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Internet of Things

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In support of ARM Wearables Week, I browsed Kickstarter for active ARM-based wearable campaigns and it wasn't hard to find one that was using one of our ARM Partner's technology. Below is the last (here are the others Pip, a GPS and activity tracker for dogs and cats and Arki by ZIKTO believes every movement matters) crowdfunding wearable project I will be featuring this week.


All-in-one Gadget for Sport and Wellness

SensoTRACK is an innovative device unlike any other. The gadget fits comfortably on your ear, where it senses, tracks and manages a range of biometric and activity parameters. SensoTRACK measures heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation and respiration rate. It counts steps, calories burned, senses your speed, activity level, geolocation, altitude, body posture, and pace, while tracking parameters you enter, such as weight, body mass index (BMI), blood sugar and emotional state. It also takes into account your specific activity – walking, running, cycling, etc. – and models its measurements for that form of activity to more accurately gauge performance.


The built-in speaker speaker enables users to receive notices during your workout, which can also act as a personal trainer. The personal trainer uses SensoTRACK's on-board sensors to get a comprehensive overview of the activity and how your body is responding, formulating its advice accordingly. This allows the personal trainer algorithms to react dynamically to the activity, helping you push your limits and motivating you to reach your workout goals. The speaker also allows the user to control music from your smartphone. See below for a demo.



During the development, they have secured two patents for their proprietary technology: Continuous non-invasive blood pressure monitoring system and; Method and apparatus for ambient noise cancellation in PPG (Photoplethysmography) sensors. For developers, they have protected and developed their propriety technology so it can be licensed to third parties to integrate for development and integration into your own applications.


For a $199 pledge, you can be one of the first to own the device - they have 21 days to go on their Kickstarter campaign Wearable Biometric Earphones for Fitness and Health by Sensogram Technologies, Inc and need your help to get them to mass production.

Get to know more about the Founder and CTO of SensoTRACK, Dr. Vahram Mouradian.



Developer Background:

I hold a Ph.D. in Computer Science, and a M.S. in Electronics Engineering, along with thirty years of experience in Electronics, Semiconductor and Medical Technology fields. I’m the former Founder and CEO of four companies in the semiconductor and medical devices industries with the exits through M&A with private and publicly trading internationally recognized companies. Seasoned in managing international companies and teams across the USA, Europe, and Asia.


Favorite wearable?

Initially, I wanted to know how my activities affect my body. Therefore, I started collecting all sorts of gadgets and devices that measure vital signs to make experiment on myself - but, because none of them were able to provide a sufficient level of information and accuracy, I started to design a technology that will allow me to get the information I was looking for. This was the start of SensoTRACK. Despite a few devices that have interesting features or design; their limitations keep them in a category that does not allow for providing the level of reliability and versatility I’m expecting.


Tech Inside:

Based on STMicroelectronics' STM32L (ARM Cortex-M4), the technology is a combination of light and small sensors (gyroscope and accelerometer from IvenSense) that continuously ready the vital signs. The onboard electronic processing allows to filtering (electro-magnetic, light, and motion artifacts with our proprietary cancellation system using components from OSI Optoelectronics) and analyzes the data trough dedicate advanced algorithms. The hardware device transmits the data via Bluetooth LE (by a Texas Instruments solution) to mobile devices (smartphone or tablet). The mobile application ensures providing the relevant information the proper way at the right time, and allows the user to manage his or her workout sessions, history, calibration, and other parameters that make the applications friendly to use, efficient, and comprehensible. The secured cloud allows real-time, remote monitoring over the web portal, which provide equivalent features that the mobile application. At each step of the storage and transmission, the data is encrypted to keep the eco-system fully secured. The integrated high quality miniaturized speakers add SensoTRACK music listening and virtual coaching capability. The carefully selected battery and its implementation allow for up to twenty-four hours of use for maximum mobility and performance. All technologies combined make SensoTRACK a useful, versatile, and enjoyable device to use on a daily basis.


Most challenging hurdle you had to overcome in creating SensoTRACK?

