LG's journey into the smartwatch market has had its high and low points. Both the LG G Watch R and the LG Watch Urbane (currently on sale) have received overall positive reviews from consumers, yet at the same time, LG dropped the ball with the LG Watch Urbane Second Edition which had to be indefinitely delayed last November due to hardware issues. Either way, LG is deeply involved in today's smartwatch market, with various other companies – including Apple – relying on the Korean tech giant for the manufacture of numerous components. This leads us to LG Innotek and the company's recent announcement of a new heart rate sensor designed for wearables, which boasts a thinner profile and lower energy requirements.
One of the main features expected from premium smartwatches today is a wide array of biometric sensors, which usually includes a reliable heart rate monitor. LG is well aware of this and for this reason, LG Innotek developed a new super-slim heart rate sensor with higher accuracy and lower power consumptions than the current sensors. The company's latest creation comprises a photo diode, a semiconductor chip, and LEDs in a single module measuring only 1 millimeter in thickness. This is a very important characteristic given the fact that wearables need to be thin, light, and comfortable to use. The company was able to achieve this thin profile by using a manufacturing technology which allows them to embed a semiconductor chip into the printed circuit board (PCB).
Aside from the obvious benefits provided by a smaller footprint, the new LG sensor is reportedly more energy efficient too. This is yet another key element for wearables since the battery life of smartwatches tends to dictate their market success or failure. Last but certainly not least, the new sensor is reportedly 30% more accurate than existing modules, bringing the error range from 8 beats per minute down to 5 bpm during exercise, and down to 2 bpm when idling.
As yet there's no word on when the new heart rate sensor will be commercially available, or which future smartwatches will utilize it.