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Posts Tagged ‘smartwatch’

E-ink Demonstrated a Foldable E-Book Prototype, Color-Changing Clothes, Smartcards and More at Display Week 2017

June 12th, 2017 No comments

E-ink is known with their e-paper technology with the same name, that is used in e-book readers and some signage applications, but the company demonstrated some  their prototypes and customer’s products at SID’s Display Week in Los Angeles last month, with some capabilities I had not seen before.

Click to Enlarge

Some of the notable solutions and products include:

  • 10.2″ foldable e-book reader prototype based on the company’s flexible Carta Mobius plastic display with 220 ppi
  • A dress that can change colors using E-ink Prism film that was made for a fashion exhibition in Japan.
  • A 42″ active matrix E-ink digital signage display
  • Various examples of products based on E-ink such as smartwaches (e.g. Sony FES Watch U), e-book readers, flexible displays…
  • NFC Smartcard with E-ink display that has the same thickness as normal smartcard, but can be used to display account balance, price of last purchased item, etc…
  • QuirkLogic Quilla interactive and connected 42″ E-ink whiteboard / ewriter.

You see all those in the video shot by Charbax embedded below.

Via ARMDevices.net

Smartwatch for the Blind – Dot Watch Supports Braille Language, Sync Data over Bluetooth

May 8th, 2017 5 comments

A South Korean company has created Dot smartwatch specifically designed for the blinds and visually impaired, as it supports Braille language through 24 dots that move up or down depending on the data to show. Like other smartwatches, it will also pair with a smartphone, and received notifications over Bluetooth to Android and iOS smartphones.

Dot watch specifications:

  • Wireless MCU – 32-bit ARM Cortex M4F + Cortex M0 microcontroller
  • “Display” – 4 Dot Cells (24 Dots) made of 6000 series silver aluminum
  • Connectivity – Bluetooth LE 4.2
  • Misc – 24 touch sensors, shaft horizontal vibration motor, a crown, two buttons
  • Battery – 400mAh li-polymer battery good for a typical 7 days on a charge
  • Dimensions – Watch: 43mm x 12.5mm; Leather band – S size: 22x220mm; M size: 22x250mm; L size: 22x290mm
  • Weight – 27g

This is all made possible through the company’s dot rotor technology that allows to move the little dots up and down. Time display is easy as it uses the four dot cells to display the number for hours and minutes: one dot, two dots, three dots and four dots = 12: 34. When people get notifications, the watch vibrates, and then the message is displayed in Braille via the dots. Since there are only four dot cells, I assume the watch will detect which ones you are already read with its touch sensor, and move to the next “characters” for the rest of the message.

The watch currently supports Korean and English Braille languages, but Japanese, Arabic, French, German, Italian, Polish, Swedish, Spanish, Portuguese, Danish, Dutch and Chinese versions are coming soon. The dot rotor would be great for some kind of Braille e-Reader, and the company is working on Dot Pad to do exactly that to be released in 2019. I’m also expecting the technology to be used in other applications where you may have to show / hide tiny physical buttons depending on context.

The Dot Watch has started shipping recently, and is available for pre-order for $290. You’ll find more details on Dot website (which would deserve some navigation improvements).

Via Softei

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

Meet Body Heat Powered MATRIX PowerWatch, The Activity Tracker You Never Need to Charge (Crowdfunding)

November 15th, 2016 4 comments

There are currently several issues with wearables that makes it sub-optimal devices, from displays that can’t be always-on, to unreliable sensors, and in my experience pretty poor reliability, as I’ve managed to go through 4 fitness trackers / smartwatches in a year. Another issue is that contrary to typical watches lasting 10 years with a coin cell battery, most wearables require to be charge every few days, weeks, with the very best devices being chargers every few months. MATRIX PowerWatch promises to solve latter, as you will never need to ever charge it since it charges itself by harvesting energy using your body heat.

matrix-powerwatchThe company promotes it as a smartwatch, but it’s closer to an activity tracker, since you can’t keep the Bluetooth LE connection all the time in order to receive notifications to your smartphone. It’s basically used to show time, track your activity and sleep patterns, and you can synchronize the data with your iOS or Android phone when you need it. It does not have to be done often, as the watch can keep up to one year of data. The watch is water-resistant up to 50 meters, and controlled by two buttons (no touchscreen). One extra advantage of the heat body charging mechanism is that it will also allow the watch to accurately track the amount of calories burned, while all other wearables are just making informed guesses. If you don’t wear the watch, a backup battery takes care of power, the watch goes to sleep keeping track of time.


