Internet of Things Product of the Year
Product Name: 24GHz Radio-wave Sensor
Company: Socionext Europe GmbH
The dramatic shift in the way people operate in the workplace caused by the COVID-19 pandemic created significant interest in setting up a safe and efficient home environment. Consumers have sought smart home devices so they can remain productive at their jobs while meeting their everyday requirements.
Employees working from home want simple, effective ways to minimize disruptions while remaining alert for deliveries of goods and services. For households subscribed to an interactive security system, a video doorbell has become the pivotal point of home security, and the central hub for many security-driven smart home controls such as lighting, access locking, and home monitoring. These kinds of products and systems are built around advanced technology, including energy-efficient smart sensors.
A radar sensor is an electronic device designed to detect the position and movement of an object at a certain distance. The sensing range for a short distance is up to several meters and can detect any object that falls within the detection zone. They work with electromagnetic waves that are reflected off objects and travel at known speeds. They are affected less by foam, fog, powder and dust than other sensor technologies. Additionally, they can operate behind non-metallic surfaces, walls, glass or plastic housing
Radar sensors can detect location and movement of persons without recording images or sounds, therefore offering anonymity.
In the past many IoT devices have utilized Passive Infrared (PIR) as a movement detection sensor and has been the single choice for motion detection in security applications. But PIR sensors have certain limitations that are not desirable in Smart Home applications. PIRs only offer single type of data – that is ON and OFF.
Modern radar sensors with FMCW sensing mode offer more information than just motion detection on/off. They can sense distance and presence and as the radar is equipped with multiple antennas the sensor can also output information on the angle. Radar technology is more robust against environmental conditions. Altogether radar sensors have less false detections than PIR sensors.
The disadvantage with many solutions today, however, is that they are often a module of several components. The radar sensor is connected to an external antenna which requires in-depth know-how of analogue RF design for antenna and PCB design. The output of such a sensor is an I/Q data that needs high performance signal processing on the host CPU and software algorithms to calculate the distance.
Socionext has designed a single-chip, highly integrated, 24GHz Radio-wave Sensor with ultra-low power consumption specifically for IoT products, smart home applications, mobile devices and industrial equipment.
The SC1233 distinguishes itself from the competition by combining high levels of integration into a single IC package and incorporates a full CMOS-based semiconductor design to help reduce power consumption and manufacturing costs.
• Socionext has decades of RF design expertise and is able to meet challenging requirements of customers including integrating software and hardware components.
• Using standard CMOS semiconductor processing technology, Socionext has the capability of scaling volume demand for its customers.
• The SC1233 sensor comes with embedded FFT and signal processing, reducing design resource requirements and costs for manufacturers lacking experience or expertise in using RADAR sensors.
Compared to other sensing technologies, Socionext’s SC1233AR3 incorporates multiple antennas, both Tx and Rx integrated inside a single package which reduces customers’ development, workload and BOM costs.
This device achieves ultra-low power consumption in an ultra-compact format, of 9mm x 9mm, whilst offering high performance. By incorporating basic signal processing functions into the sensor device, the number of external components is reduced making it easier to use without any signal processing knowledge.
The All-in-0ne package consists of a built-in antenna, radio circuit, A/D converter & ranging calculation circuit. It comes with a built-in motion detection function that detects the distance to an object and flags when movement is detected. The detection result is quickly read after setting up the system from the host MCU via I2C/SPI. It operates at an average power consumption of 0.5mW for detection of persons operating at 0.1% duty cycle in motion detection mode.
Thanks to its embedded voltage regulator the chip is operated with a single power supply of 1.8V that reduces design complexity and BOM cost.
The SC1233AR3 has a dual receiving antenna system which allows 2D detection with a Field of View (FOV) of 120° and a detection range up to 8m in the front direction. For angle detection it outputs pre-processed data via the built-in signal processor, so angle information can be obtained with a simple sample calculation using an external MCU.
The sensor functions independently of temperature and light fluctuations, is impervious to obstructed views, can penetrate various kinds of solid materials such as plastics, fabrics, glass or wood and output a variety of data about the moving object. None of these capabilities are possible using other sensors.
These radio-wave sensors represent the type of smart devices required to advance towards the super smart society of “Society 5.0” that balances economic advancement with the resolution of social problems by a system that highly integrates cyberspace and physical space.
Examples of potential application areas which became enabled by this technology and addressed by Socionext are:
• Lifestyle and efficiency improvements
New automated control and monitoring systems can make our lives easier and more secure. They offer a broad range of benefits including auto-locking of doors and garage, turning off A/C or lights before leaving the premises, and notifications of deliveries, visitors, or intruders.
• Automatic disinfection solutions
UVC systems can be operated automatic and safely in areas where humans left it.
• Economical and effective security solutions
Modern home security devices and services are easy to install and implement. They offer competitive pricing for better quality services, unlike previous generations of systems for which there were only a few suppliers demanding added equipment and service costs.
• Crime prevention
Crime is on the rise. Statistics show that households without security systems are up to two times as likely to suffer intrusions than households with the systems.