Murata module brings efficiency to battery-powered IoT devices

  • September 8, 2021
  • Steve Rogerson

Murata has launched an ultra-wideband (UWB) module measuring 10.5 by 8.3 by 1.44mm to help ensure compact and battery-driven IoT devices operate efficiently and cost-effectively.

Using short-range RF technology, the type 2AB UWB plus Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) connectivity module is for applications where precise detection is essential. These include ensuring social distancing in the workplace to reduce the spread of Covid-19.

Suitable for manufacturing engineers developing products for the IoT market, the system-in-package module incorporates three antennas – two UWB for phased difference of arrival (PDoA) functionality and one for BLE.

The module’s position detection capabilities and security functions make it particularly suited to such sectors as healthcare, wearables, industrial, commercial, home and consumer. It can be used for asset tracking, indoor navigation, smart lighting, digital payments and such location applications as proximity device finding. It is equally well suited to use in smart factories, PoI, indoor marketing, hospitals, museums, warehouses and underground construction projects.

The Japanese company says the module can offer significant benefits over systems based around wifi, Bluetooth or GPS technology, the latter proving unsuitable for indoor use due to its reliance on satellite signals.

Compared with chip-on-board designs, the UWB module incorporating Qorvo ICs enables mounting areas to be reduced by around 75%.

“At Qorvo, we support high performance with our ultra-wideband expertise,” said Paul Costigan, senior director at Qorvo. “We bring breakthrough technology and manufacturing scale to integrated modules, such as this one from Murata, a world leading manufacturer of electronic components, thereby accelerating adoption of UWB and unleashing a new wave of innovation. Companies will be able to easily add enhanced location and distance sensing to drive business optimisation, enhance workflow efficiency and improve safety in applications like smartphones, cars, and consumer and industrial IoT.”

Other benefits of the resin moulded surface mounted module with built-in Nordic MCU include improved design flexibility and reduced product development time, for example by eliminating the need to prepare external MCUs.

“We are very excited to partner with Murata on this ground-breaking UWB module, a product that perfectly marries Murata’s excellence in highly integrated SiP module packaging with Qorvo and Nordic Semiconductor’s long-standing cooperation on UWB and Bluetooth Low Energy,” said Bjørn Åge Brandal, vice president at Nordic Semiconductor. “The compact module perfectly leverages the high level of integration and computing power of Nordic’s nRF52840 system-on-chip, allowing customers to implement a wirelessly connected UWB ranging product with only a handful of external components, ensuring the smallest possible footprint and lowest power consumption.”

Additional features include 256kbyte RAM and 1Mbit flash memory, three-axis sensor for motion detection, deep sleep mode of 250nA, and the ability to operate in temperatures from -40 to +85˚C and at voltages from 2.5 to 3.6V.

“The UWB market is expected to grow by around 30% over the coming years, driven by the burgeoning smartphone, IoT and smart cities sectors,” said Toshifumi Oida, senior director at Murata. “Our ultra-compact, highly reliable type 2AB module with superior EMI performance is compelling for product developers wanting to serve this market using ground-breaking high-density mounting technology based on RF design.”

Murata is a manufacturer of electronic components, modules, and devices. The range includes ceramic capacitors, resistors, thermistors, inductors, chokes, timing devices, buzzers, sensors and EMI suppression filters. While the company is known as a ceramic capacitor manufacturer, it also specialises in Bluetooth and wifi modules, board-mount DC-DC converters, and standard and custom AC-DC power supplies.

Established in 1944, Murata is headquartered in Japan and has offices in Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the UK.