In the U.S. during the coronavirus pandemic, professional basketball and football seasons were made possible in part by contract tracing—specifically by Kinexon’s ultra-wideband contact tracing system. Ultra-wideband (UWB) is a short-range and high-bandwidth radio technology that, in this case, is contained primarily in Kinexon’s wristband sensors.
Today a small but growing number of smartphones and smartwatches—including flagship models from Samsung and Apple—support UWB. And as this feature appears only to be on the rise in mobile devices, UWB-enabled smartphones could become the backbone of future contact tracing apps.
The most widely used non-UWB contact tracing apps have relied upon Bluetooth technology, which is of course already widely available on smartphones. However, Bluetooth was not designed for proximity detection. By comparison, “peer-to-peer” fine ranging is one of UWB’s strengths. So UWB technology has naturally emphasized applications that rely on accurately detecting the location of other UWB sensors within relatively short ranges. The Kinexon SafeZone system was, in fact, originally designed for keeping track of workers in industrial workplaces during the pre-COVID-19 era.
Leslie Ann Saxon, executive director and founder of the Center for Body Computing at the University of Southern California says…