Tracker employs Nordic’s nRF52833 SoC enabling wireless proximity detection and contact tracing

Laird Connectivity, an Akron, Ohio-based wireless technology company, has selected Nordic Semiconductor’s nRF52833 Bluetooth Low Energy (Bluetooth LE)/Bluetooth 5.2 advanced multiprotocol System-on-Chip (SoC) to provide the core processing and wireless connectivity for its ‘Sentrius BT710 Bluetooth Tracker’ and ‘Sentrius BT720 Bluetooth Tracker’ devices. 

Designed to prevent virus transmission at the source, the personnel tracking solutions are claimed to help companies keep employees safe during the Covid-19 pandemic by enabling social-distancing and contact-tracing applications based on proximity-detection and location-tracking technology.  

Long-range flexibility 

The BT710 is a long-range, flexible device platform featuring LED, vibration, and audible social distancing alerts to help workers practice safe social distancing and support contact tracing when used in conjunction with gateways to log proximity data. The platform’s integrated TruePoint Diversity Antenna System (TDAS) enables improved location accuracy by providing an omnidirectional antenna pattern to eliminate many of the “false alarms” typically used in single antenna Received Signal Strength Indication (RSSI) systems. For even greater accuracy (better than <1 meter), the BT720 uses its full real-time location services (RTLS) tag functionality supported by Quuppa’s proprietary direction finding technology. In both the BT710 and BT720, a built-in accelerometer is used to trigger a reduction in power consumption when the trackers are not in motion, while a barometer is included to provide better resolution in tracking the location and elevation of people and assets. 

Bluetooth 5.2 support

Nordic’s nRF52833 SoC provides Bluetooth 5.2 support including 2x on-air raw data bandwidth (2Mbps); 4x range; 8x broadcasting ability with advertising extensions that increase the advertising packet payload size to 251 bytes, and an improved Channel Selection Algorithm (CSA #2) compared with Bluetooth 4.2. The nRF52833 SoC’s radio architecture with on-chip PA provides -95dBm RX sensitivity (at 1Mbps in Bluetooth LE mode), a maximum output power of 8dBm, and a total link budget of 103dBm. The radio is capable of Bluetooth Direction Finding functionality and with its large memory can support both receiver and transmitter roles for Angle-of-Attack (AoA) and Angle-of-Departure (AoD) applications.

The nRF52833 SoC combines a 64MHz, 32-bit Arm Cortex M4 processor with floating point unit (FPU), with a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio (supporting Bluetooth 5.2, Bluetooth mesh, Direction Finding, 2Mbps throughput, and Long Range plus Thread, Zigbee, IEEE 802.15.4, and proprietary 2.4GHz RF protocol software). What Nordic says is a ‘generous amount of memory’ (512kB Flash and 128kB RAM) and dynamic multiprotocol support enable concurrent wireless protocol connectivity. Nordic believes that this ensures the nRF52833 is a suitable device for running complex contact tracing applications.

 

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