Nordic Semiconductor-powered Bluetooth low energy soccer sensors measure player attributes for post-game analysis with interactive coaching videos

Zepp Soccer employs Nordic Semiconductor’s nRF52832 SoC, the world’s most powerful Bluetooth low energy SoC, to support highly-demanding wireless sport-monitoring application

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that California, U.S.-based wearable sports technology company, Zepp Labs, has launched a new wearable soccer sensor that employs Nordic’s nRF52832 System-on-Chip (SoC) to support the challenging Bluetooth® low energy (previously known as Bluetooth Smart) application while meeting low power consumption requirements.

Targeted at soccer players of all abilities, the Zepp Soccer sensors are strapped to the player’s calves during a game, and record running and sprint distance, passing, and preferred foot metrics. From a Bluetooth-iOS or -Android smartphone running the Zepp Soccer app, a coach or ‘host’ can also record game time and capture player video. After the game the sensor data is automatically synched to the smartphone––via the Bluetooth low energy wireless link––from which the Zepp Soccer app will generate a game report, as well as team and individual highlight videos for post-game review and analysis. More detailed reporting―for example shot conversion and goals scored―can also be included in the post-match statistics based on what data the host wishes to input into the app.

Zepp Soccer places high demand on the Bluetooth low energy SoC. For example, the application is required to support more than 30 sensors and provide sufficient bandwidth between sensors and smartphone to cope with more than 100x the data generated by a heart rate monitor. In addition to this challenge, Zepp Labs required low power consumption in both ‘active’ and ‘standby’ modes.

Nordic’s nRF52832 Bluetooth low energy SoC, a member of Nordic Semiconductor’s sixth generation of ultra low power (ULP) wireless connectivity solutions, combines a 64MHz, 32-bit ARM Cortex M4F processor with a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio (fully compatible with Bluetooth Version 4.2, ANT™ and proprietary 2.4GHz RF software) with -96 dB RX sensitivity, with 512 kB Flash memory and 64 kB RAM. The SoC is the world’s highest performance single-chip Bluetooth low energy solution, delivering up to 60 percent more generic processing power, offering 10 times the Floating Point performance and twice the DSP performance compared to competing solutions.

Zepp Labs required high performance from the Bluetooth low energy SoC while still retaining up to 15 hours of game time between recharges from the Zepp Soccer’s 125mAh Li-ion battery. The nRF52832 SoC has been engineered to minimize power consumption with features such as the 2.4GHz radio’s 5.5mA peak RX/TX currents and a fully-automatic power management system that reduces power consumption by up to 80 percent compared with Nordic’s nRF51 Series SoCs. The result is a Bluetooth low energy solution which offers 90 CoreMark/mA, up to twice as power efficient as competing devices.

“We needed a Bluetooth low energy solution with a powerful CPU, with excellent Floating Point and DSP performance, to perform the data manipulation as well as large RAM capacity to buffer all the information being gathered by the multiple sensors,” explains Dong Li, Zepp Labs Hardware Director. “But we also needed to minimize power consumption to ensure coaches and players achieved plenty of game time analysis before the product required recharging. For those reasons the nRF52832 Bluetooth low energy SoC was the logical choice for the Zepp Soccer.”

“Nordic designed the nRF52832 SoC to offer a powerful Bluetooth low energy solution for demanding applications in a space- and cost-saving single-chip package yet with power consumption even lower than the company’s previous ultra low power devices,” says Ståle “Steel” Ytterdal, Nordic’s Director of Sales & Marketing – APAC. “Zepp Labs’ soccer sensors demonstrate exactly the type of application we had in mind for the SoC when it was being developed so it’s pleasing that the company selected the nRF52832 in a highly-competitive market.”

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