So how does it convert body heat into energy? The company explains:

Our thermoelectric technology converts heat to electric power. It is based on the Seebeck effect discovered in 1821. In the absence of an applied voltage gradient V, electric current, J, can still be generated if there is a temperature gradient, T: . A thermoelectric material must have a low thermal conductivity and high electrical conductivity to function efficiently. NASA has used this technology to power the Voyager spacecraft and Curiosity, the mars rover.

A thermoelectric module is composed of many tiny semiconductor “legs” that when added together create a large voltage.

Some obvious concerns about the technology is whether it will work as advertised in all conditions. It relies on temperature delta, so what happens when the ambient temperature is close to body temperature, would the watch just go into sleep mode in that case, relying on the backup battery? The comments are also interesting, where we learn the display is apparently a black & white LCD display, and not a low power e-Paper display, and some people are starting to ask features like a color display, GPS support, and BT notifications which may not be a realistic goal… But other aspects of the project also inspire more confidence, as they have allegedly tested 1,000 working prototypes, and Arrow Electronics is involved in the manufacturing of the project.

The watch was launched on Indiegogo yesterday, and the project has already surpassed its $100,000 crowdfunding campaign. If you’ll like to get involved you can still go with an super early bird pledge of $119 for the PowerWatch with a nylon strap. Other rewards are just for various  quantities up to 100. Shipping is free to the US, adds $15 to the rest of the world, and delivery is scheduled for July or September 2017 depending on the rewards.

Via Liliputing and CNET

Samsung Starts Mass-Production of Exynos 7 Dual (7270) Processor used in Galaxy Gear S3 Smartwatch

October 11th, 2016 4 comments

Samsung has just issued a press release announcing the Korean company had just started mass-production of the first SoC for Wearables using 14-nm FinFET process with their Exynos 7 Dual (7270) dual Cortex A53 processor. Exynos 7270 is also said to be the first such SoC to embed full connectivity and LTE modem integration.

samsung-exynos-7-dualExynos 7270 specifications:

  • CPU – Dual-core ARM CortexA53 processor  @ up to 1.0 GHz
  • GPU – ARM Mali-T720
  • Memory – LPDDR3 support
  • Storage – eMMC 5.0, SD card interfaces
  • Display – Up to 960×540 (qHD) resolution
  • Camera – Up to 5MP pixel sensor support
  • Multimedia – HD ([email protected]) video with HEVC, H.264, VP8 Codec
  • LTE Modem – LTE Category 4 non-CA
  • Connectivity – WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2, FM Radio
  • GNSS – GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou
  • PMIC – Integrated in SiP-ePoP package
  • Package – SiP-ePoP, 10x10mm (SiP: System-in-Package; ePoP: embedded Package-on-Package)

The SoC will be packaged inside a SiP-ePOP package with DRAM, eMMC, and a power management IC, which will allow for a much smaller board, and more space for the battery for example, which combined with the more power efficient 14-nm FinFET process should allow for longer battery life for wearables.

galaxy-gear-s3

Samsung Galaxy Gear S3 Running Tizen OS on Exynos 7 Dual Processor

Samsung can also provide a reference platform with display, NFC, audio codec, diverse sensors and a sensor hub to help companies getting started with their product design.

More information can be found on Exynos 7 Dual product page.

Fitbit Introduces Charge 2 and Flex 2 Fitness Trackers

August 30th, 2016 No comments

My first activity tracker, Vidonn X5, worked reasonably well and lasted for over a year, but the subsequent models I tried were all mostly disasters, especially as they added some features like a heart rate monitor that did not work reliably, and worse, their lifetime was poor, lasting only a few days to a few weeks before stopping working. My Xiaomi Mi Band 2 died last week-end, two days after a firmware update which decreased battery life to less than a day, and now refuses to charge. While the HRM was utterly useless, it did count steps fairly accurately, and battery life was good. Sadly, it would only last about two months. So at this stage, it might be worth spending more for a fitness tracker, and Fitbit has unveiled two new models with Charge 2 and Flex 2.

