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Sensor Hub and Wearable Gestures

Sensor Hub and Wearable Gestures
by Paul McLellan on 06-13-2014 at 10:00 am

One of the challenges with the internet of things (IoT) is that many devices are both always on and battery powered (and not with a large battery). The responsibilities need to be split so that the device senses when it needs to wake up without requiring the application processor to be waking up all the time to make the decision since that would rapidly use up all the available battery power.

Quicklogic last week made two announcements, one a sensor hub for wearables and the other specific gesture algorithms especially for watch like devices worn on the wrist. Two gestures that are important are tapping on the device (like you do with a FitBit for example) or rotating your wrist to wake (basically, looking at the display on the watch should wake up the device so that it displays something).

QuickLogic Corporation announced the immediate availability of its S1 Wearables Sensor Hub, an ultra-low-power, context-aware sensor hub optimized for next-generation wearable applications. QuickLogic’s complete, out-of-the-box solution speeds time-to-market for OEMs developing next-generation wearable applications, particularly in the health and fitness space.

 The sensor supports specific contexts for Walking, Running, Cycling, In-Vehicle, On-Person, Not-on-Person. It also supports pedometer functions with separate step-counts for walking and running. It consumes less that 250 microwatts of active power. Offloading the real-time, always-on computation to QuickLogic’s sensor hub enables reduced overall system power, thus extending battery life.

They also announced the immediate availability of its new wearable-specific sensor hub gesture algorithms. Delivering long battery life is critical for wearable devices. QuickLogic’s “Tap-to-Wake” and “Rotate-Wrist-To-Wake” algorithms enable wearable devices to respond to user movements and gestures without waking up the power-hungry host application processor or microcontroller. The algorithms were developed internally by QuickLogic, and provide its OEM customers with a quick and easy method of implementing wearable-specific gestures using QuickLogic’s ultra-low-power, patent pending sensor hub technology.

I think we will see more and more of this sort of part, a little chip that goes along with the rest of the system to make the decision that it is time to wake up or not. Voice recognition is another area where obviously you want to be able to make the decision to wake up or not without requiring a complete voice analysis by the main microprocessor of every sound the microphone picks up.

More information here.

More articles by Paul McLellan…

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