Last Updated on October 22, 2023 by Kevin Chen
Image source Freepik
Wearable technology refers to any type of device that is designed to be worn on any part of the body. Wearable devices are worn for different purposes depending on what they are designed to do. Some are jewelry while others are used for medical and health reasons. There are some wearable devices that are considered accessories just like watches. Users wear them to make big fashion statements.
At the heart of the wearable technology are the integrated circuits. These are semiconductor wafers that house many different electronic components designed to perform different tasks in devices.
IC chips determine the function and performance of wearable devices. Each IC is designed to perform a specific task, so, when embedded into a device, it will do the same function. However, most wearable devices contain different IC chips. This means that they combine al the different tasks to function as a unit.
Perhaps this explains why most wearable devices are multifunctional. For example, a smartwatch can tell you time while at the same time measuring the distance you are covering, the number of steps, and even monitor your heart rate among many other functions.
Integrated circuits are credited for the revolution o wearable technology. All the wearable devices in the market trace their functionality and usability to the chips. In this article, we are going to discuss in detail the benefits and drawbacks of using integrated circuit chips in the wearable.
Overview of the IC chips in wearable technology
At this point, it is clear that microchips play important roles in the running and operations of wearable technology. Detailed market data gives an illustration of the close relationship between wearable technology and IC chips. Increased demand for the wearables has accelerated the production of the chips. On the other hand, the advancement in the development of IC chips has also resulted in the innovation of powerful wearable devices.
New wearable technology is characterized by advanced features and functionalities. The technology is now more acceptable than before. According to the data, one way of classifying wearable technology is based on its application areas. These areas include healthcare, fitness, entertainment, lifestyle, security, military and industrial application. The device can also be classified based on where they are worn. These body parts include the wrist, ears, eyes, neck, head, and leg. The technology is further classified based on its operation and functionality. Some of these classes are chosen based on the type of IC chips that are embedded into the device.
Advantages of IC chips in the wearable technology
Here are some of the key benefits of using IC chips or microchips in wearable technology:
One of the key features of the wearable technology is miniaturization. This is all about having a small but functional electronic device. Wearable devices must be small enough so that they can be worn without causing any kind of discomfort. Nobody will feel good wearing a massive or even bulky device on the wrist. It will be extremely uncomfortable.
We can also view miniaturization from the angle of weight. Other than size the wearable device should be lightweight to enhance its comfort and weight. Keep in mind that the lighter the device the more portable it is.
The small and compact nature of the integrated circuits makes it possible to achieve miniaturization with ease. It is possible to pack high-end ICs into a small device so as to achieve optimum performance.
Additionally, IC chips give wearable device manufacturers to explore different designs of the products.
Improves performance of the wearable devices
Wondering how the wearable device is small yet can still deliver exemplary performance? This can be traced back to the integrated circuit chips. There are various parameters that we can use to gauge the performance of the wearable technology. One of them is the processing speed. These devices can process data fast, just like large computers.
Some wearable technology devices have massive data storage capacities whereby they support the storage of large volumes of data. This is because they are embedded with memory chips that have high data storage capacities.
What about the ability of the ability of wearable devices to display clear visual content? This is another parameter that e can use to gauge the performance of the wearable technology. They have chips that take care of the display performance of the wearable technology.
Improves power management of the wearable device
Wearable technology is characterized by flexibility and portability. One key issue about these two attributes is power management. They should be able to preserve power for long periods. One benefit of IC chips in the field of wearable technology is improving the power management of the devices.
There are specialized power management chips that control and manage power usage in the chips. These chips are responsible for different power functions on the wearable technology. First, they ensure that the device is getting the right amount of voltage during the charging process. Secondly, power ICs perform the role of power optimization in wearable technology. This entails regulating power usage when the device is operating. Power optimization ensures that the wearable will run for many hours without depleting its battery. It also lowers the expenses of running the device.
Improve the reliability of wearable technology
Reliability is all about the ability of wearable devices to perform their functions without fail. Reliability is also about the durability of the wearable device. IC chips have a role to play in enhancing reliability of the wearable devices.
The small and compact design of microchips is one of the factors that contribute to the reliability of these devices. Being small means that they can be easily handled and integrated into the target devices.
Also, the construction of the IC chips means that no wires are used for connecting components to each other. Instead, different components are embedded onto a semiconductor material. Minimal connections enhance the reliability and durability of the device. The IC chips also reduce points of failure on the devices hence increasing their reliability index.
Lower cost of wearable devices
We can’t deny the fact that most wearable devices are quite affordable yet they perform powerful functions. The price of these devices is low due to several factors, starting from the manufacturing of the device to the marketing. Since the chips bring all the components under one platform, it becomes easy to manufacture the devices as all that is required is to bring together the chips so that they can deliver their functions. IC chips also make it possible for wearable device manufacturers to produce many devices within a short period.
Wearable devices come in different designs. A key factor that determines the choice of design is convenience. The design should perfectly fit onto whichever part of the body where it is designed to be used. Microchips allow wearable technology designers and manufacturers to implement different designs without encountering any serious bottlenecks.
Manufacturers can choose different shapes, designs, and dimensions of the device depending on where the wearable device will be worn and the desired convenience. Flexibility also gives room for customization of the wearable technology. Buyers can request for custom features and as well as custom designs for the products.
By using IC chips in wearable technology, the goal of sustainability or environmental conservation is achieved by a significant margin. There are several ways in which the use of chips helps to achieve this.
One is through proper power management. IC chips minimize the wastage of power by wearable devices hence encouraging energy conservation. The chips also increase the lifespan of batteries used in wearable devices hence cutting down on electronic waste generation.
Also, miniaturization, an aspect promoted by the use of IC chips means that there is less usage of the materials.
What are the drawbacks of using IC chips in wearable technology?
Despite the numerous advantages, there are some serious limitations that are associated with using microchips in wearable technology.
One of the disadvantages is the complexity or sophistication of the chips. The arrangement of electronic components on some chips may be quite complex depending on the desired functionality. Manufacturing such chips will always require high levels of expertise.
Some chips are vulnerable to electronic risks such as electrostatic discharge or even physical damage. Once a single component on a chip has been damaged, it may affect the functionality of the whole chip.
Microchip shortage is another drawback of using chips in wearable technology. A problem in the semiconductor supply chain can lead to a shortage and this will affect the development of wearable devices.
IC chips have changed many aspects of lives ever since they started being used on electronic devices. Wearable is one of those areas that have experienced impacts, most of which were positive. The chips have made wearable technology better and more convenient to use. We cannot ignore the fact that wearable devices have more functions and are more powerful thanks to IC chips. With the constant advancement of IC chip technology, we expect that the few drawbacks associated with the chips will be minimized.
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