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60 GHz Wireless for Industrial Applications

60 GHz Wireless for Industrial Applications
Posted 06/21/2016 by Peiju Chiang

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We live in a world where we heavily rely on wireless. From high-speed data to conduct business transactions to streaming video onto mobile devices, wireless is everywhere. The growth of mobile phones and laptops have put the existing wireless spectrums under strain. And as technology and our personal needs evolve, wireless connectivity needs to keep pace with the growing demand.

One solution that can solve this capacity problem and provides additional benefits for various other wireless applications is the unlicensed 60 GHz band. With more than 7 GHz of spectrum , the 60 GHz band provides 20X more channel bandwidth than its 5 GHz counterpart. As the demand for data grows at an unprecedented rate, devices and networks can use 60 GHz to alleviate the already congested spectrums.

The benefit of 60 GHz is not limited to the consumer electronics space. It can revolutionize many aspects of the industrial market, including machine vision, surveillance and medical equipment.

Machine Vision

Machine vision, where industrial machine vision systems guide robots as they build a product or inspect work for errors, is a vital tool in the modern factory, and is commonly utilized in many factories ranging from electronics manufacturing to cutting edge garment production. Machine vision involves three basic components: the image grabber (similar to a camera, it captures the raw data using an image sensor), the processor that analyzes the data, and the link connecting them together. Today’s machine vision equipment is typically connected via a multi-wire cable, which can cause several issues.

Any sort of wire can limit and hinder the mobility of image grabbers in non-fixed applications like robot guidance. Distance can also be a problem, with cables lengths limiting where machines and the analyzing computers can be placed on the factory floor. Traditional wireless solutions have higher latency and image compression, meaning the factory line has to be slowed to accommodate for the increase latency, while compression makes it harder for the computer to interpret the image that has been captured.

With 60 GHz, one or multiple image grabbers can be mounted on the machine removing the necessity for any wiring. These image grabbers can either transmit directly to the computer or be connected to a wireless link that is then connected to a control hub. 60 GHz wireless video means robots can move more freely, factory floors have less dangerous clutter, and computers can be removed from the factory floor to more controlled environments.

Industrial Surveillance

Industrial surveillance is another area where 60 GHz technology can add value. Many of the surveillance systems in offices and manufacturing plants are still utilizing low resolution imaging, making them less useful. However, upgrading these devices often requires reinstalling all of the existing wiring, potentially costing millions of dollars. WirelessHD® can dramatically simplify retrofitting these older buildings by tapping into the existing power connection of the old system while transmitting high quality video wirelessly to a receiving station.

Medical

Healthcare has always been an area that benefits significantly from technological advancements, where the latest tools and techniques help in preventative care and can save lives. Today, digital imaging is a vital tool that aids physicians during the diagnosis stage and assists in performing procedures in the operating room.

Inserting a bunch of computers into an operating room introduces a myriad of problems, not least of which is an abundance of cables which are hard to sanitize and are cumbersome to manage. Wireless technology can help here too, for example, transmitting live video from an orthoscopic camera wirelessly to a nearby monitor, or perhaps directly to a head mounted display on the surgeon’s visor. By removing the video cables from operating rooms, the medical staff can focus on the wellness of the patient rather than worry about sterilizing more wires.

Another area of innovation for 60 GHz in the operating room is in enabling gesture control. Millimeter wave gesture control can read and detect fingers passing in its field with greater accuracy than current infrared camera technologies, which can have difficulty in variable lighting situations and struggle with touch-like accuracy. Reliable gesture control can remove buttons from machines, making them even easier to sterilize.

60 GHz technology is an exciting area in the world of wireless video and data transmission. In addition to the CE applications already in the market, there are a number of industrial applications emerging. The unique combination of features, including low latency, high bandwidth, and minimal interference makes our SiBEAM wireless technology well suited for a number of industrial applications. As this technology continues to grow, expect to see even more uses for 60 GHz.

Click here to learn more about our 60 GHz WirelessHD modules for industrial applications.

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