Wearables are the hottest Internet of Things (IoT) market since consumer electronics surpassed industrial electronics—in market size and volume—with the smartphone. IDC Research Inc. (Framingham, Mass.) recently predicted that wearable device worldwide shipments will reach 173.4 million units by 2019, achieving five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.9 percent.
To meet that growing demand, motion-software specialist Hillcrest Laboratories, Inc. (Rockville, Maryland) has created a version of its Internet of Things (IoT) platform—MotionEngine Wear—especially designed for alway-on operation (without running down the battery) and with all the functions built-in that most wearables require.
The basic feature set includes accurate activity tracking, advanced sleep monitoring, context awareness, intuitive gesture controls, precise compass heading and orientation, plus Hillcrest will add any other special functions required by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM).
“We will to create features particular to any vertical market segment, like we added a SensorFusion function for the smartphone market,” Chad Lucien, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Hillcrest Labs told EE Times. “Today we're moving from smartphones to wearables with MotionEngine Wear SensorFusion plus a whole range of functions specific to wearables.”
Hillcrest already has an all-in-one chip containing 9-degrees of freedom microelectromechanical system (MEMS) sensors called the BNO070 (manufactured in cooperation with Bosch), including an on-chip ARM Cortex-M processor with specialized MotionEngine functions pre-burned into firmware called SH-1, which is already being used by the augmented- and virtual-reality (AR/VR) markets (including the Razor OSVR VR headset kit).
However, the MotionEngine Wear firmware is completely processor and sensor agnostic, with Hillcrest maintaining an up-to-date library for all the major MEMS sensor makers and all the major microcontroller makers including Atmel (reportedly to be acquired by U.K.-based Dialog Semiconductor PLC), NXP, ST Microelectronics, and supporting designs using ARM Cortex-M, Cadence Tensilica Fusion DSP and Synopsys ARC EM. It is also OS agnostic, so can be deployed when using platforms with Android, Android Wear, Tizen, WebOS and any RTOS.