Could wireless power be a game changer for wearable devices?

As part of the session dedicated to Systems, Solutions and Infrastructure Applications, Chris Arney,  Electrical Design Engineer at FLEX, will present on wireless charging for wearables, so we spoke to him to find out more about current challenges with integrating wireless power into wearables, trends with wearables, and innovations in the industry to keep an eye on.

What are the current challenges with integrating wireless power into wearables?

Wearables are moving into fashion, and fashion treats most wearables as jewelry. This means metal, and lots of it. Often we only have a small window through the metal to put any antennas into. It is a challenge to fit both a Bluetooth antenna, a wireless charging coil, any other needed antennas, and often some visual indicators into this same space.

The reoccurring conversation that we have with our customers we are designing our wearables for is if we can make it smaller. Once we make it smaller, then they ask if we can make it smaller again. The customers want to show case their beautify designs, and they often do not have a good understanding of how much room batteries and electronics take.

What are some innovations in the wearable industry to keep an eye on?

Hidden tech is becoming increasingly popular, where an existing type of device gets upgraded with smart, connected technology, while not looking like a tech gadget. A good example of this are the new hybrid smart watches or the SnapChat Spectacles.

What are some of the trends with wearables, where wireless power could benefit?

The everyday consumer does not want to worry about making sure that their wearables they are wearing everyday do not get wet. The power connections is often one of the main points of water ingress. Wireless power is a great solution to this problem.

Similar to the water sealing benefits of wireless charging, getting rid of any power connectors or pogo pins allows the wearable product to look less like a piece of technology and more like a fashion piece.

What are you most looking forward to hearing at Wireless Power Summit?

I am looking forward to hearing all of the speakers. But I am especially interested in hearing what Rainer Lutz is going to share about NFC and wireless charging, as some smart watches have both. Also, Dr. Ron-Chi Kuo’s talk about 3D wireless charging intrigues me, as it could help enable more wireless charging possibilities in wearables. And magnetic shielding is always a discussion, as we try to shrink the wearables we are designing, so Chris Burket’s talk on magnetic materials will be very helpful to me.

Click here to regsiter and hear more from this Chris at this year's Wireless Power Summit