Nordic-powered Bluetooth low energy health and wellness wearable monitors activity, sleep, stress, and mood while providing wellness coaching and feedback
Nordic Semiconductor today announces that London, United Kingdom-based technology design company, Vinaya, has launched a new health and wellness wearable, ‘ZENTA’, that employs Nordic’s nRF52832 System-on-Chip (SoC) to support the intensive computational requirements of the Bluetooth® low energy (previously known as Bluetooth Smart) application, while meeting low power consumption requirements.
ZENTA is a wrist-worn device that tracks the user’s physical activity, sleep quality, breathing patterns, stress levels, emotional states, and mood, not only providing the user’s data via the app dashboard but also offering actionable insights, suggestions, and a methodology for self-improvement against an individual’s personally set goals.
ZENTA employs a range of sensors to capture a wealth of data about the user and their surrounds. The device is equipped with an accelerometer, a microphone, biometric sensors, and a haptic engine that gather environmental noise, movement, as well as biological signals from the user including heart rate, heart rate variability, breathing patterns, electrodermal activity (EDA), skin temperature, pulse transit time, pulse wave velocity, and blood oxygen saturation.
The sensor data is automatically synched to a smartphone—via the Nordic SoC-powered Bluetooth low energy wireless connectivity—after which each one of these data points is cross-referenced with other data points from the user’s smartphone, for example location, calendar events, or digital activity to log ‘bio-events’ that provide insight into significant deviations in the user’s baseline or habitual behavior. Vinaya explains that through learning algorithms ZENTA then builds a profile to help the user understand good and bad trends, providing actionable insights from the ZENTA iOS or Android smartphone app to help them live a more balanced life.
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 4.2, ANT™, and proprietary 2.4GHz RF protocol software) featuring -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.
Vinaya required high performance from the Nordic SoC to act as ZENTA’s main controller for filtering and conditioning. The SoC also provides the first level of data manipulation, yet still supports up to five days of continuous biometric sensing and Bluetooth low energy connectivity between recharges of ZENTA’s Li-ion battery. The nRF52832 SoC has been engineered to minimize power consumption with features such as the 2.4GHz radio’s modest 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 followed the release of the new nRF52 Series SoCs very closely and planned to use it for ZENTA from the beginning,” says Fabio Pania, Vinaya Founder and Chief Technology Officer. “The embedded Cortex M4F, the good size memory, together with the very competitive power consumption, and radio performances make the new nRF52832 a great fit for ZENTA. It allows us to achieve good battery life, small form factor, great RF performance, and the computational power we needed.”
“The biggest benefit to users is to provide not only data and dashboards but also actionable insights,” states Pania. “Users will be able to view a timeline and see trends of how their body and mind has been interacting with different events on the calendar. ZENTA will create a visualization of a user’s emotions that they can share and use to understand how they feel over time.”
“The nRF52 Series was developed from the successful nRF51 Series specifically to provide OEMs such as Vinaya with a powerful, single-chip Bluetooth low energy solution that can cope with highly demanding wireless applications yet retain the ultra low power consumption for which Nordic chips are renowned,” says Geir Langeland, Nordic’s Director of Sales & Marketing.
“ZENTA is a perfect example of this in action. The nRF52832 SoC’s powerful processor and large memory capacity has enabled Vinaya to come up with an innovative and feature rich wearable while the small size and low power consumption allows the chip and battery to be accommodated in a compact, lightweight form factor.”
Following a successful Indiegogo campaign, ZENTA will be commercially available in volume from Spring, 2017.