The proof of our new technological innovation concepts it takes to build a prototype to prove the concept. Having developed smart formulas is not enough these days, it has to be the commercial viability behind.


Advice for a developer that would like to create a wearable product?

Find an unfulfilled need or a better solution to a problem, and focusing on a single core idea. Making a strong concept proof, and keep mastering your domain to stand ahead of the curve and to distinguish yourself. After setting up a good ground, expansion can take place.


What’s the future hold for SensoTRACK?

Medical remote monitoring devices, fitness and wellness monitoring, and importantly, the feedback mechanism based on the data. Future products include offerings for medical, healthcare, and fitness and wellness markets.


To learn more or to become a backer of SensoTRACK, visit their Kickstarter campaign: Wearable Biometric Earphones for Fitness and Health by Sensogram Technologies, Inc. — Kickstarter

As part of ARM Wearables Week - 17 - 21 November 2014 - #ARMWearablesWK we (Lori Kate Smith and me) spoke with Pankaj Kedia, Senior Director and Business Lead for the Wearables Segment at Qualcomm.


Qualcomm are excited about wearables for many reasons not least of which is because most people use one phone per person but everybody can have multiple wearables so it’s a huge market.  How big a market?  If we accept there will be 2 billion smartphones sold per year in in 2018 (ABI data) then simple math tells us that 2 or 3 times that is a very big number.

Pankaj and the folks at Qualcomm believe that over the next 3 to 5 years,  sensors are going to become small enough to disappear on (and in) your body and battery life issues will have faded away to the point that sensors become ubiquitous and are that sixth sense in your life.


For Qualcomm the Internet of Everything (IoE, not IoT) is a major growth priority and they logically categorize IoE devices into those on the body (wearables), in the home, and out in the city.  It’s a simplistic way to describe it, but smart body, smart home and smart city.

For wearables to be successful Pankaj says there are four challenges to address:

  1. Power, depending on use case
  2. Size and integration: CPU, GPU, modem, and other sub-systems in the smallest possible package
  3. Sensors: growing number of sensors and sophistication of algorithms
  4. Connectivity in all forms: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Bluetooth LE, 3G, 4G, NFC, GPS


Luckily Qualcomm has the technology and expertise to address these issues.  You may know that Qualcomm has been a driver of wireless charging standards with their WiPower initiative and as the price level falls it should be in widespread use. To reduce size and cost there is a never ending drive for integrating technology and Qualcomm has already done this with chips that have CPUs, GPU, sensor hub, GPS, Wi-Fi/Bluetooth and LTE in a single package; there is more to come.     Additionally, Qualcomm recently announced the purchase of CSR to round out their connectivity portfolio, further supporting their drive for integration. Finally they believe that ease of use is key to adoption and are working with Google on the Android Wear OS to improve the user experience. All the trends and technologies are coming together to deliver the wearables we want by the billions over time.


Pankaj pointed out that Wearables are really a collection of devices, not one segment:

Qualcomm sees 5 segments of wearables:

  • Wearable cameras (like the GoPro)


  • Glass (see through/ optical; like Google glass or Samsung Gear VR)
  • Smart watches (like this Asus Zenwatch or the Samsung Gear S)

Asus Zenwatch.jpg 

  • Fitness trackers (like the Microsoft Band)


  • Wireless health & Body sensors (shirt/ shoes)
    • Nike shirt  (includes sensors in the price)


Qualcomm invests heavily in research with consumers and enterprises to help them predict the future and particularly what wearables might look like in 3 to 5 years.  Once the data comes in that a market is promising the Qualcomm chipsets and even end user products like the Toq watch come to market.  So following that progression we see Qualcomm innovating with wireless charging (WiPower) and their recently released augmented reality SDK called Vuforia.  If you want to understand the connected world we live in it might pay to follow @Pankajkedia and what’s emerging from @Qualcommlabs.

