The Challenges and Aspects of Wearable PCB Design – PCBgogo

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The use of wearables is becoming more and more popular in the everyday consumer market, covering areas of health tech, fitness and mass communication and providing innovations we could only imagine possible. However designing these wearables is no easy feat; there are a number of rules which are to be applied on wearable tech which is not necessarily applicable on normal electronics. We will discuss some of the aspects and challenges to designing PCB wearable’s and how to tackle them.

Challenges of PCB design for Wearables:

1: Size and shape

Designers know the key difference between ordinary devices and wearables is the size. They have to be smaller but at the same time carry the same functionality. Fitting all those features into a fraction of that size isn’t easy. Along with size you also have to keep the shape well outlined. Rigid boxes aren’t the only shapes used. Instead the shape can be curved with beautifully designed casings.

Rules to consider:

You should try to understand how to place all the components as efficiently as possible to reduce the size of your product. Also you should place your tracks to make efficient routes; auto-routing is not always suitable for intricate work so using manually operated equipment here would be better.

2: Board Material

The materials used in wearables are complex and are not limited to traditional materials; they also include fabric, plastic, rigid-flex materials and mesh. These materials need a professional to operate them, someone who understands how to use them. Even now, companies are trying to introduce fabric based wearables into the mass-consumers market.

Rules to Consider:

If your design uses some unusual material you should try to get a professional to help you. Researches are already looking forward to publishing their experimentation with different materials in this area.

3: Power

Wearables usually rely on batteries as a source of power and considering their small size, their batteries are also equally smaller. The aim is to make power consumption as low as possible but also deliver efficiency at the same time. Some devices are built to work for days while some run for less than 24 hours.

Rules to Consider:

Simply plan your power usage. You should tabulate all the components and where and how the power will be utilized. Then work out allowances and budget where possible. Contacting your component supplier for alternative parts to help in lowering power consumption is also recommended.

4: Connectivity

The use of modules that provide increased connectivity through Wi-Fi, Bluetooth etc.is in demand; you can even consider them essential for your design if you want your product to hit the market. This means that you have to find space on your board to include these modules.

Rules to Consider:

Thanks to the use of IoT, there are many small sized products that can give you connectivity and are suitable for use in wearables. Connectivity modules and RF components are now being designed specifically for use in wearables.

Body-based Challenges for Wearables

1: Antenna design

Designing antennas for use in wearables close to human proximity is complicated since the human body can easily cause dissipation of electrical energy. Engineers need to look for solutions to preserve signal strength in wearables designed for the human body.

Rules to Consider:

You can preserve signal strength by using components such as low noise amplifiers (LNAs) to concentrate the electromagnetic fields away from the body as much as possible. This requires specialist design to amplify the signals near the body.

2: Humidity

Humidity is also a factor engineers have to consider. The human body tends to give off humidity and that can damage your wearables if certain measures are not taken. Therefore, engineers need to ensure that the device is built to handle moisture.

Rules to Consider:

Engineers need to make sure the product casing is sealed so moisture cannot penetrate it easily. In case the product cannot be sealed, the board should be given a conformal coating. This coating will stop moisture from penetrating the components.

Article by:PCBGOGO

With over 10 years as an industry leader, PCBGOGO is one of the most experienced PCB and PCB assembly manufacturer in China. We are proud to manufacture high-quality PCBs and provide the best PCB assembly services for our customers. At the same time we provide a safe and prosperous environment for over 200 employees to work in. Our goal is to be categorized as the easiest Printed Circuit Board manufacturer to do business with.

To achieve that goal, we prioritize our customer and make sure all their questions are duly answered. Our record of success sets us apart from our competitors.

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