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Posts Tagged ‘wearables’
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Ticwatch S / E Android Wear Smartwatches are Powered by Mediatek MT2601 SoC

February 9th, 2018 2 comments

Android Wear is normally used in products from larger companies such as Huawei, LG, or ASUS. In the past, some smaller companies claimed to have designed their own Android Wear smastrwatch  with approval from Google, but eventually their products went nowhere, even though one was listed on some sellers as a pre-order.

But last summer, Mobvoi launched a Kickstarter campaign for their Ticwatch S & E smartwatches powered by Android Wear, and they managed to raise over $3 millions dollars from close to 20,000 backers with pledges starting at $99. The watches can now be purchased online for $127.99 and up from sites like Amazon, GeekBuying, GearBest, or directly from Mobvoi store.

Ticwatch S (Sports)

Ticwatch S (Sport) and E (Express) share many of the same features, but Ticwatch E is a bit lighter and more elegant, while Ticwatch S comes with a breathable band design with an integrated GPS antenna.

Specifications:

  • SoC – Mediatek MT2601 dual core ARM Cortex A7 @ 1.2GHz with ARM Mali-400 MP GPU
  • System Memory – 512MB RAM
  • Storage – 4GB flash
  • Display – 1.4″ OLED round multi-touch display with 400×400 resolution; anti-scratch glass
  • Audio – Microphone and speaker
  • Connectivity – 802.11b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1 LE
  • Localization – GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, Beidou
  • Sensors – Heart rate monitor, proximity sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope, e-Compass
  • S model only – GPS integrated watch band, watch bezel for superior display
  • Misc – Vibrator, fuel gauge
  • Battery
    • 300 mAh, usually good for over 48 hours depending on usage
    • Magnetic connectiong pin charging
  • Dimensions
    • S model – 45mm diameter, 13mm thick
    • E model – 44mm diameter, 13.55mm thick
  • Weight – S model: 45.5 grams; E model: 41.5 grams
  • IP rating – IP67

Ticwatch E (Espress)

Both watches run Android Wear 2.0, and are compatible with smartphones running Android 4.3 / iOS 8.0 or greater. We can confirm Android Wear is indeed the operating system used as the watches are listed on Android.com website.

Since the devices have been around for a while, we have user reviews on Amazon, which are mixed, but still over 70% of users are satisfied (5 and 4 stars reviews). Complaints are mostly related to battery life (8 to 12 hours), but some also reported problems with display (dead pixel, vertical black line…), or that it will stop working after a few weeks. There are also a few full reviews on the web such as the one embedded below.

SKIIN Smart Underwears Support Energous’ WattUp Near, Mid, and Far-Field Wireless Charging

January 9th, 2018 1 comment

Near-field wireless charging has been around for several years, but for wireless charging to become really disruptive it needs to work at a distance, and Energous has been working on mid and far-field technology with their WattUp transmissive to charge devices respectively on the desk (mid-field) or in the room (far-field).

You need to have compatible devices to work with the technology, and wearables are a prime target, but I was expecting fitness trackers or smartwatches to embed the technology at first, but instead one of the first WattUp compatible wearables are smart underwears from SKIIN.

The module found in SKIIN underwears and bras have many of the same features as your typical fitness tracker, and some extras:

  • Sensors
    • ECG sensors for Heart Rate monitoring (HRM)
    • Accelerometer and Gyroscope to measure motion & posture
    • BIA (Bioelectrical impedance analysis) to monitor water intake levels and how your sweat affects your hydration, as well as you body fat levels
    • Knitted Strain Gauge to understand how your breathing patterns fluctuate throughout the day.
    • On-board temperature chip that can detect changes in your skin with 0.5 degree accuracy.
  • Connectivity – Bluetooth LE with 5 meters range
  • Battery – Good for 24 hours after a 5 hours charge
  • Dimensions – 45 x 25 mm

The module is said to run Body OS, and can synchronize with Android or iOS smartphone using the upcoming SKIIN mobile app. The module will ship with a WattUp near-field transmitter, but the technology inside can also support future WattUp Mid Field and Far Field transmitters, meaning eventually you’ll be able to throw your underwear on the bed or the laundry bag, and they will charge wirelessly.

Women and men’s smart underwear and smart bra can be pre-ordered on SKIIN website for $279 and up with shipping scheduled for this summer.