David Blaza

Wearables at WaRP speed

Posted by David Blaza Nov 21, 2014

As Wearables Week comes to a close I got to talk to Sujata Neidig and Robert Thompson from the Freescale MCU group about their plans for this market. Their take was in line with what we have heard others say and that wearables have been around for a while, activity trackers and watches aren't new, and mainly came from established electronics companies like Samsung and LG. However what is new in this wave of wearables are the crowd funded players like Pebble, Oculus and Avegant. These new companies aren’t coming from the world of traditional hardware design and Freescale thinks they need help understanding the engineering challenges and tradeoffs.  So in response to this need Freescale has announced and is about to ship their WaRP board (Wearable Reference Platform) which you can find details of at WaRPboard.org

WaRP board.jpg

This platform was designed to help designers get to market when they need fast solutions in an evolving and changing market. They can experiment with many variables to figure out how they can differentiate and architect their device.  The WaRPboard.org site is community driven with 20 partners participating to assist in the design elements beyond the Freescale components (like the Maxim PMIC for example). The board is $149 with a main board powered by the iMX6sololite (ARM Cortex-A9) and a daughterboard with the Kinetis KL16 (Cortex-M0+) for sensor integration and wireless charging.  Earlier in the week we noted that very few wearables have adopted wireless charging yet so this might be a tipping point.


The iMX 6SoloLite board runs Android 4.3.1, drives a 1.5” touchscreen, and comes with some standard API’s, Java runtime capable and an open source license with no royalties.It’s a very capable board in a very small form factor even with the daughterboard in place.

Designing the WaRP board was a learning experience for Freescale and the partners it collaborated with so they now know the challenges that wearables designers face (the main board is 12 layers and very compact so that’s a tough design in itself). WaRPboard is an open source platform so you’ll get the design files, reference details and software you need as part of the kit enabling you to design your system fast.


One new example of a wearable is the Garmin Vivosmart (Freescale Kinetis with Cortex-M0+) which looks like a new generation of more capable fitness trackers with a long battery life (up to 7 days).

Garmin vivosmart.png


The WaRPboard is a highly integrated and well thought our platform for wearables designers, what do you think?

We announced last year that Oracle and ARM were working together to leverage mbed as a scalable way for developers to make use of Java ME across a wide range of Cortex-M based devices. Oracle has now announced the availability of a Java ME 8.1 developer version using mbed on the Freescale FRDM-K64F Cortex-M platform. Great to see the benefits from a common mbed software ecosystem for Cortex-M based devices. 


Java ME now available on Cortex-M and mbed


Zach Shelby

I recently discussed the role of security in the Internet of Things industry with the online publication M2M Now. We're making security better and easier to deploy across ARM Cortex-M parts by building security into the fundamentals of the mbed IoT Device Platform. mbed OS has been announced with a built-in uVisor and public-key cryptography called Cryptobox, full TLS and DTLS based communication security, and built-in management of keys, service configuration along with secure firmware update. We're also working with mbed Cloud Partners to provide server-side technology to make use of the security features of mbed OS, as security is always about the end-to-end solution and overall lifecycle management.


Internet of Things industry is right to put security centre stage, says ARM

Wearables are hot, we all know that and as you will read here on the ARM Connected Community this week there is so much happening it’s easy to get caught up in the hype so to get some balance I reached out to Silicon Valley entrepreneur Adam Traidman to get his take.

Adam Traidman wearables 1.0.jpg

Adam is an EE and serial entrepreneur in Silicon Valley who recently researched the Wearables market so I knew he would have some interesting points of view based on his data.

Adam thinks we are still in Wearables 1.0 and will be stuck in it until some of the major hurdles are overcome.  Specifically Adam cited these challenges in the use and adoption of wearables:


  1. Compliance, most wearables get 6 to 8 weeks of use and then are put away in a draw
  2. Hassle factor, charging is a major issue,  Bluetooth headsets have this issue as well
  3. Overtness, they can be seen, not fashionable, do people really want to wear it?
  4. Data problem, for it to be useful it has to be always on and used every day


These 4 issues are all interrelated and taken as a whole they become a significant barrier to adoption. If you want to dig into some academic data on Adam’s points here is a Slideshare from Clemson University wearables researcher Vivian Motti.   Adam has looked some of the early market entrants, for example: Lark was the first sleep monitoring wearable and the first sold in the Apple store, and then came Fitbit, the Jawbone UP, the Nike Fuel band and finally the Misfit Shine.  Adam bought and wore them all at the same time and noted that the data from these devices (on the same person) can be up to 50% off from each other. But perhaps this doesn't really matter since the devices are not all about technology but more about psychology, a tacit reminder to move and exercise and that’s what really matters.


