LE BOURGET DU LAC and GRENOBLE, France -- BeSpoon, a fabless semiconductor company, and CEA-Leti have demonstrated an IR-UWB integrated circuit able to measure distances within a few centimeters' accuracy, and have established a world-record operating range at 880 m (standard regulation) and 3,641 m (emergency situations).
Impulse radio ultra-wideband (IR-UWB) is recognized as an ideal technology for indoor applications, both in terms of accuracy and robustness. It measures distances within a few centimeters' precision and is not affected by walls or people passing by.
The BeSpoon and Leti collaboration overcame two challenges sometimes associated with this technology: the difficulty integrating it on a single chip and its perceived limited operating range.
The chip jointly designed by BeSpoon and Leti features a full-blown IR-UWB CMOS-integrated transceiver that is able to perform accurate distance measurements. The standalone chip (RF front-end and digital base band) is designed for a straightforward integration within smartphones or set-top boxes.
Furthermore, BeSpoon has demonstrated the capability to comply with the strict regulation of IR-UWB, and yet operate up to 880 m in line of sight. A world record distance measurement has been established at 3,641 m, in compliance with the regulation for emergency situations.
"Indoor location is only beginning and, very soon, robustness and precision will be key to offering great new services," said Jean-Marie André, BeSpoon CEO. "Mobile geofencing is another exciting development of our technology."
"This achievement capitalizes on the UWB expertise Leti has developed over the past 12 years," said Laurent Malier, CEO of Leti. "The world record distance measurement is a major milestone in our partnership with BeSpoon, and a source of great satisfaction for the people involved in this collaboration."
Leti is an institute of CEA, a French research-and-technology organization with activities in energy, IT, healthcare, defence and security. Leti is focused on creating value and innovation through technology transfer to its industrial partners. It specializes in nanotechnologies and their applications, from wireless devices and systems, to biology, healthcare and photonics. NEMS and MEMS are at the core of its activities. CEA-Leti operates 8,000-m2 of state-of-the-art clean room space on 200 mm and 300 mm wafer platforms. It employs 1,700 scientists and engineers including 320 Ph.D. students and 200 assignees from partner companies. CEA-Leti owns more than 2,200 patent families.
BeSpoon is a fabless semiconductor company. We cracked the individual positioning problem. Our chips can track items or individuals within a few centimeters. To achieve that, we measure the time of flight of a ultra wide band signal with a precision of 125 picoseconds! This opens fantastic opportunities to monitor assets, enable precise indoor location and ultimately keep track of all our belongings on our phones.