Radar technology takes a giant leap, flies and swerves in different aspects of life and has been embraced by experts in the field. With radar even being adopted in consumer products, Systems Plus Consulting has become curious about its implementation. The technology and cost analysis company decided to tear down a radar chip, but which one? The company chose the first-generation Vayyar system over the RF chip for several reasons. They were mainly interested in how Vayyar could design a single, highly integrated RF SoC. System Plus analysts were also fascinated by Vayyar’s SoC’s ability to generate high-resolution 4D images. Radar used to be a slow growing market serving mature applications such as the military. Things have changed a lot. Radar, especially “radar imaging”, is hotter than Kardashian’s. Automotive and consumer applications spark the imagination of system designers and drive the growth of radar to double digit numbers. While radar is still important for military bases and aircraft carriers, it is massively invading homes, family cars, and even smartphones. For automotive applications, Tier Ones and OEMs are working with radar imaging for both advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and in-cabin occupancy detection. Radar technology suppliers are also monitoring smartphone opportunities. The focus of the collaboration between Infineon and Google announced last year, for example, was to enable gesture control in Google Pixel 4 smartphones, using Infineon’s radar technology. Although it is not clear if every phone will have radar technology any time soon, the field of applications for radar is expanding rapidly. Vayyar has built its own RF SoC in the Walabot line of products. Among this group is the Walabot Home Fall Detection System, which enables family members and caregivers to monitor elderly relatives who may be at risk of falls. Being dependent on radar, it can see people through walls and curtains. One benefit is that the person being monitored does not need a wearable. Systems Plus Consulting (a subsidiary of the Yole Développement group) was fascinated by the Vayyar chip, which analyzes a large number of signals sent and received from integrated transceivers and processes them with a high-speed DSP on the SoC. System Plus revealed that Vayyar built a small board that houses both the RF SoC and the MCU. This setup allows Vayyar’s RF SoC to work with any external application processor selected by the system vendor. The first generation Vayyar chip – the subject of this rip – was based on a 3 to 10 GHz RF SoC. Due to the frequency band limitations imposed by different countries, Vayyar has already designed follow-ups, including one that operates from 57 to 64 GHz, providing greater maximum bandwidth and higher resolution range. Another is the 77 to 81 GHz band. The RF SoC comes with an “on-chip digital signal processor with a large amount of SRAM in the transceiver,” according to System Plus. The RF SoC provides the data to the MCU placed on the Walabot board. The MCU “only converts SRAM data to a USB data stream type.” This step is critical, as it makes Vayyar’s RF SoC technology neutral and flexible enough to work with any external CPU or application processor that system designers choose. It doesn’t matter if it’s Qualcomm’s Snapdragon or someone else’s app processor. It can then implement complex imaging algorithms if necessary. Beyond the Walabot Home Beyond the Walabot Home, Vayyar is making headway in the automotive market. Vayyar struck a deal with Valeo, one of the leading Tier One companies, two years ago. At the time, Valeo announced plans to use Vayyar’s radar sensors to monitor children’s breathing and trigger an alert in the event of an emergency, especially if the infant is inside the car alone. Last November, Vayyar raised $109 million in a Series D funding round led by Koch Disruptive Technologies (KDT), an investment firm of US multinational Koch Industries. Napping Koch, a strategic investor, has been such a big deal that Koch and its subsidiaries will potentially open the door to Vayyar’s imaging sensors in many other market segments. Earlier this year, Vayyar announced a partnership with Japan-based auto parts company Aisin Seiki, which is seeking to develop “short-range, high-resolution 4D vehicle external sensors” for applications such as blind spot detection. Setting up the Walabot Home The Walabot Home is an intelligent system that tracks the movement of people and understands if they have fallen and need assistance. The small and slender device uses a sensor system that processes low-energy radio waves similar to Wi-Fi signals to determine a person’s location. At the core of the system, the RF SoC combines 3- to 