Taking Bluetooth wireless technology to the next level

The market for wireless sensors enabled by Bluetooth low energy (BLE) is rapidly growing in the healthcare and lifestyle sectors, but several challenges and issues persist with their operation. An EU initiative is working on an optimised BLE solution to address drawbacks.

BLE provides considerably reduced power consumption and cost and has many potential uses in a broad range of applications. This wireless technology has several rigid requirements for European small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and industries in the high-growth biomedical, health care, sports and fitness sectors. What is more, these sectors demand wireless technology that is extremely portable and power efficient, a vital combination that is not necessarily met by semiconductor manufacturers.

With this in mind, the EU-funded BLIM4SME (Bluetooth low-energy integrated module for SMEs) project is developing wireless modules aimed at health care and lifestyle applications that use BLE. Overall, the aim is to provide relevant SMEs and industries with a highly integrated and ultra-low power BLE solution that exceeds the current state of the art.

During the first reporting period, partners identified requirements of the end-user SMEs and described use cases where the technology can be further developed and improved in order to reach its full potential. The architecture and key technical components were defined.

The team focused on circuit efficiency and cost optimisation. The BLE generic module and its interfaces with the external components were examined. The interfaces were defined and the power management scheme was specified. Project members also worked on the technical requirements and interfaces of the BLE integrated module chip and its integration with the integrated passive device technology platform.

BLIM4SME is expected to bring to market a product with much greater power consumption capabilities than its closest competitors. From sensors that check activity levels to medical and wellness devices that monitor health care, the BLE solution will create opportunities for SMEs to develop devices and services that enhance consumers’ quality of life.

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