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Posts Tagged ‘wearables’

Samsung S-Patch3 Wearable Health Tracker Based on Samsung Bio-Processor Hits the FCC

June 9th, 2017 No comments

At the end of 2015, Samsung unveiled their S3FBP5A Bio-Processor comprised of an ARM Cortex-M4 MCU, a DSP, and sensors for PPG, ECG (electrocardiography), Skin temperature, BIA, and GSR to have a single package to design tracker able to monitor your health condition. The company demonstrated an early prototype called S-Patch at CES 2016 (See embedded video at the end of this post), and now S-Patch3 wearable health monitoring system has just hit the FCC.

The system has two round shapes case connected via a cable, with one for the battery compartment, and the other containing the Bio Processors, and meant to be placed on your chest. The device can then synchronize the data with your smartphone in real-time over Bluetooth. People with heart conditions may benefit from the system, as if they wish to do so, they could share the data with their doctor. Few documents are publicly available on the FCC website, and while we don’t know the expect launch date of the device itself, the user’s manual and photos will be released on December 3rd, 2017 on the FCC website, which should roughly correspond to the launch date, or at least the official announcement date from Samsung.

Via Sammobile

Think Silicon Ultra Low Power NEMA GPUs are Designed for Wearables and IoT Applications

May 8th, 2017 1 comment

When you have to purchase a wearable device, let’s say a smartwatch or fitness tracker, you have to make trade offs between user interface and battery life. For example, a fitness tracker such as Xiaomi Mi Band 2 will last about 2 weeks per charge with a limited display, while Android smartwatches with a much better interface need to be recharged every 1 or 2 days. Think Silicon aims to improve battery life of the devices with nicer user interfaces thanks to their ultra-low power NEMA 2D, 3D, and GP GPU that can be integrated into SoCs with ARM Cortex-M and Cortex-A cores.

Nema|t 3D GPU Block Diagram

The company has three family of GPUs:

  • NEMA|p pico 2D GPU with one core
    • 4bpp framebuffer, 6bpp texture with/out alpha
    • Fill Rate – 1pixel/cycle
    • Silicon Area – 0.07 mm2 with 28nm process
    • Power Consumption – leakage power GPU consumption of 0.06mW; with compression (TSFSc): 0.03 mW
  • NEMA|t tiny 2D & 3D GPU with one to 4 cores
    • 4bpp framebuffer, 6bpp texture with/out alpha
    • OpenGL ES support
    • Can render a 420×420 3D UI @ 80 MHz
    • Fill Rate – 1-4pixel/cycle; up to 1,600 MPixel/s for the quad core version  @ 400 MHz
    • Silicon Area – 0.1 to 0.25 mm2 with 28nm process
    • Power Consumption – leakage power GPU consumption of 0.07mW; with proprietary compression technology (TSFBc, TSTXc): 0.03 mW
  • NEMA|s GPGPU with one to four cores
    • Supports Network On Chip (NoC) interconnect for clusters with each cluster supporting up to four cores, and each core handling up to 128 threads
    • Fill Rate – 1pixel/cycle
    • Silicon Area and Power Consumption – TBA, as Nema|s is only implemented via FPGA for now

NEMA|s GPU

The first two models are available right now, while the third is still in development. The company is also working on the fourth family with NEMA|ts “tiny small” GPU, but no details have been provided.

Provided the website is up-to-date, NEMA|p 2D GPU is supported in FreeRTOS V8.0.1 and Linux kernel 3.x, while NEMA|t can be used in Linux 3.x and Android 4.x. The company also provides a software library in ANSI C, as well as DirectFB and Qt support.

I found out about the NEMA through a Charbax video at Mobile World Congress 2017.


Think Silicon GPUs are said to be already used in Microchip and Dialog MCUs, and Sequant recently announced an “LTE for IoT System-on-Chip” with a NEMA|p 2D/2.5D GPU. The demo in the video above also shows an Ambiq Micro board connected to an FPGA implementation of one of their GPUs. You’ll find more information on Think Silicon website.

