TI Enables Sonic Instruments' Watch-Sized Radar Speed System

4/27/2005 - Sonic Instruments, the worldís leader in radar-enabled, wearable sports instruments, has announced a watch-sized Radar Speed System (RSS) with ultra low-power microcontroller (MCU), digital signal processing (DSP) and analog technologies from Texas Instruments (TI). The new lightweight RSS watch and speedometer use radar to provide precise speed and distance information to skiers, joggers, cyclists and other sports enthusiasts. TIís leading MCU, DSP and analog technologies make it possible for Sonic to achieve the small form factor of the RSS speedometer, watch and optional heart rate monitor. Sonicís groundbreaking radar technology is unique in sports measurement products and supplies speed and distance information three times more accurate than that of competing body movement-based measurement products.

At the heart of the RSS watch are the industryís lowest-power MCUs from TIís MSP430 platform of ultra-low power 16-bit microcontroller units (MCUs). Based on wireless inputs from a speedometer worn on a userís belt, the MSP430F412 MCU with on-chip flash memory supplies the time, calculates distance, speed and average speed and then displays this information through an on-chip LCD driver. With a real time clock standby current of 0.9 micro amps (uA), the RSS watch can run for two years before requiring new batteries. The MSP430F412 MCU also calculates a userís heart rate using an integrated slope analog-to-digital converter (ADC) from heart rate information transmitted from an optional pulse measurement unit worn separately. The pulse measurement unit uses an MSP430F1121 MCU, also with integrated flash memory, and collects the wearerís vital statistics using the integrated comparator as a slope ADC and transmits this information to the watch via a wireless transmitter-receiver. For more information on TIís ultra-low power MCUs, please see www.ti.com/msp430.

Within the belt-worn speedometer is TIís low-power TMS320C5402 DSP for processing the radar calculations that continually measure the wearerís progress relative to stationary objects such as trees and rocks. With its high level of real-time performance, the C5402 DSP instantaneously calculates the shifts in frequency between the transmission and reception of low-power radio pulses (the Doppler effect), then passes this data on to the MSP430F412 MCU for speed and distance calculations. The C5402 deviceís programmability and low power requirements made it possible for Sonic to create its innovative software on a DSP platform designed for power-efficient mobile systems. For more information on TIís low power DSPs, see www.ti.com/c5000.

Other key functions are handled by low-power analog components from TI including an ADS7822 analog-to-digital converter, a TLV2472 signal input device and a TPS77030 voltage regulator. A TI TPS60302 charge pump raises the voltage of a single commercially available battery to the 3.3 volts required for system operation. For more information on TIís analog solutions, see www.ti.com/analog.

ďWe chose TIís MSP430 MCU platform not only because of its industry leading ultra-low power consumption and automatic, real time clock standby mode but also because of the integrated LCD drive, ADC and flash memory as well as the support for various memory configurations,Ē said Stefan Moedl, Managing Director of Sonic Instruments and inventor of Sonicís sports radar technology. ďTIís strong local support was another factor, especially since along with TIís analog components, we used the low power C5402 DSP as a platform for developing our unique, real-time radar functionality.Ē

The Sonic RSS watch uses a 24 gigahertz (GHz) microwave transmitter and sensor for the radar to bypass the interference levels common to lower-frequency transmissions. Tests conducted by Sonic indicate that the RSS provides information to within one percent of accuracy, depending on environmental conditions. A strap permits the user to wear the RSS watch on the wrist, or the device can be clipped onto clothing. The optional pulse monitor is worn on a belt and communicates wirelessly with the main RSS unit.

The Radar Speed System is available now from Sonic Instruments at www.sonicinstruments.com. Pricing is 149 euros for the speedometer and watch and 30 euros for the optional pulse rate unit.

TI Enables Innovation with Broad Range of Controllers
From ultra low power MCUs from its MSP430 platform and 32-bit general purpose ARM7-based MCUs from the TMS470 platform to high performance TMS320C2000TM DSP platform digital signal controllers, TI offers designers the broadest range of embedded control solutions. Designers can also accelerate their design to market by tapping into TIís complete software and hardware tools, extensive third party offerings and technical support. For more information on the broad range of TIís controllers, see www.ti.com/mcu.

About Texas Instruments
Texas Instruments Incorporated provides innovative DSP and analog technologies to meet our customers' real world signal processing requirements. In addition to Semiconductor, the company's businesses include Sensors & Controls, and Educational & Productivity Solutions. TI is headquartered in Dallas, Texas, and has manufacturing, design or sales operations in more than 25 countries.

Texas Instruments is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol TXN. More information is located on the World Wide Web at www.ti.com.

TMS320C2000TM is a trademark of Texas Instruments.

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