Acconeer

With breakthrough technology Acconeer has developed a microradar that opens up a new world for human interaction. Acconeer’s sensor is suitable for a wide variety of applications and devices within consumer electronics, smart phones and tablets, wearables, secutiry, industry and vital signs monitoring due to it’s high-precision performance, compact size and market leading power consumption. Typically the sensor is used for high-accuracy distance measurements and presence detection or more advanced use cases such as gesture recognition and material identification.

The Acconeer chip sensor operates in the 60GHz ISM band and includes all parts of the radar system - antenna, RF and baseband - in a 5x5 mm package. Due to Acconeer’s patented technology, the sensor has millimeter accuracy in the measurements and market leading power consumption. Because of its compact package and very low bill of material, the sensor is easy to integrate into any type of device putting high requirements on size, power consumption and form factor. To enable fast and easy application development, the sensor is complemented with highly advanced software algorithms for interpretation of the sensor data .

The challenge

Glaze has advised and been responsible for the production engineering and qualification phases including setting up of qualification requirements specification and production test requirement specification. Furthermore, Glaze lead and supervised the production engineering projects with different subvendors for production test, production logistic, component assembly process and ASIC manufacturing. We also assisted with setting up processes for product number system, customer complaint system and R&D non-recurring engineering cost follow up system.

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Lars Lindell, the CEO at Acconeer says: “The cooperation with Glaze has been very successful and we have been very satisfied with their advisory. They have contributed significantly in setting up mass production of our radar sensor."

Positioning technologies currently applied across industries:

Global Navigational Satellite System: Outdoor positioning requires line-of-sight to satellites, e.g. GPS: the tracking device calculates its position from 4 satellites’ timing signals then transmits to receiving network
–    via local data network, e.g. wifi, proprietary Wide Area Network
–    via public/global data network, e.g. 3G/4G

Active RFID: A local wireless positioning infrastructure built on premises indoor or outdoor calculates the position based on Time of Flight from emitted signal & ID from the tracking device to at least 3 receivers or when passing through a portal. The network is operating in frequency areas such as 2.4 GHz WiFi, 868 MHz, 3.7 GHz (UWB – Ultra Wide Band), the former integrating with existing data network, the latter promising an impressive 0.3 m accuracy. Tracking devices are battery powered.

Passive RFID: Proximity tracking devices are passive tags detected and identified by a reader within close range. Example: Price tags with built-in RFID will set off an alarm if leaving the store. Numerous proprietary systems are on the market. NFC (Near Field Communications) signifies a system where the reader performs the identification by almost touching the tag.

Beacons: Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) signals sent from a fixed position to a mobile device, which then roughly calculates its proximity based on the fading of the signal strength. For robotic vacuum cleaners an infrared light beacon can be used to guide the vehicle towards the charging station.

Dead Reckoning: Measure via incremental counting of driving wheels’ rotation and steering wheel’s angle. Small variations in sizes of wheel or slip of the surface may introduce an accumulated error, hence this method is often combined with other systems for obtaining an exact re-positioning reset.

Scan and draw map: Laser beam reflections are measured and used for calculating the perimeter of a room and objects. Used for instance when positioning fork-lifts in storage facilities.

Visual recognition: The most advanced degree of vision is required in fully autonomous vehicles using Laser/Radar (Lidar) for recognition of all kinds of object and obstructions. A much simpler method can be used for calculating a position indoor tracking printed 2D barcodes placed at regular intervals in a matrix across the ceiling. An upwards facing camera identifies each pattern and the skewed projection of the viewed angle.

Inertia: A relative movement detection likewise classical gyroscopes in aircrafts now miniaturised to be contained on a chip. From a known starting position and velocity this method measures acceleration as well as rotation in all 3 dimensions which describes any change in movement.

Magnetic field: a digital compass (on chip) can identify the orientation provided no other magnetic signals are causing distortion.

Mix and Improve: Multiple of the listed technologies supplement each other, well-proven or novel, each contributing to precision and robustness of the system. Set a fixpoint via portals or a visual reference to reset dead reckoning & relative movement; supplement satellite signal with known fixpoint: “real time kinematics” refines GPS accuracy to mere centimetres; combine Dead Reckoning and visual recognition of 2D barcodes in the ceiling.