17 Jul 2017
The Future of Wearables: Open-Q™ 2100
July 17th, 2017
It is an exciting time to be in the wearable market right now. Forecasted to be worth over $34 billion by 2020, it's ripe for both innovation and great ideas, and contingent upon both. Wearables will be hard to avoid in the near future, most likely because they'll be on us!
Source: CCS Insight
Nonetheless, creating the right wearable can be challenging. Key technical areas are:
- New technologies for human input
- Low power connectivity standards
- Intelligent data processing on the wearable
- Low power heterogeneous processors
- Effective cloud integration
The Open-Q™ 2100 Development Kit and SOM are a perfect platform for providing these areas in new products.
A useful and effective wearable must have an intuitive and "transparent" method to be controlled and to feed us with information. Exciting developments in this area include Google's Project Soli , which uses radar to allow gesture input while uncoupling our hands from the device and its screen. Technologies like this require processors with low-power, high-speed sensor interfaces, and can leverage on-chip DSPs.
The Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ Wear 2100 processor's sensor core software uses the Hexagon DSP core to interface with the sensors. Using a Hexagon DSP core for this interfacing means that data transfer from sensors can occur while the ARM core remains in a low power mode. It also means that any complex sensor processing algorithms can occur within the DSP core before processed data events are passed on to the ARM core. This both saves power and provides more advanced algorithm processing possibilities. Intrinsyc's software development services can help with sensor core driver and DSP algorithm development and integration.
Cameras with intelligent gesture and depth detection are also great candidates for advanced Human Interface. Intrinsyc's Open-Q™ 2100 SOM supports MIPI-based cameras with RAW data input and use the Image Processing core of the Snapdragon™ for efficient and low-cost image capture and processing.
Voice input, detection, and processing are also key human interface technologies for wearables. The Open-Q™ 2100 can support features such as keyword detection (Snapdragon Voice Activation) and Fluence[tm] HD noise cancellation technology, making it an ideal voice-control platform.
Wireless standards such as Bluetooth LE have allowed sensor pods to become ubiquitous. Other transports such as Wi-Fi or mesh or NFC can make sense for varied use-cases on the same device, and unifying technologies such as AllJoyn can help truly make the wearable part of the IoT. Being a Snapdragon processor, the Open-Q™ 2100 is capable of all these technologies.
As the number of devices, we need to recharge grows, it becomes more important that charging is simple, quick, and standard. Innovative charging solutions such as wireless charging and quick charge are important for effective wearables. Intrinsyc's hardware and BSP consulting services can design to fit any charging and battery cell requirement.
Wearables will be capable of collecting and forwarding unlimited quantities of data, but as this volume scales exponentially, that data will become useless exabytes of noise without intelligent filtering and processing. Doing this at the sharp-end, at the wearable, will be vital. For example, wearable cameras with motion detection and sound energy detection can adaptively learn what's important to store-and-forward. Multi-core heterogeneous processors like the Snapdragon 2100 with GPU, DSP, and multiple ARM cores, are ideally suited for this processing. These processors can use the cores most suited to the task and so optimize their power consumption. The Snapdragon 2100's Hexagon core, Qualcomm® Adreno™ 304 GPU with OpenGL, and multiple ARM Cortex A7 make it a workhorse heterogenous wearable. Multiprocessing libraries such as OpenCL provide a flexible system to build upon.
Finally, tying this constellation of wearables and their hubs to the cloud needs effective and standard fabrics at the bottom side, where alliances such as AllSeen will be crucial. At the upper side, effective and innovative apps and bots for data mining will leverage AI techniques to make all that data both useful, and accessible. Building on the Snapdragon Wear technology, the Open-Q 2100 is a great starting-point for wearable and IoT cloud integration.
The Open-Q™ 2100 development kit ships today with a Wearables customized Android 7.1.1. Intrinsyc's product design services can assist with the hardware and software customizations to your product ideas. If the off-the-shelf Open-Q™ 2100 SOM does not fit the desired form-factor for your product, Intrinsyc's product design expertise can also create a custom design in your required form-factor.
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Ken Tough, is the Director of Software Engineering at Intrinsyc Technologies. He has worked in the embedded software and electronics industry for more than 25 years, in fields ranging from defense to telecommunications to consumer products. His experience in battery-powered devices was gained in large part through commercial eReader product support.
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