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ROHM debuts novel wearable key device

Posted: 27 Jun 2014     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:ROHM Semiconductor  wearable  sensor  Bluetooth LE  MCU 

ROHM Semiconductor has introduced what it flaunts as a versatile wearable key device that offers exceptional functionality, from counting the number of steps taken, estimating the number of calories consumed, and calculating distance to performing lock/unlock operation (via gesture control), detecting small metallic objects (i.e. for food inspection), and monitoring UV exposure. It can even determine when the wearer is walking up/down stairs, on a bicycle, or riding in a train or car, indicated the company.

Most wearable devices on the market are designed to perform simple activity monitoring, such as counting steps or estimating calories burned, and offer very few points of differentiation. ROHM bucks this trend by developing a breakthrough key-shaped device using sensor synergy and sensor fusion technology, combining sensors from ROHM and Kionix with LAPIS Semiconductor's Bluetooth LE communication IC and sensor hub MCU.

Wearable key device

Integrated sensors include a 2-in-1 proximity + ambient light sensor, optical UV sensor, MEMS accelerometer and gyroscope, piezoresistive barometric pressure sensor, ultra-high sensitivity MI (magnetic impedance) sensor and RGB sensor. Power is provided by an efficient 110mA/hr lithium ion battery that enables continuous operation for more than eight hours while requiring only one hour to fully charge (via USB), noted ROHM.

The lightweight form factor makes carrying effortless and unobtrusive. Not only can the device estimate calories burned and count the number of steps taken, it can even detect when the wearer is riding in a vehicle (i.e. bus, train, car) or walking up/down stairs and track time travelled.

In addition, users can set a daily target for calorie consumption and the device will provide real-time display of calories burned and even deliver alerts and show recommended exercises to meet calorie goals.

Gesture control enables lock and unlock compatible tablets and smartphones by holding the key device and simply drawing a 'U' or 'L' in the air, providing greater convenience and peace of mind. The user can also attach the device externally around the neck or to a belt to measure the amount of UV radiation in order to prevent sunburn or excessive exposure. To allow distance measurement, simply point the key at the top of a well-known (preloaded) metropolitan landmark or building in order to instantly obtain the distance and approximate walking time. The device can also detect small foreign metal objects in food using the built-in high-sensitivity MI sensor: just point the device at the food to obtain a reading.

Mass production is expected December 2014.

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