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Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Toumaz launches ultra-low power self-powered radio chip

1V ‘TELRAN’ TZ1053 aimed at wireless sensor networks, environmental monitoring and smart metering in the sub-1GHz ISM band

By Nick Flaherty

Toumaz Technology has launched an ultra-low power radio chip aimed at wireless sensors in environmental and medical systems that can use solar or energy harvesting systems and so be self-powered. The chip can be used both for the sensor and in the hub that collects the data.
Toumaz has rejected using existing standards such as Zigbee and Low Energy Bluetooth and developed its own protocol to provide continuous power of under 3mW in the Industrial, Scientific and Medical bands under 1GHz .
"Bluetooth at 2.4GHz suffers from interference from Wifi and microwaves while we do not need the mesh capabilities of Zigbee and the ISM band gives us more range" said Paul Paddan, Head of Toumaz’s Low Power Radio Business Unit.  
Padden had already developed ultra low power systems for Toumaz' Sensium wireless 'plasters' that are undergoing clinical trials, and is extending the design ideas to other  industrial and medical areas.
The system-on-chip is built on Toumaz’s proprietary AMx Mixed Signal technology and includes an 8051 processor to make it easy to use and runs at 1V using a single button cell battery and consumes less than 3mW continuous use power consumption. "This is the worst case performance and with a duty cycle it is considerably better," said Padden.
“With this important addition to our ‘Connected Consumer’ portfolio, we are harnessing our strengths in ultra-low energy wireless healthcare to create solutions for high-volume consumer markets," said Professor Chris Toumazou, founder of Toumaz and now CEO after the departure of co-founder Keith errery. "TELRAN is uniquely placed to support the development of a range of new ultra-low energy wireless applications, and we are very excited by the product opportunities that we will be enabling for our customers with today’s launch.”
The TELRAN contains an enhanced 8051 running Toumaz’s Nanopower Sensor Protocol (NSP) allowing developers to program and control the TELRAN device easily with high level commands either over a standard interface eg UART or “over the air”. Target applications include the development of two-way communication remote controls for consumer electronic devices; wireless sensor networks based on TELRAN sensor nodes and basestations; environment monitoring and room temperature control; remote controls and toys/games; and smart metering, using TELRAN wireless sensor networks to connect multiple meters for the two-way transmission of status data and firmware upgrades.

Highlight features of the TELRAN IC include:
  • Fully integrated SoC comprising transceiver, baseband, embedded microprocessor and control logic
  • Ease of development – no compilers or specialist programming investment required
  • Simple over-the-air programming and reconfiguration
  • Quick and efficient customisation using application profiles
  • Support for networking and communication modes including P2P (Point to Point), star network (up to 8 sensor nodes) and basestation-to-basestation communication
  • Data rate of 50 kbps with a range greater than 100m line of sight using a high gain antenna, or 20m from a PCB or chip antenna in a body-worn environment.
  • Ability to directly connect SPI/I2C sensors

TELRAN TZ1053 devices will be available worldwide as engineering samples from the end of February 2011, with production devices in full availability from June 2011. A TELRAN developer kit will also be available at the end of February. The TELRAN Development Kit (TDK) includes a USB TELRAN basestation, TELRAN RF module and an accelerometer sensor board with demo and PC application. The TELRAN RF module (TZ1053RFM) is also available to customers for fast prototyping and production.

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