart lock’ solutions commonly used in automotive – automatically unlocking a car’s doors as its owner approaches, while locking the car when the owner moves away.

While UWB is inherently more difficult to compromise than some alternatives, its potential has largely remained untapped because of its higher power consumption and larger footprint.

The innovations imec introduces today mark an important step to unlocking the technology’s full potential.

More details below from the press release.

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