Wearables developers put safety first

Courtesy of Nordic Semiconductor : Wearables developers put safety first

If you thought the future of wearables was all about staying fit, personal healthcare and next generation gaming, it’s time to have a rethink

It’s hard to believe, but 2019 will mark the tenth anniversary of wireless fitness trackers, the devices that spawned not only a new technology category but a new word in our modern lexicon – ‘wearables’.

In the intervening decade, wearables have gone from strength to strength, and despite some analysts arguing the category has seen its best days, the numbers tell a different story. According to market intelligence analyst International Data Corporation (IDC), 122.6 million wearables will ship in 2018, up six percent from last year, moreover by 2022 this number is predicted to rise to over 190 million units at a CAGR of 11.6 percent over the five-year forecast. To misquote fabled U.S. writer Mark Twain, rumours of the death of wearables has been greatly exaggerated.

“The slowdown in the worldwide wearables market is a sign that this is a market in transition instead of a market in slowdown,” says Ramon T. Llamas, research director for IDC’s Wearables team. “Vendors are slowly moving beyond first-generation devices and experiences, bringing together an ecosystem of partners and applications for improved user experiences that reach beyond step counting. The wearables of tomorrow … will make last year’s wearables look quaint.”

In other words, wearables have moved beyond fitness bands that simply count steps to promote improved lifestyle decisions, and instead are now providing smarter solutions that deliver more holistic benefits. To that end one emerging wearables niche in the ascendancy is personal protection – devices designed to watch over the wearer’s immediate safety rather than manage their long-term health and fitness.

Looking after number one
XPRIZE, an incentive-based competition, is one channel driving awareness and growth of smart, wireless personal safety wearables. In 2016, philanthropist entrepreneurs Anu and Naveen Jain used the XPRIZE platform to offer a million-dollar prize challenging developers to create a device that could inconspicuously trigger an emergency alert if a woman was facing a threat to their personal safety. Teams had six months to put together a deployment-ready prototype that could transmit information to a network of community responders, all within 90 seconds, and costing less than $40. Developers responded in droves, with 85 teams from around the world registering to compete.

In June this year India-based Leaf Wearables was announced as the winner. The company’s ‘Safer Pro’ device comes in a smartwatch form factor but is also available as a module that can be embedded into other devices or regular jewellery. The smartwatch provides a panic button that when ‘long-pressed’ transmits the alert using Bluetooth Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) wireless connectivity to the user’s smartphone, that in turn relays the notification to their trusted contacts via the Leaf Wearables app. The device is also GSM- and GPS-enabled, allowing panic alerts to be communicated directly to their trusted contacts in the event the user doesn’t have their smartphone with them. It also records audio of an incident in progress from the time of the alert.

“What makes Leaf’s technology a good device for global use is the fact that it runs off [Bluetooth 4.0] technology and a mesh network, so any message can leap from one device to another with a very low signal,” says competition sponsor, Anu Jain.

Leaf Wearables are but one of many companies exploiting the benefits of Bluetooth LE wireless connectivity for the emerging personal protection wearables sector. Nordic Semiconductor has provided wireless solutions to designers including Kwema and Smartfuture, both of whom have developed fashion jewellery that ingeniously doubles as a personal safety device with an in-built touch sensor that once pressed can trigger an alert to the user’s smartphone via Bluetooth LE, in turn relaying the emergency message — and GPS location — to the individual’s nominated guardians via the cellular network.

While most safety wearables are panic buttons dressed up in a multitude of jewellery-based form factors — necklaces, bracelets, pendants, lockets, keychains and rings — there are other designs emerging for a sector on the rise. A Bluetooth LE- and GPS-enabled smart whistle; a pair of smart spandex shorts with a built-in alarm; a bracelet worn by the hearing-impaired at night to alert them to suspicious noises they might not otherwise hear without their hearing aids in; even a Bluetooth LE-enabled ‘man down’ vest for law enforcement and military applications. A wireless sensor embedded in the vest automatically sends an emergency alert to first responders in the event the wearer suffers an impact.

