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Jan
28

Fashion Just Got Smarter

Two decades ago the concept of portable electronics was still to be properly explored, yet today it is recognised as a fundamental part of our day-to-day lives. We are entering a new phase in the progression of personal electronics, as the potential of wearable technology starts to become more apparent.

 

People regularly accessorize, complementing their clothing with watches, glasses, jewellery, etc. Wearable technology just takes things that little bit further, adding extra functionality into the mix. We have already seen the introduction of smart glasses featuring heads-up displays and smart watches that work in tandem with the wearer’s smartphone so apps can be utilized without the need to take the handset out of a pocket or bag (thereby allowing greater convenience). This is still just the beginning though. As these electronic devices are in contact with the wearer’s body on a continuous basis, there are a multitude of possibilities for their employment in capturing all manner of physical data, such as remote patient monitoring, sleep pattern analysis, or sports performance purposes.

 

Whatever the target application, the following criteria need to be covered by any item of wearable technology:

 

 It should offer some significant functional benefit to the wearer.

  • An attractive external appearance is important. If the item has a negative visual impact it might discourage people from wearing it.
  • Lightweight construction and compact form factor that ensure the item is comfortable for the wearer are both effectively mandatory.
  • A high degree of overall power efficiency should be exhibited, with each of the integral components upholding this. This is especially true in relation to healthcare applications.
  • Adequate connectivity needs to be included, so the data that has been captured can be accessed, etc. In nearly all cases this connectivity will be wireless orientated.
  • In most circumstances, it will be extremely beneficial if a wireless charging mechanism is built into the system.
  • It is likely that some form of user interface will be required and this should be intuitive to operate.

The IC technology incorporated into wearable electronic designs clearly needs to be up to the job. An application processor that is being specified should have an array of suitable attributes to draw upon. It should be based on a low power architecture that allows battery life to be prolonged as much as possible. Sufficient sensing and data processing capabilities need to be integrated, plus a sizeable memory resource should be available. In addition, the stipulated application processor should support the relevant wireless communication standards, like Bluetooth® Low-Energy (BLE).

 

You can learn more about the future implications of wearable electronics by downloading Toshiba’s white paper on the subject.

http://toshiba.semicon-storage.com/eu/design-support/innovationcentre/whitepapers/tcm0029_wearables.html

 

 


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