UWB – ultra-wideband radio technology
UWB – ultra-wideband radio technology
UWB is a wireless communication technology that enables precise positioning and spatial awareness by measuring the time it takes for radio waves to travel between devices.
How UWB positioning systems work:
- UWB Hardware: UWB-enabled devices, such as iPhones, contain specialized UWB hardware components, including antennas and transceivers. These components generate and receive UWB radio signals.
- Time of Flight (ToF) Measurement: The UWB system measures the time it takes for the UWB radio signals to travel between devices or nodes. This measurement is known as Time of Flight (ToF). By accurately measuring the ToF, the system can calculate the distance between UWB-enabled devices.
- Trilateration: Trilateration is a technique used in UWB positioning systems to determine the location of an object or device. It involves measuring the distances to multiple known reference points (anchors) with known locations. By intersecting the spheres created by the measured distances, the system can determine the precise location of the UWB-enabled device.
- Anchors: Anchors are stationary UWB-enabled devices with known positions. These devices transmit UWB signals that are received by the UWB-enabled mobile device. By measuring the ToF of the signals from multiple anchors, the UWB system can calculate the device’s position.
- UWB Framework: In iOS development, Apple provides the UWB framework, known as Core Location Framework, to support UWB positioning. This framework allows developers to access and utilize UWB functionality in their applications. Developers can use the framework to obtain distance and location information from UWB-enabled devices and integrate it into their apps.
Applications of UWB positioning systems include precise indoor positioning, location-based services, augmented reality experiences, asset tracking, and more. By leveraging UWB technology and the Core Location Framework, iOS developers can create innovative and accurate location-based experiences for users.
Few examples of iOS apps that can utilize ultra-wideband (UWB) technology:
- Indoor Navigation Apps: UWB positioning systems can enable highly accurate indoor navigation apps. These apps can help users navigate through complex indoor environments, such as airports, shopping malls, or large buildings. By leveraging UWB technology, the app can provide precise location information and guide users to their desired destinations within the indoor space.
- Proximity-based Access Control: UWB can be used in apps that provide access control based on proximity. For example, in a smart home app, UWB can enable the unlocking of doors or activation of specific features when the user’s UWB-enabled iPhone is in close proximity to the UWB-enabled smart lock or device.
- Asset Tracking: UWB positioning systems can facilitate asset tracking apps in various scenarios. For instance, in a warehouse management app, UWB can help track the location of items or assets with high accuracy. The app can display the real-time position of the assets on a map or provide directions to locate them.
- Augmented Reality (AR) Experiences: UWB can enhance AR experiences by enabling precise spatial understanding. For example, an AR app that overlays virtual objects on the real world can leverage UWB to accurately anchor virtual content to specific physical locations, creating a more immersive and realistic AR experience.
- Gaming Applications: UWB can be utilized in multiplayer gaming apps to enable real-time positional tracking and improve gameplay interactions. With UWB, players can engage in location-based games, where their physical movements and positions are accurately captured and reflected in the virtual gaming environment.
iOS devices support Ultra-Wideband (UWB) technology:
- iPhone 11 series
- iPhone 12 series
- iPhone 13 series
- iPhone 14 series
Ultra Wideband isn’t available in all countries or regions and is subject to international regulatory requirements that require it to be turned off in certain locations.
Ultra Wideband isn’t available in these countries or regions:
 Nearby Interaction with UWB FAQ (https://developer.apple.com/nearby-interaction)
 Nearby Interaction Framework, Developer Documentation (https://developer.apple.com/documentation/nearbyinteraction)
Authored by Dima Sviderskyi.