Adam also noted that the social aspect is a huge incentive to act so inaccuracy isn't important as we might think,  it’s all about the delta factor,  the device and app prompted you and then you exercised more today than yesterday so it’s a win-win.


Looking at how the early entrants have fared we can see some stress in the current business model. Lark dropped out of hardware and now just sells sleep management software. Nike has slowed or stopped development of the Fuel band product line while Jawbone has continued to innovate and Misfit are pushing all the style buttons (see pic of the Misfit Shine below).

Misfit Shine.jpg

Interestingly some of these players are addressing the battery issue with one time use coin cell batteries that can last for 6 months (Shine) to a year (Garmin Vivofit, see our teardown) and are removing that hassle factor Adam talked about.


Perhaps the most interesting part of my conversation with Adam was around the business model for these devices,  is selling the hardware for a one time price of $50 to $250 going to work?  Some alternatives to a one time purchase are subscription models similar to the “new phone every 2 years” deal that you can get from your wireless carrier (the AT&T version is called Next).  So rather than buy a wearable and keep it for a few years you subscribe to a service that includes the device and the vendor sends you a new one periodically, maybe before the battery runs out! This way you always have the latest technology and the old device gets recycled so that’s a plus.


This approach may be a better business model for the vendor but what about the compliance issue? Humans need incentives to change their behavior so Adam thinks that vendors who tie their plans to corporate and medical programs with a discount for compliance may be successful.  The health insurer saves money, the employer saves money and at the end of the day the employee is healthier.  This may sound radical but incentive programs by employers and governments to help people stop smoking based on some kind of incentive are not new but tying them to a device is different.


So what’s your take? How much of an incentive do you need to wear a fitness tracker every day?


*obscure pop culture reference to the beating of Dan Rather on Park Avenue in New York, check it out here.

After an intense couple of weeks looking at Wearables you get to see patterns and trends emerging in this market and STMicroelectronics is popping up in a lot of devices so I decided to ask why.  I spoke with Yan Loke who is a Principal Marketing Engineer in Silicon Valley for ST.


ARM Wearables Week is right after the bi-annual Electronica show in Munich and ST, like most electronics companies, were pushing out new products.  At the show ST released the world’s smallest MEMS pressure sensor - the LPS22HB - and now offers an open-source library license for their huge range of MEMS sensors. Yan told me that ST is continually innovating across their vast portfolio of devices and just announced a new ultra-low power MEMS 3D accelerometer and gyro (LSM6DS3) that consumes less than 1mA of current -- when most highly accurate gyro’s draw 4 to 5mA.


This points to what may be a key to ST’s success and that’s the breadth and depth of their semiconductor portfolio.  A quick search across Octopart.com shows that major distributors have thousands of ST parts in stock; DigiKey alone haves over 13,000 ST parts available for immediate shipment. Yan told me that this breadth of portfolio in sensors, power, connectivity and microcontrollers means that ST is in the consideration set for many kinds of designs.


Another tactic that ST uses is offering very inexpensive Dev kits like their Nucleo board (see picture below) which sells for just $15 but is often given away at hands-on training sessions around the world.

Nucleo board.jpg

ST has a range of Nucleo boards, each based on an ARM Cortex-M core, and can be easily programmed with the mbed IDE (video here).  A few weeks ago I posted a blog on EETimes.com showing Dr. Paul Beckmann of DSP Concepts using a Nucleo board in a very cool audio application where he pointed out how easy they are to use.


ST has found a sweet spot by combining their breadth of ARM microcontrollers with their MEMS manufacturing skills and this has had an early impact on the wearables market in many design wins and is perhaps best illustrated in the Pebble watch, which could be described as a “system on a wrist”—and which ST describes as Smart Me.


