Bluetooth 5 chip has battery-less option

November 20, 2018 //By Peter Clarke
Bluetooth 5 chip has battery-less option
Atmosic Technologies Inc. (Saratoga, Calif.) has launched the M2 and M3 Bluetooth 5.0 transceiver chips, claiming them to be the lowest power Bluetooth wireless chips available.

The approach is based on three elements: a low power radio; a low power listening mode and RF energy harvesting and is claimed to provide a boost for Bluetooth-enabled IoT.

The company has not disclosed how these are implemented although there are obvious options such as near- or sub-threshold voltage operation of digital circuitry. Atmosic states that the chip has design features that offer five to 10 times more battery life than other Bluetooth 5.0 chips. Reportedly the chip remains in a sleep mode until it receives a Bluetooth signal that includes wake-up codes and this can improve battery life by up to a factor of 100.

These two modes are present in both the M2 and M3 chips while the M3 has the additional benefit of RF energy harvesting that allows battery-less operation. The M3 chip can use any of these three methods of battery life improvement on its own or in any combination.

The M2/M3 are expected to address applications for wearables, personal and asset trackers, beacons, remotes, keyboards, mice, and more. Packaging options include flash and non-flash, 5x5 QFN and 6x6 DRQFN packages. The chips are available for customer sampling and will be in volume production in 2Q19.

Atmosic is led by former Atheros and Qualcomm engineers. CEO David Su was on the engineering team at Atheros and became vice president of engineering with Qualcomm following the 2011 acquisition of Atheros. Masoud Zargari, vice president of engineering at Atmosic, was senior director of engineering at Atheros and at Qualcomm following the acquisition.

Atmosic has received $21 million in Series A/A1 financing led by Sutter Hill Ventures, Clear Ventures and Walden International.

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