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Tech that allows us to hold our hands to ourselves: Ultra-Wideband Technology

By: Prthika Bajaj


Source: ComputerWorld


Before the coronavirus changed our lives, wunderkind electronics like smart speakers and curved televisions ruled the lists of techs to watch next year. However, the pandemic has prompted everyone to adopt underappreciated technologies. Previously pointless or tacky gadgets on our phones and tablets have now become powerful tools.


Now everyone wants contactless controls and Ultra-Wide Band technology can help us get that. Ultra-wideband (UWB) is a reliable wireless technology that offers centimetre-level precision in position readings and can also determine movement direction. It uses radio waves to assess the precision of a position. It outperforms most wireless systems in terms of accuracy and security by transmitting at an extremely high frequency and using a broad spectrum. UWB connects the world around distance with greater mobility and provides everyone new ways of communicating with individuals, things, and the surroundings when integrated into a mobile device, such as the smartphone in your back pocket, the smart button in your belt, or the control centre in your car. UWB gives you control and allows you to be yourself without any need for physical gadgets, locks, or codes. [1]


Today, to enter a doorway you need to perform operations such as entering the passcode or, touching the scanner but with UWB you just need to approach the door, and it opens, and as soon as you leave the door it locks. The UWB-based solution monitors your progression, verifies your security credentials, and enables you to proceed without stopping to touch first. It is Science Fiction come to life, with doors that open and close as required for easy yet safe entry and exit. UWB for hands-free connectivity allows for full mobility without jeopardizing safety. The authentication procedure is instantaneous, and the door only opens if both the individual and the credential are present and entering the door from the "outside," guaranteeing that anyone lacking appropriate identification and clearance is refused entrance. The operation can be programmed with different parameters to make the setup more effective and avoid unnecessary opening and closing, such as not opening if you turn away from the door before reaching a certain point or if you stand within a certain distance of the entrance. Since UWB technology detects when you are entering or exiting, as well as which side of a door you are on, the lock and unlock functions are performed at the appropriate times, in response to your gestures and positioning.[2]


The above-mentioned things about indoor positioning are something you would have already heard of or experienced, but it can do a lot more than that, to let you keep your hands to yourselves. Are you planning to meet anyone at the airport? In a long line of vehicles, how can you find your carpooling driver? Are you interested as to where your mates are sitting at the cafe? Safe device-to-device contact through UWB lets you know precisely where everyone is so you can find them, and they can find you as easily as possible.


Your house can now be smarter and more eco-conscious. Your phone can function as a personalized remote control for your connected devices thanks to UWB, and in more complex configurations, UWB-enabled sensors can respond to your gestures, turning on lights and speakers when you reach a room and turning them off when you exit. Without pressing a button or flipping a key, your presence dictates the settings, allowing you to feel at ease while still conserving electricity. [3]


Smartphones are a big part of pushing UWB growth because they make the technology more available to a wider audience. Samsung and Apple collectively lead the worldwide mobile industry, and their brand influence has a huge effect on adoption. Samsung’s Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and Apple’s iPhone 11 and 12 support the UWB entirely. According to Apple, “it’s like adding another sense to iPhone, and it’s going to lead to amazing new capabilities.”


BMW, Continental, and Volkswagen have also shown how UWB can boost smart safe car access (in particular, NXP collaborated with Volkswagen on the release demo), with the platform expected to release in select new vehicle models first. With the technologies being demonstrated in two of the most common market segments: cell phones and cars, the range and scope of UWB use models may broaden in other market segments.[4]


Ultra-Wideband Technology enhances your contact free experiences that were limited to mobile wallets until now. Thus, UWB points to a technology that can change how we communicate via smart technology and allow it to better predict and automate our lives.


Prthika Bajaj is a first year B.Com(Hons.) student at JSBF. You can check her profile on LinkedIn.



REFERENCES

[1] The Fast Mode – 3 Reasons why UWB is the future. By Charles Dachs in January 2021

(https://www.thefastmode.com/expert-opinion/18638-3-reasons-why-uwb-is-the-future)

[2] Ultra-Wideband Indoor Positioning Technologies, MDPI. By Abdulrahman Alarifi on 16 May, 2016

(https://www.mdpi.com/1424-8220/16/5/707)

[3] R. A. Saeed, S. Khatun, B. M. Ali and M. K. Abdullah, "Ultra-wideband local positioning for smart home applications," 2006 International Conference on Computing & Informatics, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2006, pp. 1-4, doi: 10.1109/ICOCI.2006.5276431.

[4] Galaxy S21 Ultra has UWB. Here's how ultra-wideband tech will make your life easier. By Stephen Shankland on January 17,2021. (https://www.cnet.com/news/samsung-galaxy-s21-ultra-has-uwb-heres-how-ultra-wideband-tech-will-make-your-life-easier-faq/)

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