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Abstract

The WiseSkin project aims to provide a non-invasive solution for restoration of a natural sense of touch to persons using prosthetic limbs. By embedding sensor nodes into the silicone coating of the prosthesis, which acts as a sensory skin, WiseSkin targets to provide improved gripping, manipulation and mobility for amputees. Flexibility, freedom of movement and comfort demand unobtrusive, highly miniaturized, low-power sensing capabilities built into the artificial skin, which is then integrated with a sensory feedback system. Wireless communication between the sensor nodes provides more flexibility, better scalability and robustness compared to wired solution, and is therefore a preferred approach for WiseSkin. Design of an RF transceiver tailored for the specific needs of WiseSkin is the topic of this work. The properties of FM ultra-wide band (FM-UWB) modulation make it a good candidate for High-Density Wireless Sensor Networks (HD-WSN). The proposed FM-UWB receivers take advantage of short range to reduce power consumption, and exploit robustness of this wideband modulation scheme. The LNA, identified as the biggest consumer, is removed and signal is directly converted to dc, where amplification and demodulation are performed. Owing to 500 MHz bandwidth, frequency offset and phase noise can be tolerated, and a low-power, free-running ring oscillator can be used to generate the LO signal. The receiver is referred to as an approximate zero-IF receiver. Two receiver architectures are studied. The first one performs quadrature downconversion, and owing to the demodulator linearity, provides the multi-user capability. In the second receiver, quadrature demodulation is replaced by the single-ended one. Due to the nature of the demodulator, sensitivity degrades, and multiple FM-UWB signals cannot be resolved, but the consumption is almost halved compared to the first receiver. The proposed approach is verified through two integrations, both in a standard 65 nm bulk CMOS process. In the first run, a standalone quadrature receiver was integrated. Power consumption of 423 uW was measured, while achieving -70 dBm sensitivity. Good narrow-band interference rejection and multiuser capability with up to 4 FM-UWB channels could be achieved. In the second run, a full transceiver is integrated, with both quadrature and single-ended receivers and a transmitter, all sharing a single IO pad, without the need for any external passive components or switches. The quadrature receiver, with on-chip baseband processing and multi-user support, in this case consumes 550 uW, with a sesensitivity of -68 dBm. The low power receiver consumes 267 uW, and provides -57 dBm sensitivity, at a single FM-UWB channel. The implemented trantransmitter transmits a 100 kb/s FM-UWB signal at -11.4 dBm, while drawing 583 uW from the 1 V supply. The on-chip clock recovery allows reference frequency offset up to 8000 ppm. Since state of the art on-chip RC oscillators can provide below 2100 ppm across the temperature range of interest, the implemented transceiver demonstrates the feasibility of a fully integrated FM-UWB radio with no need for a quartz reference or any external components. In addition, the transceiver can tolerate up to 3 dBm narrow-band interferer at 2.4 GHz. Such a strong signal can be used to remotely power the sensor nodes inside the artificial skin and enable a truly wirelessWiseSkin solution.

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