In the near future, smart building features like these will be commonplace:
- An office that automatically adapts its climate when someone enters or leaves.
- A hospital room that sounds the alarm when a patient stops breathing.
- A factory hall with machines that turn themselves off when someone pierces the safety perimeter around them.
If you want to make any building ‘smart’, you need to equip it with reliable sensors – lots of them. So which technology is your best choice for a sensing solution that combines performance with affordability?
Smart building sensors: radar chips or cameras?
Designers of smart building sensors increasingly prefer radar over camera detection. For three good reasons:
- privacy – Especially in public buildings such as hospitals or offices, it’s not a viable option to continually register the movements of – inevitably recognizable – people.
- reliability – Cameras offer perfect pictures when they have a clear line of view. But any interference (such as fog, rain or low lighting) immediately reduces their suitability.
- functionality – While traditional cameras record 2D images, radar sensors directly register movement, speed and distance, which makes them ideal for occupancy awareness.
The only drawback of radar? Current commercial radar chips use too much power and rely on expensive technologies. That makes them less suited for large-scale implementation in battery-powered devices, which is exactly what you need for a smart building sensor network.
8 GHz UWB radar chips for affordable sensing
Imec develops radar technologies based on standard CMOS technology. We’re working towards radar ICs that are easily integrated with other chip components and cheaper to produce.
In addition, the power consumption of such 8 GHz radar chips is below 1 mW. And they’re fully compliant with international UWB standards.
With 8 GHz UWB radar chips, you have access to a sensing technology that is ideally suited for use in smart building sensors and other IoT applications. They offer you the capability to:
- detect people’s movements at up to a 15-meter distance
- register small motions such as chest breathing
- build a maintenance-free and battery-operated smart building sensor network
Want to use this technology in your applications? Imec is looking for partners towards collaborative R&D on application, system and chip level.