Low-power GNSS receiver chip for wearable applications

February 21, 2017 //By Jean-Pierre Joosting
Swiss company u-blox has announced the UBX‑M8230‑CT global navigation satellite system (GNSS) receiver chip, offering a unique balance of performance and ultra-low power use.

The innovative Super-Efficient (Super-E) mode cuts the power consumption by two-thirds to a mere 20 mW at one position update every second with hardly any loss in accuracy. It delivers continued superb speed and position accuracy even when tested in applications such as wearables and portable electronics, where the antenna is small and movement prevents a constant view of the sky.

Super-E mode is ideal for devices that require high levels of speed and position accuracy, but where power is limited. Along with smartwatches, sports wearables and fitness trackers, it can be used in trackers for assets, people, children and animals, to provide accurate and frequent location information with minimal impact on battery life.

“Constantly needing to know the user location in wearables has a strong strain on the battery, which has traditionally limited GNSS adoption. UBX-M8230-CT’s low power consumption combined with its high positioning accuracy and the ultra small design footprint of <30 mm 2 makes it possible to add GNSS to virtually all wearables,” said Florian Bousquet, Market Development Manager, Product Center Positioning at u-blox.

He added: “The UBX-M8230-CT’s Super-E mode uses concurrent reception of GPS with either GLONASS or BeiDou. It allows batching location data temporarily on the chip, which helps to further reduce the system power consumption by avoiding the need to constantly run the main CPU.

The size and power savings brought by UBX-M8230-CT will enable designers to add features desired by the market, such as heart rate monitoring, while still offering high position and speed accuracy.

Samples will be available in March 2017 and volume production will start in summer 2017.

www.u-blox.com