The newly developed thin beacon
The newly developed thin beacon
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Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd developed a Bluetooth Smart beacon that can be bent and stretched.

It is powered by a solar battery and eliminates the need to replace a battery. Its thickness and weight are 2.5mm and 3g, respectively. Fujitsu Laboratories aims to commercialize the beacon in fiscal 2016 after confirming that the beacon stably and continuously operates.

In general, wireless modules consume a large amount of electricity at the time of starting up before communications start. If they are powered by solar batteries, it is necessary to use large-size power storage elements such as rechargeable batteries. Moreover, a power supply control circuit for checking if enough amount of electricity is stored in power storage elements, etc is needed. Such power storage elements and power supply control circuit are large, making it difficult to realize a beacon that can be bent and stretched.

This time, Fujitsu Laboratories developed a power supply control technology to temporarily stop the power supply monitoring function right before communications start, reduce power consumption and use the saved energy for starting communications. As a result, it became possible to reduce the size of power storage elements to about 1/9 and simplify the power supply control circuit, reducing the footprint of components to about 1/6, the company said.

Furthermore, Fujitsu Laboratories realized the bendable, stretchable Bluetooth Smart beacon by mounting small components such as thin-film solar cells on a stretchable silicon (Si) thin-film sheet developed by Fujitsu Advanced Technologies Ltd. Because it enables to install a beacon more freely, the new beacon can be installed on ceilings and in lighting apparatuses and other places where it is difficult to install a beacon as well as on clothes, human bodies and other surfaces that change shapes.