Nordic Semiconductor today announces that DecaWave, a Dublin, Ireland-based fabless semiconductor company, has selected Nordic’s award-winning Bluetooth® Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) nRF52832 System-on-Chip (SoC) for its DWM1001 module. The module forms the foundation of scalable Two-Way-Ranging (TWR) Real Time Location Systems (RTLS) potentially comprising thousands of tags.
The DWM1001 module combines DecaWave’s DW1000 Ultra Wide Band (UWB) transceiver, the nRF52832 SoC, a three-axis accelerometer, a UWB Channel 5 printed PCB antenna (6.5 GHz), and a Bluetooth LE chip antenna.
The module is accompanied by DecaWave’s DWM1001-Dev development board and MDEK1001 evaluation kit which enables users with limited RF design experience to program and evaluate the DWM1001 module. Development is further simplified because Nordic’s unique software architecture cleanly separates the RF software protocol stack from the developer’s application code eliminating the possibliity of code development and compilation corrupting the stack, and accelerating time-to-market.
The DWM1001 module is based on DecaWave’s DW1000 single-chip, IEEE802.15.4-2011 UWB-compliant transceiver. The technology is immune to multipath fading which is key to guaranteeing high reliability—within 2cm precision—in indoor environments. The 6.8Mbps data rate capability reduces the air time, enabling the real-time location of thousands of tags, as well as low power consumption for battery-operated devices.
In the module, the nRF52832 SoC provides Bluetooth LE connectivity to Bluetooth 4.0 (and later) smartphones and tablets allowing end customers to configure, control, and monitor RTLS applications. The nRF52832 SoC’s powerful 64MHz, 32-bit ARM® Cortex® M4F processor not only runs Nordic’s S132 SoftDevice (a Bluetooth 5-certifed RF software protocol stack) but also the module’s RTLS firmware and supervisory functions. The SoC’s 512 kB Flash memory application and powerful microprocessor support customer location- and sensor-fusion algorithms, and Over-the-Air Device Firmware Updates (OTA-DFU). The S132 SoftDevice also offers mesh capability, enabling scalable networking.
The DWM1001 module is a cost-efficient development platform targeted at low-to-mid volume industrial, healthcare, retail, and consumer applications. For example, the technology could be used to avoid collisions between people and robots in a factory, or for advanced analytics or navigation services to locate medical equipment in a hospital; tools and spare parts in a warehouse; or shopping carts at a retail center.
Nordic’s nRF52832 Bluetooth LE SoC, a member of Nordic’s sixth generation of ultra low power (ULP) wireless connectivity solutions, combines an ARM microprocessor with a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio (supporting Bluetooth 5, ANT™, and proprietary 2.4GHz RF software) featuring -96dB RX sensitivity, with 512kB Flash memory and 64kB RAM. When launched, the SoC was the world’s highest performance single-chip Bluetooth LE solution.
The SoC is supplied with Nordic’s S132 SoftDevice which supports Central, Peripheral, Broadcaster and Observer Bluetooth LE roles, supports up to twenty connections, and enables concurrent role operation.
“The key factors in our decision to choose the nRF52832 SoC were its competitive feature/price ratio, ultra low power consumption to support customers’ low duty cycle applications, the maturity of the RF software stack, and the clean separation between the SoftDevice and customer application code,” says Mickael Viot, Vice President of Marketing at DecaWave.
“Nordic’s online community and support is also very important to SME customers specializing in our target applications.”