Analysts at ABI Research have determined that wearable wireless device revenues will grow to exceed $6 billion in 2018. Of the four segments tracked, sports, fitness and wellness are the largest, never dropping below 50% share of all device shipments over the forecast period.
“Fitness activity trackers are quickly gaining popularity in the market,” explained ABI Research senior analyst Adarsh Krishnan. “Different from other more single-use or event-centric devices, activity trackers monitor multiple characteristics of the human body including movement, calories burned, body temperature and sleep tracking.”
More specifically, says Krishnan, activity trackers are expected to grow at a 40% CAGR and overtake the 2013 shipment leader, heart rate monitors, in 2017. Meanwhile, the second largest market – home monitoring devices (primarily for the elderly) – is also slated to witness strong growth over the next five years with overall device revenue growing at CAGR exceeding 39%.
“This segment is also anticipated to see the development of cross-over devices such as personal emergency response devices supplemented with activity tracker features,” Krishnan added.
As previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, Atmel is smack in the middle of the rapidly evolving wearable tech revolution. First off, Atmel’s SAM4S and tinyAVR MCUs are inside the Agent smart-watch which recently hit Kickstarter, while the Amulyte pendant is powered by Atmel’s SAM4L, the very same MCU used to regulate smart (wearable) glucose meters.
Meanwhile, Atmel’s versatile SAMA5D3 eMPU lineup is more than capable of powering fitness and outdoor portable electronic equipment for measuring performance (or providing navigation) of various outdoor activities, including running, cycling, hiking and golf.
And why not? Simply put, Atmel offers a wide range of wearable computing platforms designed for ultra-low power consumption – both in active and standby modes. Indeed, Atmel’s EventSystem with SleepWalking allows peripherals to automatically connect with each other even in ultra low power modes, thereby simplifying sensor interfacing and further optimizing power consumption. Meanwhile, “Wakeup” times are minimized, facilitating the use of low-power modes without missing communications data or sensor events.
In addition, Atmel devices integrate numerous features to save circuit board space, such as USB transceivers and embedded termination resistors. Many devices are offered in very small form factor packages, a critical characteristic for engineers and Makers designing wearable tech.
On the software side, the Atmel Software Framework (ASF) includes communications libraries to support external Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios, mesh and point-to-point networking on Atmel’s 802.15.4/Zigbee AT86RF radios as well as a full range of USB drivers. The ASF also contains libraries and driver functions for many popular third-party sensors such as accelerometers, gyroscopes and magnetometers.
In addition, stand-alone Atmel controllers support off-the-shelf capacitive buttons, sliders and wheel (BSW) implementations. Plus, all our microcontrollers can directly manage capacitive buttons via provided software libraries, while the maXTouch series of capacitive touchscreen controllers are capable of managing optically clear touch sensors overlaid on LCD displays.
And last but certainly not least, Atmel’s touch platforms may be tuned to function when moisture is present – which is often a key requirement for wearable applications. Interested in learning more? Check out Atmel’s white paper on wearable tech here.