Tag Archives: wearable devices

5G Modem for IoT and Wearable Devices

Although yet to become a commonplace scenario, we have been seeing and hearing about 5G quite often nowadays. For the most part, IoT devices and wearables are still in the realm of 4G LTE, while the rest of the industry has surged ahead. Now, Qualcomm is set to change that with the introduction of its Snapdragon X35 modem. With their new modem, Qualcomm aims to provide 5G support to these small devices. They are calling this technology 5G NR-Light, because of its reduced capability. According to the manufacturers, X35 modems will have a maximum downlink speed of around 220 Mbps and an uplink speed of around 100 Mbps.

Qualcomm claims their Snapdragon X35 will bring several breakthroughs in the world of 5G. Not only is the design of the world’s first 5G NR-Light modem cost-effective, but its streamlined form factor also leads to power efficiency. In addition, the company has designed the modem with optimized thermal performance. The company expects the Snapdragon X35 to power the next generation of intelligent connected edge devices while empowering an entire range of users. The company is eagerly waiting to work with industry leaders in unified 5G platforms and unleash the possibilities.

Although featuring a tiny form factor, NR-Light is mighty in performance. It features all the good aspects of 5G, starting from spectral efficiency and the ability to access new sub-6 GHz bands. High-end wearable devices, while incorporating the Snapdragon X35 modem, can communicate at the high speeds that 5G offers. In the industrial context, many IoT devices will be able to incorporate the X35 modem to improve their performance. The company is aiming its new modem at devices like Chromebooks, router products, low-end PCs, and many more. Another good feature is the new modem does not need an additional Qualcomm SoC to make it function.

To make it compatible with existing devices, Qualcomm has designed the Snapdragon X35 to support 4G LTE as well, as a fallback option. Even with such powerful features and working at such high speeds, the new modem consumes the lowest power of all the modems the company has manufactured so far. Although many other OEMs are showing a lot of interest, the first device to use this modem will emerge only in the first half of 2024. According to Qualcomm, the price of the Snapdragon X35 5G NR-Light modem will be around half that of its counterpart, the Snapdragon X55 modem.

Qualcomm has released more interesting features about their new modem. According to them, the Snapdragon X35 modem has the same interfaces as its predecessor LTE modems. This information is of vital importance for existing consumers with older designs. At least in theory, they can integrate the new modem in their designs with ease and avail the capabilities of 5G instantly.

Qualcomm has one more trick up its sleeve. They have announced another new modem, the Snapdragon X32, in addition to the Snapdragon X35 modem. They have designed the X32 modem as a modem-to-antenna solution suitable for use on lower-cost devices that work on NR-Light.

Technology Allows Writing in Air

Fujitsu has made what they claim to be a lightweight and compact wearable ring-type device offering handwriting functionality and capability of reading near-field communication tags. You can wear it on your index finger, and the ring has several sensors such as a gyroscope, an accelerometer and a magnetic sensor to help with text input, apart from wireless communication functionality and an NFC tag reader. The smart ring can identify the movement the user makes with his or her fingertips as they write in the air. To begin the air-writing process, the wearer has to press an operation button on the ring with the thumb. That makes the operation single-handed.

Fujitsu had already developed a glove-style of wearable device, last year. The current device, however, compresses the entire functionality into a ring-type instrument weighing less than 10-grams, suitable for wearing on a single finger. The tiny instrument has power-saving features and operates on a single button-cell battery.

The technology developed by Fujitsu successfully corrects letterform tracings. This feature improves the accuracy of character recognition, which the user traces in air with his finger. Its success rate is 95% and the capability includes Chinese characters and numbers. The user has only to tap a finger to get documentation and instructions for working on a device with the help of the built-n NFC tag reader.

The technology from the Fujitsu Laboratories is sophisticated enough to recognize automatically unwanted connections between the strokes of a letterform when the wearer is writing a longhand trace. It corrects the data accordingly, removing the unwanted connections and this improves the legibility and text-recognition rate tremendously.

With modern advances making smart devices more miniature, along with cloud environments and efficient communication technology, there is increasing interest in HMDs or Head Mounting Devices. These and other wearable devices are very useful for people engaged in maintenance and other tasks in buildings and factories. The operator can have both hands free because of the ICT or information and communication technology used in these wearable.

Therefore, operators are no longer required to hold devices in their hands to receive information in the field. Consequently, there are high expectations from the use of such wearable devices in fieldwork that allow operators to keep their hands free to use at all times.

According to Fujitsu, the smart ring-type wearable device is targeted for use in the working world rather than at homes. At present, the company is carrying out real-world tests on the device and they have a goal of practical implementation in 2015.

Not that Fujitsu is alone in developing such finger-sized wearable technology. Others are also present in this field. For example, Logbar Inc., operating from San Francisco and Tokyo, started a Kickstarter campaign in 2013 and was able to raise close to $900,000. They have developed their Ring, which is a wearable input device capable of enabling users to text and control home appliances. Additionally, it can help the wearer complete financial transactions as well. Unlike the Fujitsu device, which is suitable for workplaces, the Ring of Logbar is meant for consumer use at home – it is not yet available for purchase, though.