Bluetooth SoC includes advanced direction-finding capabilities

New Bluetooth¬ģ 5.3-certified BlueNRG-LPS system-on-chip (SoC) from STMicroelectronics includes an Arm¬ģ Cortex¬ģ-M0+ core in addition to powerful security capabilities.

STMicroelectronics has introduced the third generation of its Bluetooth¬ģ system-on-chip (SoC), now including Bluetooth direction-finding technology for location-tracking and real-time positioning applications.

By determining the direction of a Bluetooth Low Energy signal, the new Bluetooth 5.3 direction-finding feature in the BlueNRG-LPS can precisely estimate the location of another Bluetooth device with accuracy of just a few centimeters. To do so, it uses Bluetooth-specified technology including both angle-of-arrival (AoA) and angle-of-departure (AoD), as computed from signals captured by an antenna array. 

BlueNRG-LPS can operate as the basis for an AoA-enabled tag, but can also control an antenna switch, and acts as an RF front end. With these capabilities, the SoC now enables a wide variety of applications that require indoor navigation, geofencing, or asset tracking, as well as real-time location finding for tools, assets, and goods.

The new BlueNRG-LPS has a streamlined architecture, and provides on-chip program and data memory capacity: 192 kbytes of Flash, and 24 kbytes of SRAM. Sized for lightweight end products, the BlueNRG-LPS is ideal for cost-sensitive and high-volume applications. Integrating an efficient step-down converter and protection circuitry, the SoC simplifies board layouts and streamlines the bill-of-materials, while allowing for a cost-saving two-layer PCB design.

The architecture supports the latest Bluetooth Low Energy power control specification, which enables fine-tuning of RF output power in 1 dBm increments, and up to +8 dBm, to permit longer battery run-time. In addition, Bluetooth path-loss monitoring enhances radio-link quality and prevents interference, ensuring robust connections for improved interaction between devices, even in crowded places, and faster response times. 

Bluetooth 5.3 features supported by the BlueNRG-LPS include: 

  • Long range (Coded PHY)
  • 2 Mbits/s data rate
  • Periodic advertising
  • Simultaneous connection
  • Multi-role mode
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