Intrinsyc Introduces Open-Q 2100 SoM and Devkit Powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 SoC for Wearables

April 27th, 2017 3 comments

Qualcomm unveiled Snapdragon Wear 2100 SoC for wearables early last year, and since then a few smartwatches powered by the processor – such as LG Watch Style and Watch Sport – have been launched, and Intrinsyc has now unveiled one of the first module based on the processor with Open-Q 2100 system-on-module, and a corresponding Nano-ITX baseboard.

Open-Q 2100 SoM specifications:

  • SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 (APQ8009W) quad core ARM Cortex A7 processor @ up to 1.094 GHz with Adreno 304 GPU
  • System Memory – 512 MB LPDDR3
  • Storage – 4GB eMMC flash
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi (WCN2320), Bluetooth 4.1 LE, Gen 8C GNSS (GPS/GLONASS) with on-board u.FL connector (WGR7640)
  • Audio – Integrated Codec/PMIC (PM8916-1) with optional support for Fluence HD, Snapdragon Voice Activation, and Snapdragon Voice+
  • 2x 100-pin board-to-board connectors with USB 2.0, I2S, GPIO, MIPI DSI up to 720p @ 60 Hz, 2-lane MIPI CSI, SDC2/microSD signals
  • Power Supply – 3.6 to 4.2V input
  • Dimensions – 31.5 x 15 mm
  • Temperature Range – -10 to +70 °C

The module runs Android 7 Nougat by default, but it can also support Android Wear.

The company also provides Open-Q 2100 SoM development board to evaluate the platform, and get started as soon as possible while you wait for your custom baseboard. The development includes the following key features:

  • Connectors for Open-Q 210 system-on-module
  • Storage – micro SD slot
  • Display – MIPI DSI connector with optional smartphone display, HDMI output
  • Camera – MIPI CSI connector for optional 720p capable camera
  • Connectivity – Ethernet port (via LAN9514); wireless connectivity (WiFi, BLE, GPS) on module
  • USB – 4x USB 2.0 host ports
  • Expansion Headers – SPI, I2S, GPIO, etc…
  • Debugging – micro USB port for debug UART
  • Power Supply – 12V/3A via DC jack, or 6-pin battery connector
  • Dimensions – Nano-ITX form factor (120×120 mm)

The module is expected to be used in connected wearables & trackers, tethered smartwatches, as well as ultra-compact embedded designs.

Open-Q 2100 SOM and Development Kit can be pre-ordered for respectively $75 and $595, with “early adopter units available to approved customers by May 31”. More information can be found on Intrynsic Open-Q2100 SoM and Devkit pages.

Via LinuxGizmos

$100 Xiaomi “90 Minutes Ultra Smart Running Shoes” are Equipped with Intel Curie Module

March 29th, 2017 2 comments

If you’ve ever used a fitness tracker on a wristband, you must know that although it gives an indication of your level of activity, it’s usually not really accurate to count steps. Xiaomi’s “90 Minutes ultra smart running shoes” fixes the issue as the fitness tracker powered by Intel Curie module is placed right inside the shoes.

Most of the information is in Chinese, and I could only find limited specifications for the shoes:

  • Size – 39 to 45
  • Intel Curie Module based on Quark SE SoC with 6-axis accelerometer and gyroscope, Bluetooth 4.0 LE connectivity
  • Battery – Good for 60 days on a charge
  • Material
    • Shoe sole – Rubber
    • Shoe vamp – Fabric + Synthetic leather
    • Shoe insole – Antibacterial removable air cushions

The small device based on Intel Curie module resides inside the sole, stores fitness data such steps, distance covered, speed, (estimated) calories burnt, etc… It’s unclear whether it will be charged wirelessly, or some charging port is available on the shoes.

You’ll allegedly get all that fitness data using Mihome app by connecting over Bluetooth 4.0 LE, and the app will be able to differentiate between walking, running, and riding a bicycle.

Xiaomi’s smart shoes have been selling for 299 RMB ($44) via a Crowdfunding campaign in China, but GeekBuying is already taking pre-orders for the shoes for $99.99 including shipping with delivery scheduled for mid April.

