Imec is off and running with low-power ultra-sensitive radar at 60 GHz

Reading time: 2 minutes


Imec has revealed its new millimeter-wave motion detection radar at 60 GHz. The device, which is integrated in standard 28nm CMOS, has been optimized for vital sign monitoring and gesture recognition and touts a range resolution of 2 cm. Furthermore, this ultra-sensitive radar operates at low power, consuming just 62 mW, which means it can be directly integrated into a variety of small, battery-powered devices including fitness trackers and other wearables.

Credit: Imec

Imec’s new radar design generates fast modulated waves, with a frequency increase of 12 percent in just 51.2 microseconds. A high modulation bandwidth (7.2 GHz) determines the sensor’s ultra-fine resolution, which makes it suitable for 3D sensing of finger motions, hand swiping and gestures. Experiments have demonstrated the sensor’s ability for multi-target detection, heartbeat detection at 5 meters and accurate tracking of a pedestrian’s position and velocity. The radar operates in the frequency band around 60 GHz, a license-free ISM band that can be used for new IoT applications for industrial and medical purposes. The 4.15 mm2 transceiver chip is integrated in 28nm bulk CMOS technology, ensuring a low-cost solution at high-volume production.

“The radar enables such devices to sense their surroundings, which will shape the way in which we control and use these devices. For instance, a phone with integrated radar on your bedside table can monitor sleep quality by contactless tracking of breathing rate and heart rate variability,” describes Barend van Liempd, program manager radar at Imec. “The radar is also suited for classification of other physical activities, which will open a new range of smart applications in the context of personalized health, baby monitoring, sports, elderly care, patient monitoring, nurse efficiency or worker safety.”