Radar sensor can detect human vital signs

March 07, 2017 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
With its XeThru system Norwegian sensor tech company Novelda is offering a developer platform that enables customers to implement sophisticated sensors capable of detecting small movements, determine presence and room occupancy, and monitor respiration and other human vital signs with unprecedented accuracy and discrimination.

Supporting various host environments, such as MATLAB, Python, C++ and C, the XeThru platform enabled developers need to rapidly start prototyping their radar application designs. The hardware bundles an X4 SoC with an MCU board and a PCB antenna, while communications software provides an API layer that enables access to the full functionality of the SoC, and open source reference code allows the use of digital signal processing libraries to extend system performance.

Integrated into a single chip, the X4 UWB impulse radar SoC combines a transmitter, which can operate at center frequencies of either 7.29 GHz or 8.748 GHz for unlicensed operation in worldwide markets, with a direct RF sampling receiver and a programmable system controller. The X4 SoC delivers some key performance improvements over the previous design: its frame size is now configurable for different applications and the range, for simultaneous observation, has been increased from 1m to 10m, making it 10x faster and much more suitable for presence detection; its on-chip advanced power management functions enable low-power duty cycle control and dramatically reducing power dissipation; and its higher level of integration reduces external component BOM costs by more than 50%.