LG Watch Style and Watch Sport Smartwatches Launched with Android Wear 2.0

February 9th, 2017 2 comments

Google released an Android Wear 2.0 developer preview  last May at Google I/O 2016, with the new operating system now supporting standalone apps and keyboard and handwriting input method, featuring a new user interface with material design support, integrating Google Fit & Google Assistant support, and supporting many of the features available in Android 7.0 Nougat like data saver, and emojis. The first two devices running the latest Android Wear 2.0 will be LG Watch Style and Watch Sport smartwatches.

LG Watch Style (Left) and LG Watch Sport (Right) – Click to Enlarge

LG Android Wear 2.0 watches specifications can be found in the table below (Source: XDA)

LG Watch Style LG Watch Sport (W280A)
Display 1.2″ 360×360 P-OLED (Gorilla Glass 3) 1.38″ 480×480 P-OLED (Gorilla Glass 3)
Processor Snapdragon Wear 2100  @ 1.1GHz
RAM 512MB 768MB
Storage 4GB
Connectivity Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2 Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, LTE, NFC, GPS
Sensors Accelerometer, Ambient light sensor, Gyro sensor Heart Rate Sensor (PPG), Gyroscope, Accelerometer, Barometer
Battery 240 mAh 430 mAh
Resistance IP67 IP68
Dimensions 42.3 x 45.7 x 10.79 mm 45.4 x 51.21 x 15.5 mm
Straps Leather, 18mm (User-replaceable) Fixed (Contains hardware?)
Price $249 $349

The watches support Music Streaming with Google Play Music, Android Pay via NFC (Watch Sport only), and Google Fit. A wireless charging dock will be included with the watch as shown in the picture below.

Click to Enlarge

The actual launch will be on February 10, when, if you’re based in the US, you’ll be able to buy  LG Watch Style at Best Buy and the Google Store, and the LG Watch Sport at AT&T, Verizon and the Google Store. These watches will be available at carriers and retailers across Canada, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, UAE and UK in the coming weeks. You’ll find a few more details on LG Watch Sport product page. LG Watch Style page is not up yet.

If you already own an Android Wear device, the following models with get updated to Android Wear 2.0:

  • ASUS ZenWatch 2 & 3
  • Casio Smart Outdoor Watch, Casio PRO TREK Smart
  • Fossil Q Founder, Fossil Q Marshal, Fossil Q Wander
  • Huawei Watch
  • LG G Watch R, LG Watch Urbane & 2nd Edition LTE,
  • Michael Kors Access Smartwatches
  • Moto 360 2nd Gen, Moto 360 for Women, Moto 360 Sport
  • New Balance RunIQ, Nixon Mission, Polar M600 and TAG Heuer Connected.

Omron Project Zero 2.0 is a Thinner Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor & Smartwatch

January 11th, 2017 3 comments

Omron Project Zero BP6000 blood pressure monitor & smartwatch / fitness tracker was unveiled at CES 2016. The device was due to be released at the end of 2016 pending FDA approval, but the launch has now been delayed to spring 2017, and it will be sold under the name “HEARTVUE”. The company has however showcased a new version at CES 2017, for now just called Omron Project Zero 2.0 that has the same functions but is more compact and lightweight.

omron-project-zero-2-0-1-0

Omron Project Zero 2.0 (left) vs Project Zero BP6000 “Heartvue” (right)

The watch will also work with Omron Connect US mobile app, and can record accurate blood pressure, as well as the usual data you’d get from fitness trackers including activity (e.g. steps) and sleep, as well as smartphone notifications. Blood pressure measurement can be activated by the user by pressing a button and raising his/her wrist to the height of the chest. The goal is the same as the first generation watch: to make people who need it measure their blood pressure in a more convenient fashion. The second generation device looks much more like a standard wristwatch as the company reduced the size of the inflatable cuff.

blood-pressure-smartwatchThe new model will also have to go through FDA approval, a time consuming process, and Omron Healthcare intends to release the device in 2018 for around $300. More details about the new model may eventually show up on the company’s Generation Zero page.

