In the ongoing battle to overcome the coronavirus pandemic, technology plays an increasing role. To that end, u-blox confirms that its Bluetooth 5 modules are being built into wearable devices. Available as either a wristband or a pendant, the TDS‑50 wearable has been developed by Electronic Precepts to present a highly effective track-and-trace solution, with data being directly stored on the device and periodically sent to a web server. In addition, through the social-distancing function that is also featured, wearers are given visual and vibrational alerts if another TDS-50 wearer comes within 6 feet of them for over 45 seconds. The device can be used anywhere, from schools to businesses or airports.
The TDS-50 units needed a compact form factor to make them comfortable for the user to wear. They also had to support ultra-low power operation, with the ability to deliver passive scanning (for social-distancing purposes) over a period of up to 240 hours. Consequently, the wireless-communication module specified had to meet both key criteria fully. Given the immediacy of the COVID crisis, it was crucial as well that the solution could be brought to market very rapidly—with the constituent RF electronics being quick and simple to incorporate into the design and having all the necessary standards approvals in place.
u-blox's ANNA-B112, with dimensions of just 6.5 mm x 6.5 mm x 1.2 mm, is a highly integrated and pre-approved system-in-package (SiP) optimized for situations where a swift turnaround is mandated. It is based on Nordic’s nRF52832 chip-level Bluetooth technology, with a 64-MHz Arm Cortex-M4 processing resource plus 512 kB of embedded flash memory. Supporting data rates of 1.4 Mbit/s, it is highly suited to wearables applications and does not impact heavily on battery reserves.