Tag Archives: accelerometers

Report: Wearable sensor market to grow sevenfold in 5 years

The market for sensors used in wearable technology is set to grow sevenfold over the next five years, according to IHS Technology. The new report, entitled “MEMS & Sensors for Wearables Report – 2014,” notes fitness and health monitoring features as well as improved user interfaces among key drivers fueling this growth.


The research firm stated the worldwide market for sensors in wearables will expand to 466 million units in 2019, up from 67 million in 2013, while shipments of sensors will climb much more quickly than the market for the wearable devices themselves. As the report reveals, wearable devices are expected to increase to 135 million units in 2019, just shy of three times the total of 50 million in 2013.

“Wearables are a hotbed for sensors, with market growth driven by the increasing number of these components in each product sold,” explained Jeremie Bouchaud, IHS Technology Senior Principal Analyst. “The main factor propelling this phenomenon is a transition in market share away from simple products like pedometers and toward more sophisticated multipurpose devices such as smartwatches and smartglasses. Instead of using a single sensor like the simpler devices, the more complex products employ numerous components for health and activity monitoring, as well as for their more advanced user interfaces.”

This comes as great news for makers of motion sensors like gyroscopes and accelerometers, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), sensors driving user interfaces, and health and environmental sensors, In fact, IHS predicted the average wearable device shipped in 2019 to encompass 4.1 sensor elements, a rise from just 1.4 in 2013.

IHS shared that smartphones brands are becoming increasingly aware that wearables are a better platform for some types of sensors than mobile handsets; in addition, the firm expects components such as humidity and pulse sensors to move from handsets to wearable devices.

“The use of these types of sensors reflects consumer preferences that are propelling the growth of the wearables market,” Bouchaud said. “Users want health and fitness monitoring, and they want wearable devices that act as extensions of their smartphones. However, there’s no real demand from consumers for environmental sensors. Instead, the rising adoption of environmental sensors such as humidity and UV devices is being pushed by both sensor suppliers and wearable original equipment manufacturers (OEM).”


The market for sensors in wearables will undergo a major acceleration next year as shipments of the Apple Watch commence. Overall wearable sensor shipments will double in 2014; shipments of sensors for smartwatches will surge by nearly 600%.

“Similar to the iPhone and iPad, IHS expects the Apple Watch will set a de facto standard for sensor specifications in smartwatches. Most other wearable OEMs will follow Apple’s lead in using these four devices—or will add even more sensors to differentiate,” Bouchaud explained.

IHS goes on to reveal that fitness and heart rate monitors, along with foot pods and pedometers, led the wearable market in terms of sensor shipments in 2013. However, smartwatches will take the top position starting next year and will maintain dominance through 2019.

As this report highlights, embedded wearable technology isn’t going away anytime soon. Sensors are everywhere and are being designed into everything in the connected world. The requirements are moving from simple monitoring to full interpretation of the devices state and situation. Many of these tasks require the simultaneous analysis and fusion of data from different sensors and sensor types. These can include motion sensors (accelerometers and gyroscopes), environment sensors (temperature, pressure and humidity) and many others mentioned by IHS. To simplify enabling these systems, Atmel has partnered with the leading sensor manufacturers and sensor fusion specialists to provide a complete, easy-to-implement Sensor Hub Solution.

Interested in reading more? You can access the entire IHS Research report here.


How wearable tech may improve gun safety

University of Pennsylvania researcher Charles Loeffler believes that gun safety can be vastly improved by readily available wearable technology.


In a report released last week in the online journal PLOS ONE, Loeffler reported that wearable accelerometers, similar to those commonly used to track the distance logged by joggers, could also be used to track when someone fired a gun. Shooting a handgun, it turns out, forms a hard to miss pattern on accelerometer readouts, IEEE Spectrum reveals.

“A gunshot is pretty distinctive. You’re typically at rest because you’re trying to aim, and in a split second, your hand, wrist, and arm experience an impulsive transfer of energy,” Loeffler says. Therefore, if a wrist accelerometer were employed to monitor an individual’s movement, law enforcement officers could be alerted the precise moment a gun was fired.

The researcher worked diligently to prove this theory correct. He employed the local university police officers to fire a series of guns while wearing wrist accelerometers, and recorded their data while pulling the trigger. Upon completion of his study, he discovered that out of 357 gunshots, only 3 were not correctly identified by his technology.

Individual and averaged gunshot acceleration readings along the (a) X-axis, (b) Y-axis, and (c) Z-axis. Individual gunshot acceleration readings (in grey) are a 10 percent sample of the 359 gunshot acceleration readings (in black) in the sample average.

Individual and averaged gunshot acceleration readings along the (a) X-axis, (b) Y-axis, and (c) Z-axis. Individual gunshot acceleration readings (in grey) are a 10% sample of the 359 gunshot acceleration readings (in black) in the sample average.

Loeffler has found that his accelerometers can correctly identify muzzle blast, recoil, and lift leading to very few “false positives.” Ideally, the researcher would like to implement his accelerometer into existing GPS monitoring technology. This combination would streamline the law enforcement process and lead officers to the exact location that someone illegally fired a weapon.

In collaboration with the engineering team over at UPenn, Loeffler is working on a prototype, though he does envision a slight setback. “Getting departments to adopt [this technology] would really depend on how much value they perceive from this offering,” he explains. “It will be more expensive than doing business as usual. The most likely places to deploy something like this are those that are dealing with a more pronounced gun violence problem.”

Having proving the utility of such a simple technology, there should be little trepidation from law enforcement units and judicial entities to test out this platform.

Interested in learning more? You can find the entire report here.

Video: Experience touch like never before

Devices powered by Atmel’s maXTouch controllers boast a wide array of features to facilitate a superior user experience.

This includes intelligent touch processing algorithms, optimized noise suppression, high responsiveness, pinpoint precision and sensor hub technology – all fusing together input from motion-processing sensors such as accelerometers, gyroscopes and magnetometers.

This allows engineers to design a highly responsive, high-fidelity touch experience in mobile devices – even in the most punishing noise environments.

Key applications include:

  • Smartphones
  • Tablets
  • Windows 8 Notebooks and Ultrabooks
  • Digital still cameras
  • e-Readers
  • GPS systems
  • Portable media players

Want to learn more about Atmel’s maXTouch S technology? You can check out additional details here.