As we move through ARM Wearables Week it’s really interesting to see how different ARM partners use their heritage and technology expertise to address the wearables market in so many different ways.


What do you think is the perfect combination of tools and hardware to start a wearables design project?

Wearables are about taking the ubiquity of the Internet one step further. With virtually limitless applications in a number of markets, wearable technology represents a huge value proposition and growth - and ARM is right at the center of its emergence and growth.

Check out ARM technology driving the wearable trend.

The driving force behind the wearable technology is the advancement in hardware, both in terms of affordability and practicality. The necessary components are now available at a cost, size and performance that makes innovation of new wearables possible.


ARM industry-leading processor IP and other key building blocks makes it ideally placed to accelerate the mass market adoption of wearables over the next decade.

As of now most wearable devices use smartphone apps to enhance the functionality of the smartphone device for specific purposes. In future we will start seeing IP connected wearable devices enabling new market opportunities.


Requirements for wearables include:

  • Long battery lifetimes
  • Small size
  • Over-The-Air Device Firmware Update
  • Protocol/Application independence
  • Interoperability
  • Mobile phone connectivity
  • IP connectivity

ARM mbed IoT Device Platform addresses all these requirements and  provides the hardware and software building blocks to developers for rapid development of wearable devices.

On the software side mbed OS is designed to run on the diverse range of Cortex-M-based SoCs and microcontrollers that are available from ARM partners, giving many choice in targets that are best suited for creating the next generation of wearable devices. The key features related to wearables include:

  • Automated sophisticated power management enables Ultra-low-power designs.
  • Freely available Bluetooth connectivity stacks.
  • Client libraries for the wearable devices to connect to a smart phones or IP backhaul.

The architecture is based on software components and an application framework that enables high productivity and reuse.


On the hardware side following platforms can be used to rapidly build wearable products


Nordic nRF51822

The nRF51822-mKIT is a low cost ARM mbed enabled development board for Bluetooth® Smart designs with the nRF51822 SoC. The kit gives access to all GPIO pins via pin headers and incorporates a coin-cell battery holder for portability enabling in situ evaluation and test



ARM mbed Bluetooth Low Energy demo (ARM TechCon 2014) - YouTube


RedBearLab BLE Nano

BLE Nano is the smallest Bluetooth 4.1 Low Energy (BLE) platform enables developing a Bluetooth Smart enabled accessory device and companion application is easier than ever. You can quickly produce prototypes and products for Internet of Things (IoT) and other interesting projects. BLE Nano could operate under 1.8V or 3.3V, therefore it works with a lot of electronic components.



Seeed Arch BLE

Arch BLE is an mbed enabled development board based Nordic nRF51822. With Grove connectors, it is extremely easy to create a Bluetooth low energy device.


mbed HRM1017

The Switch Science mbed HRM1017 is FCC and Japan radio type approved Bluetooth low energy development board with the Nordic's nRF51822 SoC. This board is also compatible with nRF51822-mKIT except the 32.768kHz crystal availability.



Nordic nRF51-DK

The nRF51 Development Kit is a single-board development kit for Bluetooth Smart, ANT and 2.4GHz proprietary applications using the nRF51 Series SoC. This kit supports both development for both nRF51822 and nRF51422 SoCs.

The kit gives access to all I/O and interfaces via connectors and has 4 LEDs and 4 buttons which are user-programmable. A range of software examples are available from the nRF51 SDK to support Bluetooth Smart, ANT and 2.4GHz applications.


Nordic nRF51-Dongle

The nRF51-Dongle is a development tool for making Bluetooth Smart, ANT and 2.4GHz applications using the nRF51 Series SoCs. It has a standard USB connector and can be plugged directly into a PC USB port. Additionally there is a user-programmable RGB LED and 6 solder pads for GPIO/interface connections.