Personal protection is a wearables niche in its infancy, but the potential is only limited by the developer’s imagination. What is for sure is that wearables are not done yet, and there is more to the category than ensuring we meet our 10,000 steps a day.

ZFR-16000-02 Frequency Synthesizer by EM Research

Courtesy of everything RF : ZFR-16000-02 Frequency Synthesizer by EM Research

The ZFR-16000-02 from EM Research is a programmable frequency synthesizer that can generate an output frequency from 2000 to 16000 MHz. This multi-octave frequency synthesizer has a low phase noise, a step size of 10 MHz and an output power of up to 13 dBm. The frequency can be tailored to a specific value using the control interface provided. It can be used in a wide range of applications from lab benchtops to airborne military electronics. The ZFR-16000-02 is available in a small package that measures 2.5 x 4.5 x 0.6 inches.

Product Details

    • Part Number : ZFR-16000-02
    • Manufacturer : EM Research
    • Description : Programmable Frequency Synthesizer from 2 to 16 GHz

General Parameters

    • Synthesizer Type : Tunable Frequency
    • Frequency : 2 to 16 GHz
    • Step Size : 10 MHz
    • Application : ECM, Aerospace, Radar, Test & Measurement
    • Output Power : 13 dBm
    • Harmonics : -20 dBc
    • Spurious : -65 to -60 dBc
    • Interface : SPI/TTL/Others, USB/Computer Controlled
    • Supply Voltage : 15 V
    • Phase Noise : -127 to -80 dBc/Hz
    • Switching Speed : 250 us
    • External Ref Frequency : 10 MHz
    • Impedance : 50 Ohms
    • Package Type : Module with Connector
    • Connector : SMA – Female
    • Dimension : 2.5 x 4.5 x 0.6 Inches
    • Operating Temperature : 0 to 50 Degrees C
    • Storage Temperature : -55 to 125 Degrees C
    • RoHS : Yes
Surge Protectors

Basics of Surge Protectors and Lightning Arrestors for Telecommunications and RF Applications

Courtesy of Pasternack : Basics of Surge Protectors and Lightning Arrestors for Telecommunications and RF Applications

Who dares thwart the power of Zeus?

Surge protectors and lightning arrestors are devices that protect electrical components from a temporary rise in voltage and current on an electrical circuit.  Surge protectors are designed to protect electronic equipment from power surges and voltage spikes by diverting the excess current from the transient event or surge into a grounding wire. Surge protectors are also referred to as Transient Voltage Surge Suppressors (TVSS), Surge Protection Devices (SPD), or Surge Suppression Equipment (SSE). Lightning arresters, aka lightning diverter or surge arrestors, are protective devices for limiting surge voltages caused by lightning strikes to prevent damage to equipment and disruption of service.

What Causes a Power Surge?

The obvious answer is an angry Hellenic deity and, in truth, much of the damage to electronic systems equipment from a random power surge is due to lightning strikes. However, the most damaging aspect about lightning to a telecommunication system or transmission line is not the power wielded in a spear of lightning, or a direct lightning strike, but is instead caused by power surges via the strong electromagnetic fields created during a lightning strike. Lightning bolts carry from 5 kA to 200 kA and voltages vary from 40 kV to 120 kV. A typical cloud-to-ground lightning bolt moves downward from the bottom of a storm cloud toward the ground at about 200k mph and just as it nears ground, a surge of positively charged electricity moves up to meet the negatively charged bolt and a visible flash of lightning streaks upward conducting electricity as lightning. Lightning strikes, even several miles from a structure, can generate a power surge that travels through aerial or buried cable lines to sensitive electronic equipment. Direct lightning strikes to equipment and cables are too powerful to protect against, however, protection against transient surges can be accommodated by equipment and system design. Other causes of power surges can be attributed to equipment fluctuations or failures, faulty wiring or system design, or environmental hazards.

