What is the definition of Wearables? By saying Wearables now we mean some smart electronic device, which is suitable for wearing. What makes the smart device suitable for wearing? The wearable device should be:
- ● Lightweight
- ● Good-looking
- ● Low power
- ● Helpful
- ● Connected with some wearables app to be easily controlled from your smartphone
To be comfortable and familiar in look and feel, wearable device can be embedded in some everyday clothing or jewelry. Wearable watch or wearables fitness bracelet are good examples of making jewelry wearable. But clothing could be wearable as well: Smart Shirt with heart & respiration sensors inside, Smart Shoes and even Smart Socks – are not surprising any more.
The nature of wearable devices multiplies
the challenges facing developers. Development of wearable device should take into consideration not only cost and time to market, but also the factors of size, power consumption, safety and security. Plus, the unique capability of wearable device should be provided. The sooner developer can start adding unique value – the faster he can get his new wearable device to market with greater margin of profit. So, it is good for developer to use some pattern, where common to all wearable devices features already realized.
As a Wearable App Company, RoweBots provides special packaging of Unison RTOS – WearableOS, which could be used as some kind of pattern for the wearable device development as it contains all necessary wearable technology components already realized and developer could focus on bringing up unique capabilities in their wearable apps.
Developers need a solid platform to build their wearable application. Unison RTOS is lean, built on standards like the POSIX API for exchangeable modules, protocols and drivers, so applications can be easily enhanced, ported and customized for user demands, including a set of security features that can be used to build a secure system and application set. Unison also provides rich set of wireless and network protocols of the shelf, and more important, Unison provides Cloud access with a broad set of protocols. Making wearable device not only wearable but IoT requires the latest technologies and tools to deal with IoT and its newer applications. And Unison RTOS is able to work with other leading edge applications like Microsoft Azure, providing connection to Azure IoT Hub through HTTP, AMQP, through MQTT or Gateway assisted connection through BTLE, WiFi, 6lowpan, Lora. Of course, Android application is very important for the wearable device as such application allows to control wearable device quickly and easily.
The Unison WearableOS also comes with a demonstration package in the form of a low-power watch kit based on WearableOS and the Texas Instruments Launchpad series of development boards.
TI Tiva Based Watch
RoweBots first off the shelf solution for wearables is based on the TI Launchpad series of development boards and the Unison OS based WearableOS to implement a low power wearable watch. It offers the following features:
- ● Full color display 240 x 240
- ● BLE connection to an Android phone
- ● Command interpreter
- ● LED controls
- ● Time updates
- ● Weather updates
- ● Control of watch from phone
- ● Events from watch to phone
- ● Accelerometer data display on Android
- ● Optional fuel gauge and battery
- ● Optional sensor pack for environmental and vital signs monitoring
The WearableOS software is available along with off the shelf hardware to evaluate this solution. The hardware includes:
- ● TM4C 123 launchpad
- ● TM4C 129 launchpad
- ● Display module available from RoweBots
- ● Optional TI Sensor module
- ● Optional TI Fuel gauge
The off the shelf WearableOS software includes the following components:
- ● Simple graphics for time, weather and other display
- ● Command interpreter for LED and other watch control
- ● Android application control program with simple button updates
- ● Android accelerometer display
- ● Code Composer Studio IDE compatible Unison WearableOS modules
- ● Subset of Unison WearableOS modules for watch implementation
- - Core kernel, I/O model, serial I/O (debugging), file system
- - BT Classic and BLE software for HCI connection
- - BLE command processing and file transfer via BLE app (playstore)
- - Watch display graphics with update capabilities
- - Timer and watch setup software
- - Accelerometer control software and data transfer over BLE
- - MQTT
- - Android MQTT application (playstore)
- - sensor drivers and LED drivers with MQTT control software
The demo currently consists of two separate assemblies. The first assembly shows the display, connectivity, wireless Android phone display updates and accelerometer data. The second assembly is used due to launchpad limitations. It has the features for the sensor pack (temperature, humidity, altitude, pressure, accelerometer, ...), a wireline ethernet connection, a fuel gauge and battery, and cloud connectivity using the 129 launchpad. MQTT support and Android phone operation is also implemented for the 129 launchpad.
This low power wearables example is an ideal means to get started developing wearables. First, you can quickly assemble the features with an off the shelf set of hardware which is open source with all gerbers and schematics. Next you can develop your own watch application complete with advanced accelerometer, temperature and other sensors. Then, taking the known hardware components, you can layout your own watch and design a case, and you will have a fully functional smart watch. The only things that are not free are the hardware components ($100 approximately) and the Code Composer Studio IDE, which may also be free depending on the application size. The Unison OS and all the software for development is free for prototyping.
Get your low power wearables development started today with the TI Tiva based watch reference design.
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