Fitbit Charge 2

Fitbit Charge 2

Fitbit Charge 2 includes a 1.5″ OLED touchscreen display, and an heart rate monitor. It also supports step counting and sleep tracking, GPS tracking via your phone, and notifications for calls, SMS, and so on. Battery life is said to be around 5 days per charge.

Fitbit Flex 2 does not come with a display, but instead features notification lights. It has a thinner design, and is suitable for swimming with better waterproofness (up to 50 meters), and swim tracking. Phone notifications are supported via the 5 LEDs, and a vibration motor. Battery is also said to last a mere 5 days between charges.

 

Fitbit Flex 2

Fitbit Flex 2

You can remove Flex 2 tracker, and use it in the company’s bands, bangles and pendants. Both products support Fitbit app for Android and iOS.

Fitbit Charge 2 sells for $149.99, while Fitbit Flex 2 goes for $99.99.

Via Liliputing.

Categories: Android, Hardware Tags: ble, fitbit, smartwatch, wearables

TW68 Smart Bracelet Measures Blood Pressure and Heart Rate for $22 and Up

August 8th, 2016 5 comments

Some people may need to frequently measure their blood pressure because of their health condition, but it’s often a cumbersome experience, so they may get lazy, and not do it as often as needed. TW68 smart bracelet should make this easy, as it’s your typical fitness tracker with an heart rate monitor, but adding the capability to also measure blood pressure. It’s also very cheap, and I first found it on DealExtreme where it sells for just $24.

TW68TW68 specifications:

  • MCU – Nordic Semi NRF51822 ARM Cortex M0 micro-controller with 2.4 GHz radio
  • Data Storage – 7 days detailed data, 23 days total data
  • Connectivity – Bluetooth 4.0 LE
  • Display – 0.49″ OLED display
  • Sensors –  PixArt-PAH8001EI blood pressure sensor; 6-axis Invensense-MPU6500 accelerometer and gyroscope
  • Function Health tracker: Blood pressure measurement, Heart rate monitor, Pedometer, Sleep tracker
  • Other functions: Call/Message notification, Fall reminder, Social sharing, Time, Alarm clock
  • Misc – Vibrator, touch button
  • Battery – 60 mAh LiPo battery good for 7 to 15 days; charge time: around 1h30; magnetic charging
  • Dimensions – Watch face: 41.1 x 18.5 x 11.9mm; silicon strap: 240 x 20.8 x 11.9mm
  • Weight – 25 grams
  • IP Rating – IP65 (waterproof while washing hands)

The smartband is sold with its custom USB charging cable, and a user’s manual. The provided app is compatible with Android 4.4+ and iOS 7.1+ smartphones. I’ve been told that the blood pressure data is not shown directly on the watch, so you’ll need to initiate and read the measurement with your Android smartphone or iPhone, which is not as convenient as it could be.

Blood_Pressure_Monitor_Android

This all still looks pretty good, but based on my disappointing experiences with optical heart rate monitors on most Chinese smartwatches and trackers, except possibly with Energympro EP-SH09 (not perfect but usable), I have serious doubts about the heart rate monitor accuracy, let alone the blood pressure claims.  If you look at the product description on DX, the manufacturer claims the measurements are very close to professional equipments… But the embedded Pixart “blood pressure sensor” is actually an heart rate monitor, and the sensor manufacturer only claims heart rate capabilities, nothing about blood pressure.

Finally, if you look at the upcoming and FDA approved Omron BP6000 professional blood pressure watch it is designed with a small motor that will gently squeeze your wrist while taking measurements, something that TW68 won’t do. So it’s most likely a toy than anything else. The demo from Tinydeal below shows the accessories and some of the capabilities of the bracelet, except of course HRM and BP…

If you’d still like to play with it, beside DX, you can also buy it on GeekBuying, Aliexpress, Amazon US and Tinydeal for $22 to $30 shipped.