BlinkSight, a fabless semiconductor company in real-time location systems (RTLS), has released the first single-chip ‘indoor GPS’ solution for RTLS and wireless sensor network (WSN) applications. Based on ultra-low power impulse radio technology by imec and Holst Centre, the new chip delivers real-time information to track and trace people and objects in indoor environments. Its unique combination of high accuracy, long range and low power consumption is ideal for both business and consumer 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 which enables real-time 3D location information that is accurate to within 10 cm. The device combines digital processing elements and sophisticated analog radio functionality in a single chip, enabling superior performance at a low cost of ownership. It can operate in both the 3.1-4.8 GHz and 6-10 GHz bands for use around the world and seamless co-existence with other wireless technologies.
Moreover, with an operating voltage range of 1.5 to 3.6 V, 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 minimizing 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, Program 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.
- Single chip impulse radio transceiver optimized for indoor GPS applications
- Standard 90 nm RF-CMOS technology
- Single 1.5 to 3.6 V power supply
- Embedded software programmable ultra low power 128 bit vector DSP (<16 pJ / cycle)
- Range: > 60 m LOS (Line of Sight) / > 20 m N-LOS (No Line of Sight)
- 3D positioning accuracy better than 10 cm
- 5+ years operation from a standard coin battery
BlinkSight is a fabless semiconductor company specializing in the design of integrated circuits and turnkey solutions for Real Time Location Systems. Founded in 2011, this privately held company is based in Caen, France and has offices in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. For more information, please visit www.blinksight.com.
imec performs world-leading research in nanoelectronics. imec leverages its scientific knowledge with the innovative power of its global partnerships in ICT, healthcare and energy. imec delivers industry-relevant technology solutions. In a unique high-tech environment, its international top talent is committed to providing the building blocks for a better life in a sustainable society. imec is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, and has offices in Belgium, the Netherlands, Taiwan, US, China, India and Japan. Its staff of close to 2,000 people includes more than 600 industrial residents and guest researchers. In 2011, imec’s revenue (P&L) was about 300 million euro. Further information on imec can be found at www.imec.be.
imec is a registered trademark for the activities of IMEC International (a legal entity set up under Belgian law as a “stichting van openbaar nut”), imec Belgium (IMEC vzw supported by the Flemish Government), imec the Netherlands (Stichting IMEC Nederland, part of Holst Centre which is supported by the Dutch Government), imec Taiwan (IMEC Taiwan Co.) and imec China (IMEC Microelectronics (Shangai) Co. Ltd.) and imec India (Imec India Private Limited).
About Holst Centre
Holst Centre is an independent open-innovation R&D center that develops generic technologies for Wireless Autonomous Transducer Solutions and for Systems-in-Foil. A key feature of Holst Centre is its partnership model with industry and academia around shared roadmaps and programs. It is this kind of cross-fertilization that enables Holst Centre to tune its scientific strategy to industrial needs.
Holst Centre was set up in 2005 by imec (Flanders, Belgium) and TNO (The Netherlands) with support from the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Government of Flanders. It is named after Gilles Holst, a Dutch pioneer in Research and Development and first director of Philips Research.
Located on High Tech Campus Eindhoven, Holst Centre benefits from the state-of-the-art on-site facilities. Holst Centre has over 180 employees from around 28 nationalities and a commitment from more than 40 industrial partners. Visit us at www.holstcentre.com.