Wearables can protect with social distancing and contact tracing

A reference design from ST Microelectronics uses a Bluetooth Low Energy SoC, a MEMS accelerometer and a sub-GHz RF transceiver in a scalable environment for wearable devices that can implement social distancing and contact tracing.

The reference design for bands and bracelets used in open air or closed professional environments (factories, offices and medical facilities) also have anti-tampering and remote notification features and a long battery life.

The compact, cost-effective reference design is suitable for monitoring social distancing, assuring remote operation, provisioning, as well as warning, anti-tampering, and potentially providing contact tracing to protect human health.

The BlueNRG-Tile reference design incorporates a low power BlueNRG-2 SoC with tunable RF output power. The reference design measures the signal strength of nearby Bluetooth non-connecting beacons and, in real-time, calculates proximity to these sources. The circuit can be provisioned and then operate, issuing warnings when another beacon intrudes on an adjustable perimeter or when tampered with – even when not connected to a smartphone or 5G network.

The base reference design can be supplemented with ST’s S2-LP sub-GHz low-power RF transceiver to add bi-directional tag-to-cloud communication through the Sigfox 0G global network. This allows private and anonymous tag provisioning, notifications, and an advisory return-channel for emergency warnings.

To extend battery life, the low power components are enhanced with a MEMS accelerometer that power cycles the unit when it is not moving. For contact tracing to protect community healthy in local or global pandemics, internal or external memory could provide long-term storage of nearby beacons.

The compact design can be used in bracelets and bands or as plug-ins or add-ons to eyeglasses, helmets, and masks and shields.

Members of the ST Partner Program have evaluated and adopted the reference design and used in location monitoring and contact tracing platforms with the reference design in compact, low power tags, providing proximity alerts and contact recording.

STMicroelectronics delivers intelligent and energy-efficient semiconductors for customers enabling smarter driving and smarter factories, cities and homes, along with the next generation of mobile and IoT devices.


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