Energous technology is also currently being showcased at CES 2018 on hearing aids from Delight and SK Telesys that are planned to launch in H2 2018 in Asia first, and then the US. WattUp relies on Dialog Semi conductor solutions which has announced the DA4100 WattUp wireless power transmitter SoC and DA2200/DA2210 RF-to-DC receiver ICs that will enabled mid-field wireless charging.

DA4100 Block Diagram

OKW Body Case is an IP65/IP67 Enclosure for Wearables & IoT Projects

January 5th, 2018 6 comments

You may have worked on a battery powered wearable or IoT projects, and the hardware and software are mostly ready, but you’ve yet to find a good way to package it to make it easily wearable, and protect it from the elements.

OKW body case could be one way, as it can be used around your arm like a wrist watch, as a key ring attachment, clipped to your trousers or T-shirt, carried  around your neck.

The case has been moulded in ASA plastic with a high UV protection, includes a TPV sealing ring to ensure IP65/IP67 water & dust proofness, and is assembled with four stainless stell screws using a Torx drive. The company provides two sizes (Large: 55 x 46 x 17 mm, or Medium: 50 x 41 x 16 mm) and claims easy operation with the help of push buttons or touchscreens, although I’d assume water / dust resistance goes out of the window if any of those two are used.

The top part can be made with or without recessed surface for the protection of a label, or membrane keyboard. Optional accessories include a wrist strap, fastening kit such as a clip or eyelet, and others. Some potential applications could be CO gas monitor, Dr Call button, eEntry access and security controls,a GPS tracking system, and more.

Price starts at 7.65 GBP (~$10.40) for the M case, which you can buy through the product page together with optional accessories. If you’d rather get another design or something a bit bigger, you an also check their older Minitec and Ergo-case.

Thanks to theguyuk for the tip.

Categories: Hardware, Video Tags: diy, IoT, okw, wearables

Garmin Launches Vivofit 4 Activity Tracker with One Year Battery Life

December 28th, 2017 2 comments

I have not spent much time covering wearables like smartwatches and fitness trackers this year, mostly because I find they have too many flaws at this stage. Back in 2016, I found many had a short life time, they would just stop working after a few weeks or months, even the fairly popular Xiaomi Mi Band 2 only lasted 2 months after an ill-fated firmware upgrade. In my case, I also found activity / fitness trackers did not have the motivating factor I thought they’d have, so I don’t think I exercise more or less with one. Finally, another annoyance is that most need to be charged every couple of days or weeks, and I’m frequently leaving the one I’m still using (SH09) run out of battery, losing recent data.

The best solution to address the latter issue would be some type of energy harvesting, so that we would never need to charge the device ever again. It does exist thanks to Matrix PowerWatch harvesting energy from your body heat, but it can only be used for the simplest of devices, and implementation into more devices in uncertain in the near future. Another promising technology that will become available later this year thank to companies such as PowerCast or Energous are mid-field (1 meter / desk) and far-field (several meters / room) wireless transmitters/chargers, which should be good enough to keep your compatible wearables and other accessories charged at all times.

But while waiting for those new developments to come to market, we have to find the efficient devices with long battery life, and one of the them is the just released Garmin Vivofit 4 activity tracker that promises over one year of battery life.

Key features / specifications:

  • Display – 11x11mm sunlight-visible, transflective, 8-color display with 88×88 resolution
  • Memory – 4 weeks of activity data
  • Connectivity – Bluetooth Smart and ANT+
  • Sensors – Accelerometer
  • Battery – 2x SR43 user-replaceable batteries good for about a 1 year
  • Strap dimensions –  19 mm (width) x 9.4 mm (thickness);  Circumference (small/medium): 122-188 mm | (large): 148-215 mm
  • Weight – ~25 g
  • Water rating – Swim

The device supports the usual clock/alarm/timer/stopwatch functions, as well as activity tracking features such as step counter, estimated distance and calories burned, and sleep monitoring. It can pair with iOS or Android smartphones, and is compatible with Garmin Connect Mobile.

As a swim- and shower-safe device, Vivofit 4 can be worn at all times, and long battery life is achieved thanks to periodic synchronization, instead of continuous synchronization.

Vivofit 4 can be purchased for $79.99 on Amazon. Visit the product page for further details.

