Tag: fitness

Get ready to wear a smart shirt

fobwatchA survey from Gartner said that less wearable electronic devices for fitness will ship in 2015 because of confusion in the marketplace.

While 70 million wearables will ship in 2014, that figure will fall to 68 million next year.

That is because the entry of smartwatches into the marketplace will have overlap in functionality.

But the figure is set to rise again in 2016 because lower cost machines will be available along with a variety of different designs.

The push to get people to use fitness wearables is being funded by a number of industry giants including Qualcomm, Apple, Google, Samsung, Microsoft, Nike and Intel.

Gartner sys the five main form factors are smart wristbands, sports watches, other fitness monitors, heart rate monitor chest straps and so called smart clothes.

This last category has the biggest potential for growth, according to Gartner and so-called “smart shirts” are no becoming available.  The research firm didn’t say whether the next step will be “smart pants”.

While smartwatches will come in many different price range, those costing $150 or over are likely to include accelerometers and gyroscopes but unlike health wristbands will have to tell the time and have the capacity to send and receive texts.

Fitness spurs sensor market

fitnessWith a flood of gadgets aimed at people who like to be fit as well as machines used by medicos, shipment of the sensors used in the devices is set to increase sevenfold from 2013 to 2019.

The types of sensors used in these devices can be broken down into motion sensors, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and sensor for health, environment and user interfaces, according to IHS.

But out of these categories, motion sensors will be the dominant technology and under this umbrella are accelerometers, gyroscopes, proximity sensors and MEMS displays.

The top dog in the sensor market is ST Microelectronics – it sells sensors as bundles along with microprocessors and wirless chips.

IHS said that the worldwide market for sensors in wearables will reach 466 million units in 2019, up from 67 million in 2013.

Broadcom intros combo chip

broadcom_logoSemiconductor firm Broadcom has completed work on integrating global navigation satellite system and a sensor hub combination chip on the same die.

The company said the chip will be used to create apps for health, fitness and so called “life logging”, by providing software with an always on background location. Life logging means a mobile device knows where you are and the chip will manage functions to maximise battery life.

The integrated global navigation chip will provide a direct connection to wi-fi technology and so will improve battery power and context awareness.

The chip, the BCM4773 allows information from wi-fi, Bluetooth Smart, GPS and MEMS (micro electro-mechanical systems) to be calculated on one SoC (system on a chip) instead of having to use the application processor.  The design, claims Broadcom, will reduce the printed circuit board area by 34 percent and can offer up to 80 percent power savings.

Broadcom says the chip will support five different satellite systems including GPS, GLONASS, SBAS, QZSS and BeiDou.  The chip is already in production.