In his introductory keynote address at Wear Conference 2022, Pankaj Kedia, Sr. Director & GM of the Smart Wearables Segment of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., noted that hyper segmentation is occurring in the wearables market segment. While the needs of healthy people seeking to improve their health versus patients who need to carefully monitor their health to prevent problems are quite different, the requirements for seniors are quite different from those of infants. In fact, pets have quite distinct wearable needs as well. These different users dictate quite different design aspects.
One of the driving forces behind wearables is the desire for a seamless user experience. In wearables, seamless sensing requires high performance as well as low power and more. For wearables, smart sensors are one of the challenges. Kedia noted that sensors are never smart enough. A wearable could be anything worn from a user’s head to toes. While over 400 million people have wearables including 50 million smart watches, an ingestible diagnostic device could be considered a wearable as well. Different location – much different challenges.
Many expert presenters at Wear 2022 provided other perspectives and challenges that impact sensing. For example, Alfred Poor, health care futurist and editor of Health Tech Insider, observed the COVID 19 pandemic has changed the health diagnostics traditionally performed in a doctor’s office or clinical setting that create barriers of time and space and transformed expectations for healthcare. While these changes were occurring before the pandemic, the pandemic accelerated them. There are still challenges that remain.
Stacy Salvo, VP Strategy at Movano, a company that is planning to introduce the Movano Ring with a mmWave integrated sensor in the second half of 2022, observed that wearables need to go beyond sensors on the body, since in many cases, people do not want to continuously use or keep the wearable on their body.
David Vigano, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Sensoria Health that makes smart garments noted that 8 million people sit in a wheelchair and their need for wearable sensing is quite different from the typical, much more mobile, user.
Marc Alexander, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Motusi, a company that designs engineered athletic wear, adds that form factors are among the challenges for sensors to capture the right information, especially in performance monitoring wearables.