Via Liliputing

Categories: Android, Hardware Tags: ant, ble, bluetooth, garmin, wearables

TDK CeraCharge Solid State Battery-in-a-Chip is Designed for IoT & Wearables

December 19th, 2017 5 comments

We’ve recently seen solid state batteries are prone to dislodge current Lithium Ion battery technology as they are safer, support higher energy density, and faster charging. Such batteries are expected to be seen in car in the first part of the next decade, in smartphones starting possibly in 2019, but TDK has just announced their own CeraCharge rechargeable solid state SMD battery with mass production scheduled to start in April 2018.

TDK CeraCharge battery-in-a-chip will come in compact EIA 1812 package (4.5 x 3.2 x 1.1 mm), offer a capacity of 100 µAh at a rated voltage of 1.4 V, and can be recharged up to 1000 times. Potential applications include IoT devices, real-time clocks, Bluetooth beacons, and systems for energy harvesting.

The battery – which will look very similar to an SMD capacitor – does not include liquid electrolyte, and instead uses a solid ceramic element as electrolyte which rules out any risk of fire, explosion, or leakage. The solution works in a wide temperature range from -20 °C to +80 °C making it suitable for outdoor use such as weather stations, and multiple CeraCharge components can be connected in series and parallel to increase capacity and voltage.

TDK CeraCharge is currently sampling with mass production of the CeraCharge 1812 scheduled for Spring 2018, but the company is also working on even smaller CeraCharge types in other sizes such as EIA 0603 (1.6 mm × 0.8 mm) and with other capacities in order to cover an even wider range of applications. More details can be found in these presentation slides.

Via Nikkei Technology

STMicro Introduces Ultra-efficient STM32L4+ Series MCUs with Better Performance, Chrom-GRC Graphics Controller

November 16th, 2017 3 comments

STMicroelectronics has announced an upgrade to their STM32L4 series Cortex-M4 micro-controllers with STM32L4+ series upping the maximum frequency from 80 MHz to 120 MHz delivering up to 150 DMIPS (233 ULPMark-CP) , and ultra low power consumption as long as 33 nA in shutdown mode without RTC.

The new family also adds Chrom-GRC graphics controller (GFXMMU) that can handle both circular and square TFT LCD displays together with a MIPI DSI interface and displayer controller, making it ideal for wearables, Chrom-ART 2D accelerator for better graphics performance, two Octo SPI interfaces, and more memory (640KB max) and storage (up to 2MB flash).

STM32L4+ Block Diagram (Parts in Red Show New/Updated Features vs STM32L4)

If you want to know all differences between STM32L4 and STM32L4+, and/or learn how to use peripherals, STMicro has setup a nice free STM32L4+ online training page, which allow you to do just that either by downloading PDF documents, or following e-Presentations with slides and audio.

STM32L4+ appears to have the same power modes as STM32L4, except that it can turn SRAM3 on or off in STOP 2 mode.

Click to Enlarge

STM32L4+ series are available in different lines: STM32L4R5/S5, STM32L4R7/S7 (with TFT interface) and STM32L4R9/S9 (with MIPI‐DSI and with TFT interface) with details provided in the table below.

STM32L4+ series are software compatible with STM32L4 series, and mostly (but not entirely) pin-to-pin compatible.  Developers can use the same STM32 tools such as ST-Link and STM32CubeL4 embedded software, and three development board have been launched to get started with the new MCUs:

  • For headless development – NUCLEO-L4R5ZI STM32 Nucleo-144 development board with STM32L4R5ZI MCU. Supports Arduino, ST Zio and morpho connectivity ($19)

  • For wearables with round display – 32L4R9IDISCOVERY Discovery kit with STM32L4R9AI MCU ($89)

  • More complete kit with both a 4.3″ LCD TFT display and a 1.2″ MIPI DSI round LCD display – STM32L4R9I-EVAL Evaluation board with STM32L4R9AI MCU ($320)

STMicro STM32L4+ devices are already in production with price starting at $6.52 for orders of 10,000 pieces. Visit the product page for more information.

Via Time4EE

Panasonic Showcases Flexible Batteries with Wireless Charging System

November 2nd, 2017 2 comments

Flexible batteries such as PowerStream lithium polymer batteries can be integrated into new application such as smartcards, and could help wearables have longer battery life by adding batteries into clothes, wristbands or chestbands for example.

You’d still need to charge them however, and in some cases adding a USB port (micro USB or type C) may negate the benefit of having a thin flexible battery, but Panasonic has a solution as the company added wireless charging capability to their flexible batteries.