Via Nikkei Technology

Mediatek MT2533D is a Bluetooth 4.2 SiP for Smart Headphones & Hands-Free Systems

January 9th, 2017 3 comments

There used to be a time when most products were based on a general purpose MCU or processor that you would interface to over chips like audio codecs, memory chips, flash storage, etc…, but in order to cut costs, application specific SoCs have become quite common over the year, so we’ve had mobile application processors for several years already, but more recently we got “wearables” SoCs and “Smart Home” SoCs, and Mediatek has launched MT2533D “headphone” SiP (System-in-Package) combining a Cortex-M4 MCU, 4MB PSRAM, an audio codec, and a dual mode Bluetooth subsystem.

mt2533-block-diagramMediatek MT2533D specifications:

  • MCU –  ARM Cortex-M4 @ up to 208MHz with 32KB L1 cache, FPU, MPU, AES 128/192/256 crypto engine and TRNG
  • Memory – 160kB SRAMs, 4MB pseudo SRAM
  • Storage – 4MB flash
  • Wireless Connectivity – Bluetooth 4.2 dual mode (classic and low energy)
  • Audio
    • AAC/SBC for Bluetooth audio
    • CVSD/mSBC for Bluetooth speech
    • PCM playback: 8-48kHz sample rate
    • PCM record: 8kHz and 16kHz sample rate
    • Dual-mic noise suppression and acoustic echo cancellation
  • Display
    • Hardware 2D accelerator
    • DBI serial interface up to 320×320 @ 30 fps
    • 1-lane MIPI DSI interface up to 480×320 @ 30 fps
  • Camera – Mediatek camera serial interface up to VGA resolution @ 30 fps with YUV422 or RGB565
  • Other Peripherals
    • USB 2.0
    • 3x UARTs, 3x I2Cs
    • 6x PWMs, 4x SPI masters, SPI slave
    • I2S
    • SDIO v2.0
    • 5-channel ADC
    • Up to 38 GPIOs
  • Package – 172-ball TFBGA with 0.4mm pitch
  • Dimensions – 6.2 x 5.8 x 1.05 mm
  • Ambient temperature – -40°C to 85°C

There are interfaces for small displays and low resolution cameras, as well as a fair amount of I/Os, so it could certainly be use for audio applications outside of simple headphones, not matter how “smart” they may be.

One interesting part is that I did not get the news from MediaTek, but instead MediaTek Labs, Mediatek’s Internet of Things (IoT) developer program, and MT2533 is supported by the MediaTek LinkIt Development Platform for RTOS based on FreeRTOS. That means the SiP will be available to makers, and not only large companies, and development and debugging can be done in ARM Keil μVision, IAR Embedded Workbench and GCC like other LinkIt platforms. A development board or, like Mediatek calls it, an HDK (Hardware Development Kit), based on MT2533D could also be launched in the near future.

However Mediatek Labs only mentioned that MT2533D will be available to device makers in Q1 2017, and the developer documentation and tools will be released in Q3 2017, so we will have to wait for a while before being able to play with the platform. More details can be found on MT2533D product page.

Batteryless, Urine Powered Smart Diapers Notify You When It’s Time to Change Them

December 22nd, 2016 4 comments

One of the downside with current smart wearables is that most need to be recharged quite often, every day, week or month, and we’re still a long way of 10 year battery life offered by typical watches. I’m hopefully that eventually many devices won’t need to be recharged at all as we’ll have made improvements both in terms of power efficiency and energy harvesting using solar, body heat, vibrations and other techniques.

batteryless-urine-powered-smart-diaperTakakuni Douseki, professor at the Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering of Ritsumeikan University, has been working on micro energy harvesting, and his latest “wireless involuntary urination sensor system” notifies the user when it’s time change the diapers without the need of any battery, instead using energy generated by urine and stored in a capacitor in order to transmit the data wirelessly.

The prototype is using a modified baby diaper with a 320x5mm activated carbon piece, and a 1.8mm aluminum electrode placed between the absorbent and a waterproof sheet. The amount of electricity generated increases with the amount of urine, with the current peaking at the time of “release” as shown in the chart below.

urine-power-chart

All that electricity is stored in a capacitor, and when the amount of urine reaches a threshold level (80 cm3), the system transmits an ID signal over a wireless connection up to 5 meters. The system may be commercialized later for example to care of patients suffering from incontinence. The research paper about urine energy harvesting and self-powered diaper can be found on IEEE website.

Via Nikkei Technology