Bluetooth modules from u-blox help combat COVID-19 pandemic

September 03, 2020 //By Jean-Pierre Joosting
Bluetooth modules from u-blox help combat COVID-19 pandemic
Ticking all the boxes in terms of size, power budget and breadth of functionality, u-blox Bluetooth modules used in COVID-19 track and trace wearable devices.

Swiss company, u-blox has confirmed that its Bluetooth 5 modules are being built into wearable devices that are helping to combat the global COVID-19 pandemic. Available as either a wristband or a pendant, the TDS 50 has been developed by Electronic Precepts to present a highly-effective track and trace wearable, with data being directly stored on the device then 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 a 2 meter distance of them for over 45 seconds. The device can be used anywhere, from schools to businesses or airport settings.

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 of these 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.

The u-blox ANNA-B112 Bluetooth module proved itself to have all the attributes needed. With dimensions of just 6.5- x 6.5- x 1.2-mm, this space-saving, highly-integrated and pre-approved system-in-package (SiP) is 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 512kB of embedded flash memory. Supporting 1.4 Mbit/s data rates, it is highly suited to wearables applications and does not impact heavily on battery reserves.


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