Performance Specifications for Surge Protectors

There are two types of surge protectors on low voltage AC systems and the difference between them is in the ability to divert energy in the form of a current:

> Class 1 (Lightning Protection)

Diverts energy with a current waveform of 10/350ms with a current ratings from 10Ka to 35Ka. Includes high energy metal oxide varistor (MOV) and gas discharge tube/air gap components.

> Class 2 (Surge Suppression)

Diverts energy with a waveform of 8/20ms with a current ratings from 5Ka to 200 Ka. Includes silicon avalanche diode (SAD) and metal oxide varistor (MOV).

Underwriters Limited issued UL 1449 4th Edition as the safety standard for all AC surge protection devices (SPDs) which covers SPDs designed for repeated limiting of transient voltage surges on 50 or 60 Hz power circuits not in excess of 1000 V. There are several kinds of surge protective devices (SPDs) and the following performance characteristics are the most important to consider in system design.

Maximum continuous operating voltage (MCOV)

MCOV is the maximum steady state voltage the SPD can tolerate before becoming a safety hazard. Current safety requirement specify that, in the case of an overvoltage of 110% of nominal voltage, the device must remain functional and safe and should an abnormal overvoltage of 125% occur, the device is will safely but permanently cease to function.

Voltage protection level (VPL)

VPL is the residual voltage or clamping level of the arrester which is indicative of the reaction time of the arrester such that the faster the reaction time, the lower the VPL. The arrester does not detect the transient surge or the transient damages the equipment commonly generated by inductive loads switches on air conditioners, lift motors, or standby generators.

Surge rating

Measured by a short-duration, high-current impulse with an 8µsec rise time and a 20µsec decay time. The selection of a suitable surge rating for the intended application is key to ensuring longer service life of the product. Ratings include:

> Clamping voltage – indicates at what voltage the MOVs will conduct electricity to the ground line. A lower clamping voltage usually indicates better protection.

> Energy absorption/dissipation – given in joules, this indicator measures how much energy the SPD can absorb before it fails. A higher number indicates greater protection.

> Response time – SPDs have a slight delay when triggered by a power surge. A longer response time indicates equipment will be exposed to a surge for a longer time, and where high voltage is concerned, every nanosecond matters.

Short Circuit Current Rating SCCR)

SCCR indicates the suitability of an SPD for use on an AC power circuit capable of delivering not more than a declared rms symmetrical current at a specified voltage during a short circuit condition. It is the amount of current that the SPD can tolerate safely and safely disconnect from the power source under short circuit conditions.

For RF and Microwave applications, RF surge protectors must also be made to limit degradation of wanted signals, while still preventing surges. This means that a low inline attenuation to signals above surge frequencies is desired.

Taoglas Bracket NFC Antenna with ACH Connector

Taoglas Bracket NFC Antenna with ACH Connector

Courtesy of Taoglas : Bracket NFC Antenna with ACH Connector

The Radius, NFR.02, is an external bracket mount NFC (Near Field Communication) antenna for use with NFC readers. This enables your device to execute point-to-point data transmission without contact. This design is matched for optimal performance with typical NFC chipsets. The IP67 waterproof enclosure ensures that it can be used for both indoor and outdoor environments. With its own mounting bracket, the NFR.01 can be easily installed on a wall or metal panel. To strengthen robustness in outdoor applications, the NFR.02 antenna and mounting bracket are protected by a heat-resistant, high-impact resistant UV stabilized ASA enclosure. A 1m 28AWG Twisted Pair cable with ACH(F) connector is connected to the housing. Custom cable lengths or a version with an embedded RJ45 Jack for ethernet cables is also available.

