IoT Unleashes the Power of Wearables



The IoT and wearables are interesting separately, but really shine when combined. Wearables is only one of the new areas that the IoT has opened up, but it could become one of the most important in the future. We’ve had some smartish-type watches and a few other gimmicky wearables before the IoT was quite so prevalent, but IoT technology has really unleashed their potential. The easy wireless access to nearly unlimited online processing for low-power devices has seen their functionality come on leaps and bounds and we are still only at the start of the revolution.

Wearables have been able to penetrate several areas very quickly, especially healthcare. We had medical and healthcare as a featured subject last month, so I don’t want to dwell too much on it, but it’s impossible to leave it out completely when discussing wearables, and one of our articles this month focusses on exactly that subject. The medical industry has understandably strict standards for technology and until now, devices have to be especially developed for that industry. However, people are wearing advanced consumer technology that performs the same measurements that medical professionals need. How does the medical industry integrate those smart devices into their diagnostic routines? Inside the issue, Dr. Chris Elliott from Leman Micro Devices gives us an overview of the situation and discusses how consumer technology can provide even more benefits to patients.

Wearables also open up the areas of virtual reality and augmented reality. I’ve always thought Google’s Glass wearable was ahead of its time, but now I’ve seen a few demonstrations of how wearables like the glass can give us instant access to hands-free information and how much it can help. These demonstrations included a motorbike head-up display that informed the driver of the performance of the bike, its condition and even included GPS functionality. Another memorable demonstration for maintenance on complex machinery. The engineer used a device similar to Google Glass to virtually see where the fault was on the machine and where the part to be replaced was located. If required he could “ask” the wearable to download and display any further information that was required while he continued to work on the machine.

Those are just two examples of how wearables and the IoT can work together to improve our lives and productivity. In reality, there’s no limit to the number of improvements that can made. Our only limitation really is our imagination. Of course, at the heart of all those devices is ingenuous power management. Almost all wearables rely on batteries for power and consumers demand sufficient power to last as long as required. The November issue also contains articles detailing how Dialog Semiconductor’s PMICs and Analog Devices’ DC/DC converters contribute to keeping wearables running through efficient operation.