Ultra low power Bluetooth core for hearables

Ultra low power Bluetooth core for hearables

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

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Researchers in Switzerland have developed a low power software-defined transceiver on a 22nm process for the latest Bluetooth 5.3 and Matter standards.

The dual mode Bluetooth transceiver supports both the classic and Low Energy (LE) versions of the short range wireless standard and demonstrates that a software-defined architecture does not have to add significant power consumption or area. The core measures under 1mm2 on 22nm with 2.96mW power for a 1Mbit/s data link. This comes from 2.1mW for the analog processing and 0.85mW for the digital baseband power consumption.

This follows the icyTRX Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) radio transceiver, available in 65nm and 55nm technologies at TSMC and GlobalFoundries. This IP has been integrated into commercial products that have sold hundreds of millions of units to date.

The core for the dual mode Bluetooth transceiver has 10dBm transmit power and a sensitivity of -98.2dBm for an overall figure of merit of 185dB. It was presented at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) in the US last week.

The low power means the core is aimed ultra-low power for audio scenarios such as True Wireless Stereo (TWS) earbuds or Auracast broadcasting. The digital baseband employs an innovative software-defined radio (SDR) approach with a high degree of flexibility, resulting in optimized configurations of the circuit for operation in various modes, such as Bluetooth LE (including all data rates and Direction-Finding options), Basic Rate, Enhanced Data Rates (EDR), and IEEE 802.15.4 (Zigbee, Thread, Matter).

This work is at the heart of the next generation icyTRX-DM IP and is available today in 22nm CMOS in GlobalFoundries and TSMC, and being licensed by several IC companies worldwide.


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