Radius NFR.02 External Bracket NFC Antenna with ACH Connector

  • For use with NFC readers
  • Frequency: 13.56MHz
  • IP67 Waterproof
  • Cable: 1M AWG28
  • Connector: ACH(F)
  • Dimensions: 75*75*27.9mm
  • RoHS Compliant

Download Datasheet

QH-0R518-3-dB Quadrature (90-degree) Hybrid Coupler

Marki Microwave QH-0R518 3 dB Quadrature (90 degree) Hybrid Coupler

Courtesy of Marki MicrowaveQH-0R518 3 dB Quadrature (90 degree) Hybrid Coupler

Quad Hybrid Features Industry-Best 36:1 BW Ratio

The new QH-0R518 quadrature hybrid coupler achieves an astounding 36:1 bandwidth ratio, from 0.5 GHz to 18 GHz. Featuring excellent amplitude and phase balance, high 20dB isolation, and 20W power handling this 90 degree quad coupler enables a variety of applications such as single sideband conversion, image rejection, IQ modulation, balanced amplifiers and more. Check out our full selection of quadrature hybrids that extend to 67 GHz.

Product Page Datasheet Frequency Band




Amplitude Balance


Phase Balance [degrees] Isolation


QH-0R518  pdf 0.5 to 18 3 ± 0.5 ± 3 20

Bluetooth 5Bluetooth Low Energy smart rope load sensors

Bluetooth 5/Bluetooth Low Energy smart rope load sensors assist crew when mooring vessels and provide alerts in the event of safety concerns

Courtesy of Nordic Semiconductor : Bluetooth 5/Bluetooth Low Energy smart rope load sensors

Wilhelmsen Ships Service’s smart ropes employ Nordic’s nRF52840 multiprotocol SoC to wirelessly transmit long-range load data to ship

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that Wilhelmsen Ships Service, a Lysaker, Norway-based shipping company, has specified Nordic’s nRF52840 Bluetooth® 5/Bluetooth Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) advanced multiprotocol System-on-Chip (SoC) for its ‘Timm Mooring Assistance’ smart ropes, designed to assist ship crews when mooring vessels in port.

The Timm Mooring Assistance set-up comprises up to 22 ropes—depending on the size of the vessel being moored—each fitted with a single load sensor to provide feedback on safety and efficiency parameters. For example, the load and temperature data can alert crew members to the load distribution between individual ropes, safety alerts for potential rope snaps, as well as predicting the lifetime of individual ropes. Access to this data allows the crew to take immediate corrective action in case of a problem.

In operation, sensor data from the ropes is wirelessly relayed to a ‘collector box’ on the vessel using Bluetooth 5 technology’s long-range feature enabled by the nRF52840 SoC. The collector box comprises a Bluetooth LE-equipped Ethernet router which relays data to the vessel’s bridge via a wired local area network (LAN) for immediate analysis by crew members via a dashboard on a connected tablet or PC.

The high link budget and long-range feature, which help overcome the challenging RF environment, are the most important capability of the Nordic SoC for our application

Tore Strand, Wilhelmsen Ships Service

The Bluetooth 5 nRF52840 SoC’s new radio architecture with on-chip power amplifier (PA) provides -96-dBm RX sensitivity, a maximum output power of 8-dBm, and a total link budget of >110-dBm. Combined with Bluetooth 5 technology’s long-range feature, this enables the smart ropes to transmit RF signals—in a challenging environment dominated by RF absorbing substances such as steel and water—to a collector box sited up to 100 metres away from the smart rope sensor.

Nordic’s nRF52840 multiprotocol SoC is Nordic’s most advanced ultra low power wireless solution. The SoC supports complex Bluetooth LE and other low-power wireless applications that were previously not possible with a single-chip solution. The nRF52840 is Bluetooth 5-, Thread 1.1-, and Zigbee PRO (R21) and Green Power proxy specification-certified and its Dynamic Multiprotocol feature uniquely supports concurrent wireless connectivity of the protocols. The SoC combines a 64MHz, 32-bit Arm® Cortex® M4F processor with a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio (supporting Bluetooth 5, ANT™, Thread, Zigbee, IEEE 802.15.4, and proprietary 2.4GHz RF protocol software) with 1MB Flash memory and 256kB RAM. The chip supports all the features of Bluetooth 5 (including 4x the range or 2x the raw data bandwidth (2Mbps)) compared with Bluetooth 4.2.

