Reference designs, such as the one introduced by Texas Instruments, enable designers to add their talent and creativity to reach new levels of power techniques in wearables.
TI has a viable, scalable power solution for wearables which can be adapted to watches, activity monitors and other types of wearable devices. It’s reference designs like this in Reference 5 that will enable designers to add their talent and creativity to reach new levels of powering techniques in wearables. See Figure 15.
Figure 15: The block diagram of the TI wireless power solution for wearables (Source: Texas Instruments)
Linear Technology has an energy harvesting solution with their LTC3107 that can power a wireless system network and charge batteries. See Figure 16.
Figure 16: A Thermoelectric generator-powered energy harvesting design that could extend primary cell life (Source: Linear Technology, now part of Analog Devices)
There is also an LTC3331 that can convert energy from multiple energy sources to power wearables. See Figure 17.
Figure 17: The LTC3331 has a full-wave bridge rectifier for inputs from piezo (AC energy), solar (DC energy) and other energy sources like magnetics (AC energy). (Source: Linear Technology, now part of Analog Devices)
Microphone wake up and listen for wearables
Vesper has a pretty neat solution to save power that can be used for voice control in wearables.
Information gathering for wearables challenges power consumption reduction
I am not so sure how long Intel will stay in this business, but they have been developing a low-power ‘Always-on’ IC on its 14nm process that would consume 2mW for keyword recognition. They also have their Curie Module powered by their Quark SE SoC. Intel’s Jerry Bautista, VP/general manager of the Intel New Devices Group, has commented that they consider data extremely valuable, and wearables can help gather more information, especially biometrics. Wearables are edge devices that collect data and feed them to into the large flow of data being sent to cloud servers for analysis. Reducing the power consumption in these types of devices is paramount at Intel.
I fully anticipate, with excitement, the next innovative power solutions for wearable electronics that will be virtually invisible to the user. Maybe I will put my smart watch back on when that happens.
First published by EDN.