Wearables Trends for 2022

In 2021, the wearables market was pretty much about the design and features of wearables for the broad public and for Health 4.0, as well as for other things related to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

For POLYN, it was a year of learning the market requirements during fruitful meetings with potential customers. As we learned, we continued working on a new generation of the NASP solution from both the math and engineering standpoints. The solution addresses two main goals mentioned by our customers: the accuracy of HR (heart rate) measurements and low power consumption.

Another feature that only a neural network can address efficiently is HAR (human activity recognition). 

Potential customers are wary of inaccurate measurements and short battery life in wearables. These happen because the most common current implementations in wearables are based on algorithmic calculations that are energy-hungry and incapable of real accuracy. You can find videos about the solutions of Tier 1 vendors that show high deviations from correct measurements.

On the contrary, a neural network trained for processing HR provides better accuracy and a longer device performing time. It also provides additional features and better adaptation for the fusion of the sensor data.

2022 Trends 

One feature to watch for in 2022 is blood pressure tracking based on the same optical PPG sensors that are used for HR measurements, without the need for validation from a cuff-style monitor every few months. Blood pressure seems to be the next “hot” metric likely to become a mainstay on wearables. Some experts say big companies like Samsung and Huawei as well as smaller providers are planning to supply end users with the ability to pay closer attention to their cardiovascular system using the same wearables with optical sensors. The same wearables will then become valuable for those suffering from high blood pressure.

Another 2022 trend that was previewed at the CES 2022 trade show is the Smart Ring. While the Oura Ring shows that a wearable in ring form is a viable option, there are few such smart ring models you can actually put on your finger right now. In 2022 we will see more wearable ring designs, but for that form factor power consumption reduction is critical and requires a new type of hardware.

POLYN’s NASP, with its ultra-low power requirements of 100uW, is actually a perfect option for smart rings.

Another thing to watch for in 2022 is non-invasive glucose monitoring. There is debate about whether this is practical, but some of the biggest names in the wearables game continue to search for the opportunity to add this feature All Tier 1 providers are reportedly seeking to make this kind of non-invasive monitoring a possibility.

As the number of health measurement parameters grows, an important consideration is sensor data fusion, and here neural networks offer more usability. Clearly, the combination of measurement accuracy, longer battery life, and an understanding of human activity keys to the best product.