Igniting intelligence: leveraging smarter sensors and richer data in product development

Posted by Vayyar on 20 April, 2021

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Smart home and office technology is finally coming of age. Everyone from enterprise leaders to independent entrepreneurs is looking for the most effective ways to drive automation, boost efficiency and enhance comfort.

It all comes down to the data. If organizations can collect the right data in the right way, the road to a more streamlined world will be significantly smoother. Essentially, it’s all about how humans and technology interact: how otherwise inanimate devices come to life with data that enables them to optimize their functionality to the people around them.

Data collection depends on sensors - the "eyes and ears" of any smart device. But processing the information to guide physical actions requires a "brain" - in this case AI. Designing products that meet changing human needs requires the creation of Machine Learning algorithms that intelligently leverage data according to business logic. That means selecting not only the most effective sensor technology but also the most powerful data processing platform.

Making sense of the sensor landscape

The sensor market is crowded with competing technologies and choosing the right one to integrate into a product can be a daunting challenge. Product designers therefore need to carefully consider the pros and cons of each category.

Optics

Cameras and other optics-based solutions effectively detect objects, gauge distance, provide accurate imaging and track multiple targets. RGB cameras, for example, are relatively affordable and provide high-resolution data that can be used to train Computer Vision-based classification and recognition algorithms. But they are limited in terms of field of view and struggle in adverse weather conditions, varied lighting, and areas of shadow. They’re also intrusive of privacy, a crucial concern for both companies and consumers.

Infrared

Passive infrared (PIR) sensors detect motion by remembering the infrared image of the surrounding area and detecting small changes. Most commonly deployed indoors, they are cheap, compact, and highly energy-efficient, providing accurate detection within a limited area. Performance varies widely depending on distance and PIR sensors can struggle to detect very slow motions of the human body.

Thermal infrared sensors detect heat and are independent of wavelength. Low end solutions are held back by slow detection and response times, while high-performance sensors are often costly. Heat sources and air flows can also cause significant interference and when the ambient temperature is close to body temperature, sensitivity is severely impacted.

Active infrared (IR) sensors, on the other hand, are usually installed outdoors and transmit infrared waves to determine whether the received signals indicate a person or an object. Like PIR sensors they are inexpensive and require little power. They operate effectively in all lighting conditions, but their range is limited and they’re hindered by adverse environmental conditions such as rain, fog, and dust. What’s more, existing solutions are hindered by a low data transmission rate.

Standard radar

Range-doppler radar detects presence, direction, distance, and speed and represents a robust, scalable solution that protects privacy. However, its small antenna array provides a low-resolution data output, meaning it cannot generate rich images. Its narrow field of view is mostly focused around one axis, and due to limited angular resolution, it cannot differentiate between close targets.

The economics of edge processing

Edge processing is also a key consideration for designers since it dramatically reduces cloud-related costs of both processing and storage. As more devices are sold and deployed, that translates to significant long-term savings. Performing edge processing using an embedded processor also eliminates the need for integrating a high-power, high-cost processor into the product design.

4D imaging radar

One technology, 4D imaging radar, offers all the benefits of alternative technologies, while overcoming their limitations. Unlike 2D radar, 4D imaging radar leverages a Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) 46 antenna array for high-resolution real-time tracking.

With dozens of antennas scanning the environment, this technology enables precise and simultaneous detection and tracking of multiple targets. It identifies presence with exceptional accuracy and provides rich data that enables the creation of advanced classification algorithms that enable devices to react and adapt to the people around them.

At volume pricing, a 4D imaging Radar-on-Chip is not only affordable, but also offers significant added value: richer data, higher accuracy, and greater functionality. It provides the optimal price-performance balance, lowering development costs and shortening TTM. With no optics involved, the technology is robust in all lighting and weather conditions, delivering unwavering performance, while ensuring user privacy at all times.

For a growing number of product designers, it’s the ideal choice across a wide range of industries including home automation, senior care, healthcare, security and beyond.

Vayyar Element: igniting intelligence

Vayyar Element is a high-resolution 4D imaging radar module that enables the creation of smarter, more sensitive devices.

The size of a matchbox, it’s powered by a highly integrated mmWave Radar-on-Chip with all digital and analog components inside. Vayyar Element’s RFIC includes an embedded DSP for edge processing, making the module the most high-performance, versatile, and secure technology of its kind.

While alternative solutions rely on fewer than ten antennas, Element’s extensive MIMO antenna array contains 46 antennas continuously sensing its surroundings in the 60-64 GHz bands.

It’s designed for seamless integration into devices used in a wide range of settings – from homes and offices to retail stores. Engineers, developers, data scientists, and product designers can use it to develop unique custom applications that provide devices with new levels of awareness, enhancing safety, security, energy efficiency, workforce utilization, space management, comfort, and automation. The different Element versions are tailored to take partners from the testing stage through to mass production with minimal effort.

Vayyar Element includes both hardware and software layers, enabling rapid product development. It comes with proprietary 4D imaging radar algorithms and APIs providing point cloud data as well as processed output layers.

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Imag(in)ing the future

As innovators race to build the devices that will streamline modern life, provide protection, enhance energy efficiency, and optimize the world of work, they can now leverage production-ready radar modules for quick, low-effort integration and scalable production.

Vayyar Element commercializes miniature, affordable and versatile 4D imaging radar technology, enabling a safer, more intelligent world.

Click here to visit the website.

Topics: Sensor Technology