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Sports Innovated: Making wearable electronics to keep pace with demands of fitness performance monitoring

Sports Innovated: Making wearable electronics to keep pace with demands of fitness performance monitoring

The role that technology can play in relation to improving our health and wellbeing is more pronounced now than it has ever been before - and, over the coming years, wearable technology is set to contribute to this still further. Not only will it help improve the quality of life for patients suffering with medical conditions, but it will also allow us to take steps improve our health and thereby reduce the chances of such conditions arising.

The advent of smartwatch technology is already having a huge influence on how sports performance analysis, enabling numerous different physical parameters to be measured in a highly convenient manner. This means that the user has access to reams of data through which they can gage how their fitness is improving, while engaged in a wide range of different sporting activities.
 

There are a number of critical elements that are necessary for engineers to address when developing a performance monitoring watch. Among these are:

  • A low profile, lightweight design that is comfortable for the wearer and will not in any way inhibit their enjoyment of the sporting activity they are undertaking (or stop them from doing it to the best of their ability)
  • In line with this first point, an ultra-thin organic LED display is advisable
  • A range of different sensors (based on optical, magnetic and accelerometer sensing technologies) should be encompassed, to cover the monitoring of a broad scope of fitness parameters
  • Where possible it is advisable that MEMS sensors are used - in order to save space (and lower the power budget)
  • A highly power efficient application processor, that offers an extensive feature set while supporting battery operation, should be specified
  • Low power wireless connectivity should be incorporated, to allow performance data to be transferred to the user’s smartphone or tablet for more detailed examination (or to share with others)
  • An effective wireless charging mechanism will also be needed


Toshiba has introduced a reference design for smartwatch development where all the necessary attributes needed for sports performance monitoring have been incorporated. This will help manufacturers to bring innovative wearable technology to market at a much faster rate. To learn more about the Toshiba reference design visit:

To learn more about how to build a sport watch, simply click here

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