Abstract:  U-Wake project aims to achieve a breakthrough in the field of IoT by developing a disruptive wake-up receiver solution based on (1) a bioinspired architecture achieved with an industrial CMOS technology (with transistors operating in deep sub-threshold regime) and (2) Electro Magnetic energy harvesting. The originality lies in the association of a Radio Frequency (RF) demodulator to a neuro-inspired detector and data-processing through a spiking neural network (SNN), resulting in a complete ultra-low power wake-up radio supplied with a voltage of a few 100 mV.

Wake-up receivers (WUR) form an emerging technology, which allows continuous channel monitoring, while consuming orders of magnitude less power than traditional receivers. These receivers wake up a main transceiver using interrupts only when a specific signal is detected. Thus, fully asynchronous communication can be achieved, resulting in a huge decrease of energy waste. However, most wake-up receivers are still relying on low power microcontrollers that perform signal recognition but consume peak powers higher than 200 μW, making IoT nodes unable to reach their ultimate energy efficiency.

The proposed receiver will be woken up when detecting a dedicated off-line learned sequence and implemented in a hardware fashion using an Ultra-Low Power (ULP) SNN. The main advantage of such a design is that it requires a few mW or less for the whole wake-up receiver. Furthermore, it can work in the 868 MHz or 2.4 GHz bands and has the ability to recognize different types of signals (on-off keying, BPSK or chirp spread spectrum modulation for instance). Requiring such a low consumption opens up the possibility to be powered using RF energy harvesting or Wireless Power Transfer, and opens the way to a wide range of applications. We aim at developing a complete autonomous sensor node prototype in ISM bands (868 MHz or 2.4 GHz) with a power consumption below 10 μW and keeping a sensitivity at about – 90 dBm, such performance having never been obtained altogether.

Project Structure: The project will be organized in three WPs: WP1, Prerequisites, led by CITI, will address the harvesting, storage and management of energy in order to power the node and make it autonomous. It will also study the choice of the appropriate waveforms, the design of the SNN and the theoretical detection performance of the proposed scheme. WP2, Neuro-inspired circuit, led by IEMN, will develop the new architectures. Two runs are planned at the end of the second year and at the end of the third year. WP3, Prototypes, led by IRISA, will address the interfacing challenges and the realization of the full node for real life IoT solutions.

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