Nordic Semiconductor today announces that Tampere, Finland-based software company, Wirepas, has specified Nordic’s nRF52832 Bluetooth® Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) System-on-Chip (SoC) to power the sensors, network nodes, and gateway used in ‘WakeCap’. The product is a solution for the construction, energy, and manufacturing sectors developed and brought to market by San Francisco, CA-based WakeCap Technologies.
Designed to overcome the challenge of complete and accurate visibility of worker flow traffic and equipment location with no additional worker training or configuration required, the WakeCap solution enables ‘real-time’ and ‘real-motion’ site reporting and analytics. WakeCap’s analytics compare the on-site work crew timing with staffing and project management plans, highlighting unexpected problems early and avoiding delays or extra costs. The hard hat-worn sensors track the location of the wearer on a worksite and record any incidents of the hard hat being subjected to force. The network nodes are placed throughout the worksite and along with the hard hats are wirelessly linked using Wirepas Mesh connectivity integrated in the Nordic SoCs. The comprehensive site activity data including worker time, location, and motion/shock analytics can be relayed via Wirepas Mesh to the nRF52832 SoC-equipped gateway which in turn sends the data to the Cloud.
Site management can then review the information and actionable insights via the ‘WakeCap Analysis Platform’ through a customizable web-based dashboard or an associated smartphone app for safety and/or operational improvement purposes. The platform can also be used to enhance Covid-19 safety and avoid site shutdown by providing a touchless automated attendance system, monitoring social distancing, and contact tracing.
Nordic’s nRF52832 multiprotocol SoC supports Wirepas Mesh, a large scale, low power mesh connectivity software used by the WakeCap devices to enable a cost-effective, scalable IoT solution with density, flexibility, and reliability. Wirepas Mesh can be used to connect, locate, and identify lights, sensors, beacons, assets, machines, and meters. The decentralized Wirepas Mesh network allows each WakeCap hard hat to relay important data forward to another hard hat or anchor node maximizing coverage across a large worksite and reducing the number of anchor nodes or gateways required. The system is extremely simple to install on job sites as the anchors are battery operated thanks to Wirepas Mesh routers’ power consumption being extremely low.
The nRF52832 SoC combines a 64MHz, 32-bit Arm® Cortex® M4 processor with floating point unit (FPU), with a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio (supporting Bluetooth 5.2, ANT™, and proprietary 2.4GHz RF protocol software) featuring -96-dB RX sensitivity, with 512kB Flash memory and 64kB RAM. The nRF52832 SoC is supplied with Nordic’s S132 SoftDevice, a Bluetooth 5.2-certified RF software protocol stack for building advanced Bluetooth LE applications. The nRF52832 SoC provides a flexible hardware/software partitioning which allowed Wirepas to implement its decentralized Mesh protocol while benefitting from a clear separation between the RF protocol layer and the customer application code, simplifying development and ensuring the Wirepas Mesh protocol doesn’t get corrupted when Wakecap engineers were developing, compiling, testing, and verifying their application code.
The WakeCap system offers over 1.5 years of battery life for the hard hat sensors and 8+ years of battery life for the network nodes so users can rely on the devices covering all workers without depending on unrealistic recharging cycles. This endurance is thanks in part to the ultra-low power characteristics of the Nordic SoC. The nRF52832 has been engineered to minimize power consumption with features such as the 2.4GHz radio’s 5.5mA peak RX/TX currents and a fully-automatic power management system that reduces power consumption by up to 80 percent compared with Nordic’s nRF51 Series SoCs.
“Wirepas Mesh is deployed in many industrial applications such as asset tracking or monitoring where the power consumption and form factor of the devices are key,” says Youssef Kamel, SVP Ecosystem from Wirepas. “Nordic’s nRF52832 SoC offers the perfect combination of compact size and power efficiency aligning with the product’s requirements.
“Its flexible hardware/software partitioning allowed an easy implementation of Wirepas Mesh. In addition, Nordic provided excellent technical information and support to help speed up the development process.”