Wearables – a couple of years ago the term was almost non-existent, and now we see them everywhere, from every manufacturer and for every part of our body! The trend seems to be growing at an unprecedented rate with manufacturers coming out with multiple devices and some are even waiting less than a year to upgrade their offerings. This year Samsung is putting out a new Gear, Gear 2, and Gear Fit and Sony has its SmartWatch 2, Pebble has been around, and the Moto 360 looks like a fine piece of jewelry. Android has announced its Android Wear, an Android based code designed to work using Google Now and the best thing about it is that any manufacturer can use the ‘O/S’ on wearables of their own design.
Consumer Electronics Show (CES) brought the developers out of the woodwork – we have wearables for your finger to monitor blood pressure and blood oxygen, vest-like monitors you wear to monitor multiple body functions, a wearable wireless ambulatory ECG to monitor your heart, wearable bras and even socks! There is now a wearable for just about every part of your body. All of these devices need a ‘brain,’ or SoC and they all need to run on a battery. The smaller wrist or ankle-type devices are especially hard on batteries due to their size. The main problem with the new wearables is that manufacturers have been trying to retrofit microprocessors and microcontrollers developed for smartphones that need a lot of battery power – often only lasting 24-36 hours.
Ineda Systems in Santa Clara, CA, formed in 2010, just announced that an investors group, including both Samsung and Qualcomm, have just agreed to fund them $17 million. They are the designer and developer of the industry’s first Wearable Processor Unit – Dhanush WPUâ„¢. It is a low-power, high-performance SoC targeting the emerging wearable technology market and designed to reduce power needs by 10 times over today’s computer-based chips and enables: 30 day+ battery life – a Sleek Design – they are always Connected – always-on Speech Recognition – always-on Sensor Analysis – and always-on Contextual Computing.
The Dhanush WPU has four product tiers – Advanced, Optima, Micro and Nano – and each chip is designed for specific applications. The chips are based on its Hierarchical Computing Architecture, which is a tiered multi-CPU design. The different CPUs can each be run individually or work together at their specifically assigned tasks, and according to the company, they plan on having them available later this year.
This should create a dynamic change in the way we use wearables in the near future – 30 days on one charge…I think we could all get used to that battery life.