Jeeva reflects on low-power wireless chip

  • May 12, 2021
  • Steve Rogerson

Seattle-based Jeeva Wireless is using signal reflection rather than transmission to create what it claims is the world’s lowest power wireless chip for streaming real-time sensor data.

The Parsair chip consumes 100 times less power than typical Bluetooth and is said to enable use cases previously out of reach due to cost, size and power constraints. This can help enable densely deployed sensors.

As the demand for connected things continues to grow, low-power radio and battery technologies have failed to keep up with large scale IoT deployments.

“Until now, devices could continuously stream wireless data, rapidly draining their batteries, or could transmit data intermittently to try and stretch battery life,” said Scott Bright, CEO of Jeeva. “Parsair makes it possible to truly stream data without draining the battery, which will be game-changing for a lot of different industries and applications.”

The chip achieves this capability by enabling communication using reflections rather than generating a radio signal of its own. A nearby wireless router transmits radio signals that the chip reflects to communicate data. Since reflecting energy consumes less power than emitting energy, this approach can enable wireless communication with decades-long battery life.

The reflected signal is made to look exactly like a standard radio packet in one of several supported radio protocols, making it possible to integrate with commodity hardware and existing product ecosystems.

The ability to stream data continuously enables a range of devices and applications, unlocking potential for low power streaming audio devices, high bandwidth accelerometer sensors, or other interactive devices that last years on a small coin cell battery.

The chip supports data rates up to 1000kbit/s and connected range up to 100m, all at lower power than a conventional radio and with a silicon footprint of just over 1mm2.

In addition to enabling streaming applications, the chip can be used to build wireless sensor networks to solve multiple critical business problems. Applications include consumable product monitoring and cold-chain tracing for perishable products and vaccines.

The chip is being deployed by consumer and medical product users to enable automated replenishment, inventory management and asset proximity tracking.

“This chip provides low-latency, item-level data from places and things that were never before possible.” said Bright. “It shows the industry that it’s possible to sidestep conventional trade-offs and get fully-featured wireless connectivity at very low power, and extremely low cost.”

Because the chip has broad applicability, it is first being made available to a select group of users with whom Jeeva is working closely.

“We’re supporting qualified customers to accelerate the development, integration and testing of customised edge-to-cloud connectivity,” said Bright. “We have several reference designs to help accelerate specific custom applications. Our platform and wireless chip are ready for pilot-stage deployment now and we’re scaling to high-volume availability later this year.”