You can rely on the ARM mbed IoT device platform and our partner ecosystem to deliver the right size fit for your wearable application. Check out more at mbed.com

We are now quite a long way through the ARM Wearable Week. We held an interesting webinar with our friends at Omate (archived version here), David Blaza has been reporting on a series of ARM-based teardowns such as the Xiaomi Mi Band and Diya Soubra has been sharing his thoughts about how technology can help with sleep deprivation……something I desperately need.


I decided to take a slightly different tack. I am writing and uploading this as I return from New York where I attended an event organized by DecodedFashion. This pioneering company have been looking at the opportunity and intersection of fashion and technology for three years and host events that help bring these two ecosystems together. The event engaged fashion designers, retailers and wearable OEMs. As someone that has contributed to ballet dancing as much as fashion, I felt old…and uncool…….something I hear from my kids on a regular basis, but I digress!




I wanted to share some themes that came out of this event

  • Technology needs to be invisible
  • The products that will be successful will be from technology companies that partner up with fashion houses. The first priority has to be for the garments and wearables to be visually pleasing
  • 85% of fashion is, today, still bought in-store, but retailers are starting to connect on-line and the in-store experiences. On-line activities leading to purchases in retailers…and vice versa…..but engaging with consumers across those transitions is vital
  • There is a big focus from the fashion industry of designing new, from scratch. mobile applications and not just migrating webpages developed for a PC to display on a phone. Think about interacting via NFC with tagged items in stores etc.


There were three thought-provoking products I thought worthy of mentioning

  • Kairos TBand: This company has a smartwatch but this week, launched a smart watch strap (my words…there is probably a better term. Picture above). By partnering with watch manufacturers, a regular strap can be swapped out for a smart element. Upgrades then occur as simply as changing the strap
  • Rebecca Minkoff has opened a new store where the consumer can engage via their smartphone to select goods, get recommendations, purchase from the changing room etc. Quite incredible the advancements going on and what they have planned to move this further forward too. Is this the future of retail?
  • WearableExperiments, an Australian company, presented has just released a series of jackets (see image above) that embed technology into the shoulders of a jacket. The owner can transfer map information from the smartphone to the jacket. The wearer gets a “tap” on your shoulder to indicate when to turn left or right…Imagine using that while walking the streets of London or Paris or Hong Kong. WearableExperiments use similar techniques deployed in medical applications.The electronics are sealed to enable it to be washed, it is charged wirelessly.


I walked away thinking that this is a space that will be (positively) disrupted by technology. It will take time. The fashion industry is focused on embracing technology in other ways before than pushing hard to get it integrated into garments or onto wrists. But there are definitely opportunities for forward-thinking companies (Cute Circuit would be one example) that are willing to invest and develop products for this industry. As for ARM’s engagement in this area…well, that is something for a subsequent blog.


I hope you found this interesting. Please let me know your thoughts.



ARM Wearables Week is in full swing and serendipitously I got to talk to Pat Sullivan of Atmel about their role in wearables and got an interesting take on design trends.


Pat is VP of Marketing for the Atmel MCU group and was previously at ST and Broadcom so he knows this market well. I say serendipitously because Atmel just announced their SAM L21 family of extremely low power devices based on the ARM Cortex-M0+ core. Atmel’s L21 has an impressive set of low power specs while running the EEMBC CoreMark® benchmark and the processor can go into deep sleep mode and draw only 200nA. Low power is a big deal in wearables as we have been hearing all week and its vital for products like the Narrative Clip (Atmel ARM9 based) which is meant to chronicle your life in thousands of pictures (a pursuit called lifelogging for the uninitiated).

Narrative clip.png

Coincidentally Atmel won the main processor socket in the Wearables Week teardown #2, Cardio Runner from TomTom featured today with their SAM4S (Cortex-M4) so they are clearly getting traction.

