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RF Challenges of Wearable Devices

Published on 6 July 2015

RF CHALLENGES OF BODY WORN WIRELESS DEVICES7Layers tests & certifies Samrt Watches and other wearable devices

The wearable device market is growing, and user expectations are growing with it. However, wearable devices have additional developmental challenges over standard IoT devices. Typically they use crowded frequencies such as 2.4 GHz and face a variety of radio noise environments. In most cases “wearables” are body worn devices, which differ from a standard M2M device in so far as they have to overcome the radio interference from the large variety of human bodies. This causes challenges to meeting consumer expectations and market access requirements.

7Layers has developed a service offering that can help manufacturers assess how their devices will perform while on the body for both R&D and market access procedures.

Overcoming Human Interference of Wearables

A human isn’t friendly to wireless transmissions when next to the body and each person can have different electrical properties. Device performance can plummet due to interference from the human body. A device’s RF signal has to overcome the possibilities of the blood, sweat and tears of the user. This difficulty can be surmounted through R&D processes, utilizing human phantoms or live body testing.

7Layers offers OTA testing with body phantoms, including a full body phantom, as well as offering live body testing in an OTA reverberation chamber. All this helps engineering teams considerably develop wearable products that really perform the way they should do when on the body.

Overcoming Radio Noise Environments of Wearable Devices7Layers tests and certifies fitness tracking devices

A body worn device moves around more than the average wireless device and is exposed to a variety of different radio environments.

This is a challenge for all devices that are part of the IoT. However, body worn devices have a more unpredictable contact with interferers than most mobile devices as they can go anywhere the customer can take it.

The Services for Wearables of 7Layers

  • simulate and measure interference from a variety of radio technologies
  • measure the interference caused by the device itself
  • test device performance in simulated wireless environments (e.g. moving about in a city, traveling on a highway in an automobile)

7Layers Involvement in the developing Wearable Industry

7Layers is not only helping manufactures with testing wearable devices. We also actively participate in the development of new standards. Clive Bax, Manager Radiated Laboratories at 7Layers, is the co-chair of the CTIA Wearable Sub-committee. Additionally, 7Layers is a member of organizations for various short-range wireless technologies such as the Bluetooth® SIG, Zigbee, NFC Forum etc. along with the cellular technology organizations such as GCF and PTCRB. Based on such participation, we offer deep insight in the respective technology and its market access approvals.

This makes 7Layers a sought after partner for wearable device manufacturers, providing

  • R&D testing
  • Conformance testing
  • Market access services.

through our laboratories in the USA (CA), Germany, P.R. China and S. Korea.

Read more at: 7Layers services for wearable device manufacturers.