Wearable Functionalities Featured Pattern: P1303 January 2019
Abstracts in this Pattern:
Researchers from Purdue University (West Lafayette, Indiana) and other institutions produced an armband that wraps around a user's forearm and enables communication via haptics. During testing, subjects wearing the device received vibrations from 24 integrated tactors. Under stimulation, the tactors "emitted a vibration against the skin, changing quality and position in the process." The researchers mapped the 39 phonemes—distinct units of sound in a language that distinguish words from one another—in the English language to the signals from specific tactors. For example, stationary sensations on certain parts of the arm indicated consonant sounds, and sensations that moved around, down, and up the forearm indicated vowel sounds. These sensations enabled subjects to receive and interpret messages.
Another set of research efforts is exploring wearable technologies that augment the functionality of everyday objects. Researchers from the University of California, San Diego (La Jolla, California), and the University of Wisconsin–Madison (Madison, Wisconsin) developed LiveTag technology, which uses printed copper-foil tags that absorb specific frequencies in the Wi-Fi spectrum to enable the creation of "interactive controls or keypads that can stick onto objects, walls, or even clothing." The tags can also see use as wearables in the form of armbands that can operate digital devices. Other wearable technologies can enable everyday objects to become simple robotic devices. Researchers at Yale University (New Haven, Connecticut) developed a sensor- and actuator-equipped elastic robotic skin that enables otherwise inanimate deformable objects to move or perform various tasks. Such technologies may also find use in wearable technologies such as assistive smart clothing and exosuits.
Several industry players are accelerating research in novel textiles to enable advanced wearables. For example, between mid-2017 and mid-2018, W. L. Gore & Associates (Newark, Delaware)—maker of Gore-Tex fabrics—met with about 500 materials and sensor start-ups to make joint development agreements for and equity investments in the development of smart fabrics. Ultimately, Gore plans to fill its new Gore Innovation Center (www.gore.com/innovation-center) in Santa Clara, California, with a number of rotating start-ups to accelerate research and development in the field of smart fabrics. The center's location in California's Silicon Valley will enable interactions with many start-ups.
The Development of this Pattern
Researchers from Purdue University and other institutions produced an armband that wraps around a user's forearm and enables communication via haptics.
Researchers from the University of California, San Diego, and the University of Wisconsin–Madison developed LiveTag technology.
W. L. Gore & Associates met with about 500 materials and sensor start-ups in 2017 to make joint development agreements for and equity investments in the development of smart fabrics.
P1303 — Wearable Functionalities
As wearable technologies advance, functionalities of an increasingly wide variety become wearable.
- P0059 — Body Interfaces (May 2010)
Innovative developments in human augmentation and bionics technologies could allow the use of body parts as human-machine interfaces.
- P0432 — "Living" Electronics (December 2012)
Electronic devices that share useful functionalities with and function inside of living systems are emerging.
- SoC646 — Flexible and Stretchable Electronics (April 2013)
Although most applications do not require flexible and stretchable components, new research is leading toward the creation of components with increasing pliability.
- SoC762 — Health-Care Devices to Stick On (November 2014)
Efforts to develop stick-on health-care devices are manifold.
- SoC828 — Augment Thyself (October 2015)
Novel approaches have the potential to further human abilities by augmenting people with advanced technologies.
- P0923 — Sensing Skin (May 2016)
Wearable skin patches and artificial skins could drive novel applications in the fields of medicine and robotics.
- P1017 — Layering Capabilities (January 2017)
Researchers are using layering techniques and technologies to enable novel applications.
- SoC987 — (P)Review 2017/2018: Smart Worlds (January 2018)
In 2017, a wide range of developments offered a glimpse at smart worlds of the future in which urban environments, manufacturing operations, and materials increasingly incorporate smart features and connectivity.
- P1267 — Becoming the Interface (October 2018)
Researchers are developing user interfaces for use on or by parts of the body other than the hands.