Aria Sensing’s goal is to design an innovative UWB radar integrated circuit for detecting people and objects by combining the best features of different existing technologies.

 A radar integrated in a chip capable of intercepting any human movement or presence, starting with breathing or heartbeat. A system of ‘Human Centric’ radars integrated with Ultra Wide Band (UWB) technology that allows a vast field of application, from home automation to healthcare, which convinced LIFTT to invest in Aria Sensing, a dynamic Brescia-based company founded 10 years ago that already markets a series of devices that, to date, are the best performing and most compact on the market. And which, with LIFTT’s help, is preparing for a further technological upgrade.

The founding members of Aria Sensing, Alessio Cacciatori, Emanuela Cacciatori and Michele Quarantelli, explain the philosophy behind the project.

What is your core-business?

Our business proposition is based on a team with proven experience in the design and implementation of innovative radio-frequency circuits. Specifically, we deal with ultra-high resolution and ultra-low power consumption ultra-whiteband radar devices for various uses ranging from open building automation to industrial and biomedical applications. To be clear, these are devices capable of detecting the entire set of signs of human presence, ranging from the actual presence because a person is moving, to what may simply be the person’s breathing or detecting their gesture to control electronic devices of various types’.

Is the heartbeat also a useful input for your systems?

Absolutely: it is one of the vital signals that can be detected by the radar device, without contact. This makes it much easier to monitor patients, for example: you can monitor several patients simultaneously and wirelessly, 24 hours a day and with faster response times. If we change sector and move on to the automotive sector, we can imagine sensors inside the vehicle as ‘incoming monitors’: here, one can detect the presence and number of people on board a car, for example for applications related to the world of insurance or Child Presence Detection (CPD) applications, or for situations to detect the driver’s state of attention and stress, which through monitoring the heartbeat and breathing can obtain information of this kind. Other applications may concern the world of electronics or tracking the stress level of the PC operator or the attention level in front of a certain smart TV or programme.”A system of ‘Human Centric’ radars integrated with Ultra Wide Band (UWB) technology that allows a vast field of application, from home automation to healthcare.

So, there is also potential in the field of marketing?

“Yes, it ranges from very ‘noble’ applications to distinctly more consumer applications. For example, other applications concern the retail world, such as the detection of the time spent in a single environment by people, or the detection of the minutes spent in front of a shop window and thus understand what kind of appeal it has, up to the interaction when someone is in a fitting room… The advantage of this technology is that it enables performance that other competitors cannot achieve, and this is confirmed by the feedback that our customers give us, both in terms of the ability to detect what they are interested in and in terms of power consumption, with results that are far from those of competing families. “

What is UWB technology?

“It is a recent but not very recent technology, brought to the fore by Apple with the object tracker “.AirTag. In practice, it allows large amounts of wireless data to be transmitted over short distances, with far fewer problems than, for example, Bluetooth, and with the not inconsiderable advantage of very low power consumption (not even one milliwatt). UWD is constantly evolving, and Aria Sensing, thanks to constant R&D, is developing radar sensors combined with algorithms capable of very accurately detecting a person’s breathing rhythm at a distance of several metres, as well as controlling and regulating the main comfort parameters within a home and/or work environment using simple gestures. We base this on a fairly well-known principle that is typical of radar: a transceiver that emits radio signals that can be like those of wi-fi that are radiated through antennas. When these hit a person, some of the energy is reflected back to the receiver, which, by measuring the time of flight and other characteristics of the signal, is able to derive a wide variety of information about the person being ‘illuminated‘.

How will LIFTT’s investment be used?

“It will be used in the development of the next technological generation of the device, which will make it possible to overcome the limitations of ultra-wideband radar to date. The device currently has limitations because it measures distance, for example, and if two people are at the same distance from the radar, it does not distinguish between them. So, an object is needed that adds to the distance information that of the angle and position relative to the radar front. So what the start-up is going to do is to develop the next generation that will allow us to add this information and be able to distinguish different people if they are at the same distance, which we cannot distinguish today. This is an important technological delta. We were impressed by LIFTT’s approach: instead of focusing on developing the market part of the product we already market, they preferred to boost R&D, investing in innovation where many companies do not want to take such a risk.”The UWB, the ultra-bluetooth without the hassles of Bluetooth.

A special feature of UWB technology are the advantages compared to Bluetooth: the former has a maximum range of about 10 metres, the latter goes up to 70 metres. In addition, UWB can count on a much higher bandwidth, and this compared to Bluetooth makes it possible to transport very large amounts of information at the same time, at a speed close to Gigabit, thus comparable to fibre optics at home. Moreover, it is extremely precise: it measures exactly the so-called transit time of information, i.e., the ability to know what the distance between the two communicating objects is with a difference of centimetres if not millimetres. Last but not least, the reduced amount of energy used to transfer data, well below one milliwatt, which also gives UWB intrinsic security: the signal, being at very low power, is easily confused with the numerous electromagnetic emissions travelling through the air, making it almost impossible for an attacker to intercept. The future, in short, is already written.UWD is constantly evolving, and Aria Sensing, thanks to constant R&D, is developing radar sensors combined with algorithms capable of very accurately detecting a person’s breathing rhythm at a distance of several metres.

Project Manager Aurora Castello: “An exclusive technology with high potential”

“Aria Sensing plans to introduce the new product line in mid-2023. The development of the device,’ explains the Project Manager who will follow the Aria Sensing project, ‘will give the company a great advantage: being able to detect more than a single person within the radar range. Today, in fact, radar devices do not distinguish whether there is one or more people within the same radius, whereas with this differentiation, several people can be monitored with just one device. For example, inside a car today it is difficult to distinguish between a driver or a passenger or whether there is a child on board: it would be necessary to have several devices and several sensors. With this technology, on the other hand, you are able to pick up the differences between the various seats, e.g., driver or passenger, and monitor certain parameters such as the presence of a child, generating the alert signal so as not to forget the child in the car… “