According to Pat, Atmel has been targeting the wearable market for a while by offering a range of ARM-based processors from the Cortex-M0+ (like the L21) for ultra-low power designs all the way up to the SAMA5 (Cortex-A5) which can run Android and 720p video. Atmel has also been bolstering their wireless portfolio for the connectivity piece of the puzzle with the recent acquisitions of Ozmo (low power Wi-Fi) and Newport Media (for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth).  So the remaining piece of the wearables design puzzle is Sensors and Atmel has chosen to partner with companies and offer a sensor hub solution rather than produce their own which has produced a noteworthy collaboration with Bosch Sensortec. Earlier in the week when I spoke to Stacy Wegner of analyst firm TechInsights, she noted the trend towards sensor integration to save board space, power and cost and the 9-Axis Bosch BNO055 is a perfect manifestation of this trend. This SiP (system in package) device has an Atmel SAM D20 (Cortex-M0+ core) at its heart and has an accelerometer, gyroscope and geomagnetic sensor in tiny 5.2x3.8x1.1mm format.


Pat made the point that in this market, designers might start with the sensor or the processor which for those of us who grew up in the embedded space, designs always started with the processor so this is a very different approach. My take is that you will see during ARM Wearables Week many of the new wearable products coming to market were born out of Kickstarter and Incubator projects where we see new designers (like the Pebble guys) who aren't steeped or grew up in the folkloric world of microcontrollers. For example check out this hot Atmel based Kickstarter New Wearable Kickstarter Product: Arki by ZIKTO believes every movement matters.  If you were going to design a wearable device where would you start: with the sensor or the controller?

In support of ARM Wearables Week, I browsed Kickstarter for active ARM-based wearable campaigns and it wasn't hard to find one that was using one of our ARM Partner's technology. Below is the second (here's the first New Wearable Kickstarter Product: Pip, a GPS and activity tracker for dogs and cats) crowdfunding wearable project I will be featuring this week.

Arki ARM based wearable.png

But, are you walking right?


ZIKTO is taking the wearable fitness tracker to the next level with their new Kickstarter project, Arki. Many of us today (some might not admit to it or are even aware of it) have bad walking habits during our daily activities. Arki focuses on the quality of your walking behavior to ensure you walk better and more balanced. The band's technology analyzes the size of your swing arcs, rhythm and its frequencies to detect your habits and will gently vibrate if it detects bad posture.


Besides it being your personal walking coach and fitness tracker (steps, calories, sleeping patterns), the smarts in the band will utilize your unique walking pattern and can be used as a biometric authentication so you can unlock your personal gadgets and control your smart home devices. Their Kickstarter page uses the Nest thermostat as an example - once Arki detects you sleeping, your smart thermostat will turn down to your ideal temperature. This is an example of what we all ultimately hope IoT solutions will one day do for us, by having all of our smart devices communicating to one and another to make our lives easier.



Like many of the wearable bands on the market today, the smarts are not in the actual band itself. Arki understands this and has created it to be a fashion accessory by giving you the ability to interchange the straps - even creating a partnership with MOREE, a 100% handmade thread bracelet which will appeal to a much larger audience.

Arki is looking for your help to bring them to market - they have raised nearly $80,000 of their $100,000 Kickstarter campaign goal with a bit more than a month to go. You can be one of the first to own an Arki for a $99 pledge.

I had the opportunity to pick the brain of Shawn Kim, their Co-Founder and CTO.

Arki Shawn Kim.png

Developer Background:

Bio-mechanics engineer. I’ve created a mathematical model for humans walking, which machines can understand. Prior, I worked at SK Telecom in South Korea, and developed B2B security solutions.


Favorite wearable?

Arki of course!


Tech Inside:

Arki adapts a six-axis motion sensor (3-axis gyroscope and 3-axis accelerometer) from InvenSense that analyzes your arm swing patterns while you are walking with machine learning technology from the firmware.


We have built a prototype with Atmel SAM4LS (ARM Cortex-M4), and Nordic's Bluetooth low energy solution.


Most challenging hurdle you had to overcome in creating Arki?

Power dissipation and size. Power dissipation is always the biggest issue in wearable devices. With the limited size of a battery, we carefully have to design our firmware not to waste the battery as much as possible.


Advice for a developer that would like to create a wearable product?

Your service/algorithm may not be complicated as you think, many ultra-low power microprocessors can handle the job instead of high-end DSPs. You have to precisely and carefully select a microprocessor and the ARM Cortex-M0 will gratefully do the job for you.