The SoC is supplied with Nordic’s S140 SoftDevice, a Bluetooth 5-certified software protocol stack for building long range and high data Bluetooth LE applications. The S140 SoftDevice offers concurrent Central, Peripheral, Broadcaster, and Observer Bluetooth LE roles, and supports high throughput and long range modes as well as advertising extensions. OpenThread and Zigbee stacks are available through Nordic’s nRF5 SDK for Thread and Zigbee.

“It is essential for us to use a low power consumption solution with a global standard as our customers are operating vessels around the world, but the high link budget and long-range feature, which help overcome the challenging RF environment, are the most important capability of the Nordic SoC for our application,” says Tore Strand, Subject Matter Expert at Wilhelmsen Ships Service. “We also appreciate Nordic’s great support and short response time to technical queries.”

u-blox partners with Arvento

u-blox partners with Arvento to develop multi-purpose people and asset tracker

Courtesy of u-blox : partners with Arvento to develop multi-purpose people and asset tracker

Treyki Mini relies on u‑blox positioning and wireless communication technologies.

Thalwil, Switzerland – December 4, 2018 – u‑blox (SIX:UBXN), a global provider of leading positioning and wireless communication technologies, has announced a successful partnership with Arvento Mobile Systems, a Turkey‑based top leading fleet telematics company, to develop a compact people and asset tracking device with a long battery life. The Arvento Treyki Mini has eight operating modes, including special settings for tracking kids (with Geofencing), senior citizens (with an integrated fall sensor), and for use in sports, racing, and asset management. It can also be used as an emergency beacon.

The tracker has an onboard positioning receiver, and reports its location using an internal GSM/GRPS modem. It can operate for up to 7 days from its 900mAh LiPo rechargeable battery before it needs to be recharged.

The Treyki Mini relies on the u‑blox ZOE‑M8Q concurrent multi‑GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) module to discover its location. This System in Package (SiP) offering is just 4.5 x 4.5 x 1.0mm, and provides high accuracy thanks to its ability to receive 72 channels simultaneously, from up to three different GNSS constellations. It also offers reliable positioning in challenging environments because it has a sensitivity of –167 dBm and is energy- efficient. Communications for the Treyki Mini are provided by the u‑blox SARA‑G340 dual‑band GSM/GPRS module, whose very low standby power of less than 0.90mA helps extend its battery life. This module also supports firmware‑over‑the‑air (FOTA) updates, enabling Arvento to continue to refine the Treyki Mini after production.

“The Treyki Mini is the result of a very close collaboration between Arvento and u‑blox to optimize its size and power consumption. We expect that the strong sense of partnership that evolved between our two companies during the development of the Treyki Mini will lead to further collaboration in the future, especially when it comes to telematics system solutions,” says Özer Hıncal, General Manager, Arvento.

About u‑blox

u‑blox (SIX:UBXN) is a global provider of leading positioning and wireless communication technologies for the automotive, industrial, and consumer markets. Their solutions let people, vehicles, and machines determine their precise position and communicate wirelessly over cellular and short range networks. With a broad portfolio of chips, modules, and a growing ecosystem of product supporting data services, u‑blox is uniquely positioned to empower its customers to develop innovative solutions for the Internet of Things, quickly and cost‑effectively. With headquarters in Thalwil, Switzerland, the company is globally present with offices in Europe, Asia, and the USA. (www.u‑blox.com)

Find us on FacebookGoogle+LinkedIn, Twitter @ublox and YouTube

u‑blox media contact:
Natacha Seitz
PR Manager
Mobile +41 76 436 0788

About Arvento

Arvento Mobile Systems specializes in designing, developing and manufacturing fleet telematics systems and IoT solutions. Arvento is one of the leading fleet telematics companies offering wide range of technology products and solutions, worldwide. Today, Arvento has more than 76.000 clients and its technology and products are being used in more than 832.000 vehicles in three continents. (www.arvento.com)

Arvento contact:
Burcu Yilmaz
Corporate and Marketing Communications Manager
Ankara, Turkey
Phone +90 312 2650595

