Jeeva has been working on backscatter radio technology since its formation in 2015 as spin-off from research at the University of Washington (see Backscatter radio range reaches 2.8km).
The company claims its Parsair chip consumes 100x less power than a typical Bluetooth transceiver and supportd data rates up to 1,000 kbps over distances up 100 meters with a silicon footprint of just over 1 square millimeter. Because it is low power and low cost this will allow users to deploy large numbers of sensors enabling new applications, Jeeva said.
Jeeva's backscatter system works with a third-party radio source, such as a nearby wireless router. The Jeeva chip uses reflections of that router signal to communicate data. Since reflecting another source's RF signal consumes much less power than being an RF emitter, this approach can enable wireless communications with decades of battery life. The Jeeva chip makes the reflected signal look like a standard radio packet in any of several supported radio protocols, making it easy to integrate with commodity hardware and existing product ecosystems.
This provides the potential ability to continuously stream data such as low-power streaming audio devices, high bandwidth accelerometer sensors, or other highly interactive devices that last years on a small coin cell battery.
The chip is already being deployed by consumer and medical product customers to enable automated replenishment, inventory management, and asset proximity tracking.
Until now, devices could continuously stream wireless data, rapidly draining their batteries, or could transmit data intermittently to try and stretch battery life," said Scott Bright, CEO of Jeeva, in a statement. "Parsair makes it possible to truly stream data without draining the battery, which will be game-changing for a lot of different industries and applications. It shows the industry that it's possible to sidestep conventional tradeoffs and get fully-featured wireless connectivity at very low power, and extremely low cost," he added.
The company is supporting a restricted set of customers and has reference designs for specific applications. The company plans to go to high-volume availability later in 2021.
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