81-GHz transceivers to create high-resolution 4D images by analyzing multiple signals sent and received – without an external CPU. Thanks to the integration of high-speed DSP transceivers for data processing, Vayyar’s technology can create an accurate situation scenario. Through the Walabot Home system, Vayyar’s technology can display the size, position and movement of people and objects, allowing for a complete classification of the environment in real time without the use of a camera. Not having a camera means there is way less potential for privacy violations. Walabot Home is a fall alert system that constantly monitors people, preventing potential dangers and accidents. This smart home device can sense if a person has accidentally fallen during their stay, and needs help. The RF SoC system features an Ultra Wide Bandwidth (UWB) system that detects people and their location in space. The UWB sends and receives signals using pulses of radio frequency energy of transient duration (from a few tens of picoseconds to a few nanoseconds). It is, in practice, a wireless protocol that allows access to a band of the order of gigabit per second with electrical power in an antenna of tenths of a watt. (The FCC defines a signal as UWB when its bandwidth is >500MHz or has a fractional range >20%.) The advantage of this technology is that the shortness of the pulse makes the UWB less sensitive to interference due to reflection of the wave itself. “One RF SoC from Vayyar is used to send/receive an RF signal at a frequency of 3.3 to 10 GHz,” said Stéphane Elisabeth, Cost Analysis Expert at System Plus Consulting. The system uses two plates: one for the RF transmitter and receiverاستقبال [yellow contour in Figure 1], SRAM data collection, USB data stream; One [green contour in Figure 1] For data processing and BT / Wi-Fi connection. Figure 1: Walabot Home System X-ray view (Source: System Plus Consulting) Figure 2: Walabot Home System block diagram (Source: System Plus Consulting) Figure 3: Walabot Home System main panel (Source: System Plus Consulting) The two panels shown In Figure 2 they are connected to a flexible PCB chassis to provide more flexibility. Thanks to the flexible nature of the connection, there is a significant reduction in space, weight and costs compared to a similar solution on a solid base. The heat dissipation (thermal interface material) is managed in two ways: “One above the application processor The other is directly on the heat sink,” Elizabeth said. “We have assumed that the heat sink generates an aluminum alloy A380.” A380 is one of the most common aluminum alloys. A380 alloys have excellent fluidity, pressure tightness and resistance to hot cracking. Die casting is produced with aluminum alloys 380, in particular, high-quality, cost-effective parts and durable products.The RF SoC has 48 In/Outpath from the mold to the balls under the package.In the 48 RF In/Output, only 42 are used,” Elizabeth said. to connect the antennas. “The RF SoC uses an integrated digital signal processor with a large amount of SRAM in the transceiver block and delivers the data to the MCU. The MCU only converts the SRAM data to a USB data stream type. The on-chip DSP excludes the design from any external CPU to implement complex imaging algorithms. .” The RF SoC uses a six-layer PCB substrate, welded onto a 10-layer PCB substrate (Fig. 4). It is enclosed using FCBGA without cap. The MMIC consists of two quadrature oscillators to generate an intermediate frequency signal on the chip to be directly processed by the analog-to-digital converter (ADC). Figure 4: Cross-section of the RF SoC package (Source: System Plus Consulting) In addition to the VYYR2401-A3 RF SoC processor, in the block diagram of Figures 2 and 3, we can see the MSM8909 processor allowing emergency mobile communication, and Codec/ Audio by Qualcomm Headphone and Microphone Manager. Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 MSM8909 is an entry-level SoC for Android smartphones and tablets with four Arm Cortex-A7 (quad-core) CPU cores clocked at 1.1GHz. The SoC integrates Bluetooth 4.1 + BLE, 802.11n (2.4GHz) Wi-Fi and a Cat 4 4G-LTE modem (LTE FDD, LTE TDD, WCDMA (DC-HSDPA, HSUPA), CDMA1x, EV-DO Rev. B and TD- SCDMA and GSM/EDGE) with a maximum speed of 150 Mbps. The Cypress CYUSB2014 controller sends the data analyzed by the SoC RF to the USB protocol. It is a SuperSpeed peripheral controller, providing integrated and flexible features. It has a fully configurable, parallel and general programmable interface called GPIF II, connected to any processor, ASIC, or FPGA. GPIF II is an improved version of GPIF in FX2LP, Cypress’s flagship USB 2.0 product. Please visit the EE Times for more of this article. .