Wearable wonders

One of the smallest trends—in terms of actual size—in fitness and health care, wearable technology is made with help from Austin-based companies such as NXP Semiconductors. Many components that make such devices work are developed at NXP’s offices on William Cannon Drive in Southwest Austin, said Sujata Neidig, NXP microcontroller marketing manager.


“What we have focused on in the last few years is developing solutions that provide the right processing capability, but at a lower-power, smaller-form factor, and therefore lower cost,” Neidig said.








Wearable wonders Insulet Omnipod insulin pump[/caption]

Insulet Omnipod insulin pump


Introduced in 2015, www.myomnipod.com


What it does: Diabetics who have to monitor their insulin can use the device to automatically dispense insulin and keep track of insulin levels through a smartphone app.
How it works: When powered by a battery, the device uses software in the chip to execute code. The device checks the status of a pin, and if the status changed it can alert the user that it is low and might need refilling. A microcontroller monitors activity and decides what action needs to be taken.
What does it mean? The device gives users the freedom to live a more active lifestyle.







Wearable wonders Hexiwear reference design[/caption]

Hexiwear reference design


Introduced in 2016, www.nxp.com/kinetisdesigns/hexiwear


What it does: The small device comes with a “development board” that can be used to create various applications, including those for wearables with health-related functions.
How it works: The battery-powered device can be programmed using a computer to collect and store information such as motion detection for counting steps.
What does it mean? Startups can work on figuring out what they want a device to do rather than having to start with designing the board and having it manufactured.   







Wearable wonders Garmin Forerunner watch[/caption]

Garmin Forerunner watch


Several models, www.garmin.com


What it does: The watch tracks the wearer’s distance traveled and pace.


How it works: The device contains sensors and a GPS chip that can track the route and distance traveled.


What does it mean? The technology can help users to monitor fitness progress and motivate them to stay on track and remain accountable to meet health goals.







Wearable wonders Kinetis microcontroller chip[/caption]

Kinetis microcontroller chip


This tiny chip, developed by NXP in Austin, takes in data from sensors, processes that data and compiles information for consumers in many products.







Wearable wonders Withings Pulse O2
wearable tracker[/caption]

Withings Pulse O2 wearable tracker


Introduced in 2014, www.withings.com


What it does: The device tracks the wearer’s heart rate, blood oxygen level, floors climbed, steps walked, hours slept and more. A smartphone app displays statistics and can set alerts based on performance.
How it works: Sensors in the device track motion and elevation. A microcontroller chip drives the display.
What does it mean? The device helps provide data to record fitness progress and motivate users.

By Kelli Weldon
Kelli joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter and has been covering Southwest Austin news since July 2012. She was promoted to editor of the Southwest Austin edition in April 2015. In addition to covering local businesses, neighborhood development, events, transportation and education, she is also the beat reporter covering the Travis County Commissioners Court.


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