Indoor radar used to fight COVID-19 in smart buildings

May 22, 2020 //By Nick Flaherty
Indoor radar and its power systems is of increasing interest for fighting Covid-19 in smart buildings.
Indoor radar and its power systems is of increasing interest for fighting Covid-19 in smart buildings.

Several companies are looking to indoor radar technology for systems to fight Covid-19 through measuring room occupancy for social distancing and even monitoring the heartbeats and temperature of individuals for infection.

“Infineon believes in our radar technology for proximity and occupancy with the highest energy efficiency,” said Manuel Hollfelder, emerging applications manager at Infineon.  “What we see today is that more and more applications coming inside the building for Covid-19. With people counting and presence detection, this becomes more and more important. However these use cases were out there in the market before covid-19 but now we see more interest.”

The latest standard for power-over-ethernet ( PoE) allows 100W to be delivered by the data lines, suitable for indoor radar systems. “The benefits are lower infrastructure costs with no second power grid cables and easier power management using IP communications so every device can be integrated into the network, so we are enabling the power in power over ethernet,” he said.  

Texas Instruments (TI) is also seeing its radar and power technologies being used to fight Covid-19 in smart buildings. Symptomsense in New York has used TI’s millimetre wave radar technology for a scanner that can detect temperature, heart beat and respiration rates. “The solution is designed to check hundreds of people per hour for virus symptoms. The sensor can quickly detect basic vital signs that could indicate illness, including heart rate and breathing rate,” said TI.

"Teams are working day and night," said Ajinder Singh, general manager, Medical sector, Systems Engineering & Marketing at TI. "We are all in this together. It affects all of us. It's personal."

Last year, the imec centre in Belgium developed an 8GHz ultra wideband (UWB) indoor radar transceiver with a power consumption under 1mW aimed at occupancy detection in smart buildings. Thw 40nm chip is capable of detecting even micro-movements from human respiration or heartbeats, up to a distance of

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