Why Displays are Making Wearables a Viable Technology

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.ecnmag.com

Technology challenges:   Bringing viable wearable products to market requires overall improved reliability, enabled by some key factors, including:

  • Accurate sensors with minimal latency
  • Pleasing haptic technology
  • Improved battery performance
  • High-quality displays and touchscreens
  • Improved materials for thin, light, flexible, conformable devices

Unfortunately, most of the current wearable devices use technology that was created for other, bulkier products like mobile phones and tablets. The chips used in these apps still tend to be lacking in the degree of processing power they deliver, and they are too big to wear comfortably. They also have latency issues – they don’t deliver readings/results in real time, and the touch interactivity is poor.   In addition, haptic feedback needs improving. Haptic technology is tactile-feedback technology that recreates the sense of touch by applying force, vibration or motion to the user. This feature enhances the touch interface on a display and creates a more immersive experience. The haptic feedback on most wearable devices is poor, generating an irritating “buzz” for every type of feedback the device aims to provide (regardless of whether the information is vital or unimportant). As it continues to evolve, haptic technology must be virtually invisible and merge seamlessly with the wearable device. The vibro-tactile feedback should be pleasing, and enable a variety of feedback, to convey the difference in urgency and importance of information being conveyed.  Battery performance has been another key roadblock in terms of wearable adoption. In a Fortune/SurveyMonkey poll of 1,000 adults conducted after this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, 33% cited “improved battery life” as the area in which they were most excited to see improvement in smartphones, which are notorious for their battery-draining propensity, and most cited skepticism about adopting new battery-driven smartwatches and other wearables. Touchscreens on wearable devices are another area that requires improvement. They aren’t consistently responsive, they don’t work well when you use gloves (hello, Minnesota), when your hands are sweating (hello, Miami), or when there is sand on the surface of the touch screen (hello, Myrtle Beach). There are, however, ongoing advancements taking place in the area of touch technology, as indicated by the popularity of the Touch Market Focus Conference held during Display Week 2015.   In addition, the displays currently being used are rigid, rectangular, difficult to read in outdoor settings, and tend to be both heavy and fragile. Brittle glass and brittle indium tin oxide (ITO) substrates dominate the display and touch materials used, and neither is optimal for devices that need to conform to the wearer’s wrist or shoulder.

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