Designing Antennas for Smartwatches & Fitness Trackers


Arun Venkatasubramanian has been designing antennas for wearables over the past eight years. As a Senior Consultant at Cambridge Consultants in Boston, his team has developed antennas for the US Army to track its soldiers via wearable tags.

Antennas designed for wearables could be designed for smartwatches, or even through entire systems of smart clothing. When designing these antennas, companies have to take into account biometric items like user size, and perspiration. Though wearables do have to abide by the Federal Communications Commission’s standards on the amount of radio frequency energy absorbed, Bluetooth Low Energy emits such a weak signal that Verkat believes there is no health hazard.

Smartwatches and fitness trackers, which currently account for two of the highest selling wearables categories, retail between $100 – $250. Though there exists mounting demand to reduce components costs for the wearable device makers so that these savings can be passed on to the consumer, and hopefully spur mass market adoption, wearables companies are designing custom antennas to help improve user experience. Rather than using cheap, off-the-shelf pieces, custom designed antennas can work with other key components in the wearable and as well as its design.

Venkatasubramanian estimates that 90% of current wearables devices use these cheaper, off-the-shelf antenna options. Which force designers to create their product around component design, rather than the other way around. He also estimates that custom antennas can raise the raw materials costs in wearables by 10 – 15%. The question now is, will companies see that raise in costs as a catalyst to increased sales?

 

Check out the source article at ComputerWorld.

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