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Creating visually appealing interfaces for space- and power-constrained wearables

Predicting the future in the technology sector is nearly impossible. If we had asked consumers in 2008 what personal devices would be like by 2018, it is doubtful that people would have considered a watch that not only tells the time but pays your bills, tracks your workout, senses your heartbeat, shows your SMS messages, includes GPS navigation and responds to voice-based instructions – and looks good on your wrist!

But that’s exactly what new and emerging wearable applications are offering.

The way we interact with these increasingly important and increasingly complex devices makes the difference between product success or failure. That’s why touch operation and intuitive graphics are key elements of any successful wearable device. However, touch-enabled graphics displays are notorious for draining batteries quickly. This, in turn, impacts convenience as the wearable has to be recharged several times per day.

The problem is compounded as modern wearables have limited space for a battery. While simple devices can connect to sophisticated smartphones or tablets, smart watches are marketed as stand-alone products. As a result, they need an appealing, low power HMI of their own.

Toshiba’s latest power-efficient ApP Lite™ application processors allow designers to implement intuitive (and visually impressive) HMIs in wearables while ensuring prolonged battery life. These processors take a wholly different approach to the way that displays operate by dividing screen graphics into elements and then only refreshing those elements that need to change. This substantially reduces processing power overhead.

Toshiba’s TZ1200 processor, for example, is based on a high-performance ARM® Cortex®-M4F processor that operates at up to 120MHz. Intelligent on-board power management means that the processor requires just 70μA per MHz in active mode – allowing a smart watch with a 350mAh battery to last a month between charges.

The processor incorporates highly advanced drawing, transformation and graphics engines that simplify the rendering of complex graphics without loading the system CPU. This approach makes complex HMI features such as clocks and dials, 2D and 3D animation, rotation, fade-in and fade-out and scaling effects possible while retaining the low-power operation essential to sophisticated wearables.

To learn more about implementing sophisticated and visually impressive HMIs in power- and space-constrained devices, you can watch this video or download Toshiba’s ApP Lite white paper:

Click here to learn more about the high performance, low power, TZ1200 wearable graphics solution

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·Before creating and producing designs and using, customers must also refer to and comply with the latest versions of all relevant TOSHIBA information and the instructions for the application that Product will be used with or for.