New features for Bluetooth low energy SoCs to reduce COVID-19 spread

26-05-2020 | Dialog Semiconductor | Semiconductors

Dialog Semiconductor now offers a new Wireless Ranging (WiRa) SDK that adds highly accurate and reliable distance measurement abilities to its DA1469x family of BLE SoCs.

The demand for more accurate and reliable distance measurement and tracing technology has become more critical in the wake of COVID-19. With businesses across the globe preparing a controlled reopening of their workplaces, they are seeking solutions to help guarantee safe distances between employees and enhanced contact tracing abilities, to assure safe working environments and peace of mind for employees.

The company's new SDK succeeds where RSSI falls short, leveraging a proprietary radar-like implementation for much-improved distance measurement accuracy between BLE connected devices. By interleaving Bluetooth LE data packets with constant tone frequency exchanges, the DA1469x on-chip 2.4GHz radio generates the signals required for phase-based ranging. The high-resolution on-chip sampling of radio waves produces high-quality IQ samples that produce the input for distance determination. Data processing algorithms filter the data for interference, noise and reflections, to create the shortest over-the-air signal path length as an accurate distance output.

The BLE compliant stack and WiRa software implementation that the company provides does not need hardware adaptations or an external host processor, ensuring co-existence between the Bluetooth communication and the distance measurement process.

“Dialog’s Bluetooth low energy solutions are already finding their way into a variety of products to help slow the spread of COVID-19”, said Sean McGrath, senior vice president, Connectivity and Audio Business Group. “By adding unique, accurate distance measurement capabilities to our DA1469x SoCs, we expect to accelerate more tracing type applications and products into deployment on a global scale over the next few months. My expectation and hope is that this may help to significantly slow or stop the spread of the virus.”