The solutions showcased at Ceatec Japan 2017 on October 3-6, 2017 were flexible lithium-ion rechargeable batteries with 0.45mm thickness, and 18, 42 and 65mAh capacity. Battery voltage is 3.8V, charging voltage 4.35V, and the batteries can be bend up to a radius of 25 mm, and twisted by up 25°.

Such batteries are meant to be attached to human body and clothes for medical and health management applications, or embedded into cards. The battery has not been used into products yet, but sample are available. No information was provided with regards to pricing and general availability.

Via Nikkei Technology

SAMA5D2 Based SiPs Combine ARM Cortex-A5 Processor With Up to 128MB DDR2

October 31st, 2017 6 comments

Atmel SAMA5D2 ARM Cortex-A5 processor was released about two years ago with extended temperature range and lower power consumption compared to previous SAMAD5 processors, with the new SoC still targeting industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), wearables and point of sale applications.

In recent years, we’ve seen companies packing main components into systems-in-package (SiP) with products such as Octavo Systems OSD3358 and Espressif Systems ESP32-PICO-D4 with integrate an existing processor with memory, storage, and/or PMIC. Microchip (previously Atmel) has now done the same for their SAMA5D2 processors with SiPs combining the Cortex A5 SoC with DDR2 memory.

Click to Enlarge

Four SAMA5D2 SiPs have been launched:

  • ATSAMA5D225C-D1M based on ATSAMA5D22C MPU with extra SD/SDIO, QSPI, FLEXCOMs (2x), I2S, and timers (2x) and:
    • 128 Mb (16 MB) DDR2 DRAM
    • 90 Peripheral I/Os
    • 196 BGA Package
    • Designed for RTOS/bare metal development
  • ATSAMA5D27C-D5M based on ATSAMA5D27C MPU with:
    • 512 Mb (64 MB) DDR2 DRAM
    • 128 Peripheral I/Os
    • 289 BGA Package
    • Designed for small Linux OS applications
  • ATSAMA5D27C-D1G based on ATSAMA5D27C MPU with
    • 1 Gb (128 MB) DDR2 DRAM
    • 128 Peripheral I/Os
    • 289 BGA Package
    • Designed for large Linux OS applications
  • ATSAMA5D28C-D1G based on ATSAMA5D28C MPU with:
    • 1 Gb (128 MB) DDR2 DRAM
    • 128 Peripheral I/Os
    • 289 BGA Package
    • PCI-pre-certified security
    • Designed for large Linux OS applications

atsama5d27-som1-ek1 – Click to Enlarge

Microchip provides software and hardware development tools for the SiP including ATSAMA5D27-SOM1-EK1 is a fast prototyping and evaluation platform together with SAMA5D27-SOM1. The kit’s main features include:

  • ATSAMA5D27-SOM1 module:
      • SiP – Microchip ATSAMA5D27C-D1G SiP with Cortex-A5 MPU @ 500 MHz, 128 MB DDR2 DRAM
    • Storage
      • Microchip SST26VF064B-104I/MF 64Mb Serial Quad I/O (QSPI) flash memory for boot code (Linux kernel or RTOS)
      • Microchip 24AA02E48T-I/OT 2Kb Serial EEPROM with EUI-48 Note Identity for the Ethernet MAC address
    • Connectivity – Microchip KSZ8081RNAIA 10Base-T/100Base-TX Ethernet PHY for wired Ethernet connection
    • Power Management – Microchip MIC2800-G4JYML Power Management IC (PMIC) providing 3 power rails for the CPU, VDD I/O and the SDRAM
  • External Storage – 1x standard SD card interface, 1x microSD card interface
  • onnectivity – 10/100M Ethernet (RJ45 connector)
  • Display I/F – LCD RGB 24-bit interface (50-pin FPC connector)
  • Camera I/F – 12-bit camera interface (2×15 male connector)
  • USB – 1x USB host, 1x USB device, 1x USB HSIC (jumper not populated)
  • Expansion – 1x CAN interface ATA6561, 1x PMOD connector, 2x mikroBUS connector
  • Debugging – 1x JLINK-OB and JLINK-CDC, x1 JTAG interface
  • Security – 1x ATECC508 CryptoAuthentication device  (populated but not provisioned), 1x tamper connector
  • Misc – 1x RGB LED, 4x push button switches
  • Power Supply – From USB A and USB JLINK-OB; SuperCap for power saving

SAMA5D2-based SiPs are available now starting at $9.03 per unit for 5K orders, and the development kit is sold for $245. More details, including some documentation, can be found via the product page.