Qorvo QPD1025L

Qorvo QPD1025L

Courtesy of Qorvo QPD1025L

Qorvo’s QPD1025L was named a Gold Award winner in ’s 2018 Intelligent Aerospace Technology Innovation Awards! Learn more about the award-winning product here:

1800 Watt, 65 Volt, .96 – 1.215 GHz, GaN RF Input-Matched Transistor

Key Features

  • Frequency Range: .96- 1.215 GHz
  • Output Power (P3dB1): 1862 Watt
  • Linear Gain1: 22.5 dB
  • Typical PAE3dB1 77.2 %
  • Operating voltage: 65 V
  • CW and Pulse capable

Note1: @ 1.0GHz Load Pull

The Qorvo QPD1025L is a 1800 W (P3dB) discrete GaN on SiC HEMT which operates from .96to 1.215 GHz. Input prematch within the package results in ease of external board match and saves board space. The device is in an industry standard air cavity package and is ideally suited for IFF, avionics and test instrumentation. The device can support both CW and pulsed operations.

Lead-free and ROHS compliant.


Frequency Min(MHz) 960
Frequency Max(MHz) 1,215
Gain(dB) 22.5
Psat(dBm) 62.7
PAE(%) 77.2
VD(V) 65
Idq(mA) 1,500
Package Type NI-1230 (Eared)

Product Data Sheet Rev E – 11/2018

Marki Microwave CBR17-0026 High Directivity Bridge Coupler

Marki Microwave CBR17-0026 High Directivity Bridge Coupler

Courtesy of Marki Mircowave : CBR17-0026 High Directivity Bridge Coupler

The CBR17-0026 offers the broadest bandwidth of any standalone bridge coupler on the market. It provides an extremely high degree of measurement accuracy for forward power measurements, and can also be used to measure VSWR/return loss (see Directivity and VSWR Measurement App Note). The flat coupling ratio, high directivity, and broadband performance from 200 kHz to 26 GHz make the CBR17-0026 an excellent ‘black box’ coupler for everyday lab use.



Electrical Specifications – Specifications guaranteed from -40 to +85°C, measured in a 50Ω system.


Frequency Range




Direct Line Insertion Loss (dB)

200 kHz-26 GHz


Coupling (dB)





Directivity (dB)



Power (W)


Weight (g)


1Specifications guaranteed when operated in a 50Ω system.

2Storage temperature is -35 to +90°C

Molded Power Inductor

Choose Wisely: Which Molded Power Inductor (XEL, XAL, or XFL) is Right for You?

Courtesy of Coilcraft : Molded Power Inductor

Coilcraft offers three popular styles of high-performance molded power inductors, designated XEL, XAL and XFL Series. They are mechanically rugged and magnetically shielded for use in high density circuits. Each style offers unique performance benefits.

XEL/XAL – High current & high frequency

  • Wide range of sizes and inductance values (up to size 1580 and 33 µH)
  • Low inductance values for high-frequency applications (as low as 0.072 µH)
  • Low AC losses at high frequency range (2 to 10 MHz)
  • Highest current handling
  • Soft saturation characteristic to withstand high current spikes
  • Very low DCR
  • No thermal aging issue and perfect for high temperature applications

XFL – Lowest losses

  • Lowest DCR
  • Lowest profile
  • Suitable for IoT / Wearables
  • Offers low inductance values for high frequency applications
  • No thermal aging issue

The following table demonstrates the differences in these series.

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View the XEL / XAL / XFL family comparison chart

L nom DCR typ Isat (30%)
XEL4020-222 2.2 µH 35.2 mOhms 5.9 A
XAL4020-222 2.2 µH 35.2 mOhms 5.6 A
XFL4020-222 2.2 µH 21.4 mOhms 3.7 A

The following curves, derived from the Coilcraft Core and Winding Loss Calculator, show that the new XEL has lower AC loss compared to the XAL. XFL has the lowest total power loss.

For high switch frequency power converters that are designed to withstand high peak current, XEL is the best choice.