What's next for Arki?

Our next goal is have a more complicated engine to classify more behaviors, beyond walking.

To learn more or to become a backer of Arki, visit their Kickstarter campaign: Arki: Your Walking Coach by ZIKTO — Kickstarter 

At Teardown.com we have over 100 wearable and wellness devices that we have analyzed over the past couple years in our library. Like many, we have been fascinated by the emergence of wearable devices and their ability to be integrated into our daily lives, improving health, collaboration, and further quantifying ourselves.


Motorola Moto 360 Heart Rate App


Features – Who Was First

At Teardown.com we have kept every device we have torn down over the past 15 years. This allows us to dust off a few boxes in our ‘device morgue’ to determine which wearable device really started the feature race. One of our early candidates that may just be the grandpappy of today’s wearable phenomenon is the Casio WQV-2 wrist watch with a built-in camera we tore down…way, way back in the 2000!


Casio WQV-2 Camera Wrist Watch


In 2009, OEMs started getting more aggressive like the limited release of the LG GD910 Watch Phone. The LG GD910 was not the first cell phone wrist watch, but it was first to bring so many functions into only 90grams - voice calling, 3G data, a touchscreen display supported by Synaptics, a Broadcom BCM2046 for Bluetooth, and yes, a camera for photos and video calls.


LG GD910 Watch Phone


Today’s Wearable Device

We have made a couple of observations over the last couple of years regarding the more recent wearable devices.


First, most have better rechargeable batteries than the Casio watches in the early 2000s. Second, new wearables are jam packed with more sensors from heart rate and pulse oximeters to accelerometers like the 3-axis accelerometer BMA250 from Bosch Sensortec or combination sensors like the 9-axis LSM9DS0 from STMicroelectronics. And no matter how few or many sensors are designed into a wearable device, they are required to connect to a RISC microcontroller or processor, such an Atmel AVR ATmega168PA or an ARM based controller.


Being part of the Internet of Everything most Wearables have Bluetooth connectivity, with no noticeable dominant player. Texas Instruments, STMicroelectronics, Nordic, CSR, Qualcomm, and of course, Broadcom have all appeared in Bluetooth spots for multiple devices. Some of the wearable devices are using WiFi and Bluetooth combination ICs like the BCM4334.


To read this blog in its entirety, please visit Where Will Wearables Take Us? at Teardown.com

Fitbit One.jpg

Teardown with iFixit at Makerfaire Bay Area 2014 showcasing ARM-based FitBit One - an activity, plus sleep tracker device. 


ARM Inside: STMicroelectronics STM32L 151 (ARM Cortex-M3),



Teardown with iFixit at Makerfaire Bay Area 2014 showcasing the ARM-based Motorola ACTV - a GPS fitness tracker and smart music player combined into a small, wearable device.


ARM Inside: Motorola SoC TI OMAP3 (3630) ARM Cortex-A8 CPU


A 'smart' device isn't smart if you can only control it locally. What good is that? You need the ability to control your devices remotely. And that's where remote configuration comes into play. Remote configuration enables developers and users to trigger actions and control their devices from anywhere. The device state interprets a signal that is transferred through a network (in this case, PubNub), and is interpreted to permanently change the state of a device (like a light bulb turning from off to on).



A Messaging Layer for Remote Configuration


In this tutorial, we'll show you how to make remote configuration a reality for [Atmel based] Arduino connected devices. In developing, we came across two issues.

  1. The need to detect the device state of all connected devices (eg. online/offline status) in realtime
  2. The state of the devices connected to the cloud


The first one can easily be solved using the Presence API, so let's focus on the second issue. We'll be using Storage & Playback to store and retrieve the state of connected devices for a home automation solution. In this case, we'll be able to control smart devices remotely, sending signals in realtime. A typical example of a state will be a JSON object looking like this:



     {"CoffeeAmount: Half"},    

{"Temperature":"45"} ]}

Overall Procedure for Arduino Remote Configuration


  • Sign up for a free PubNub account. In doing so, you'll get your unique publish/subscribe keys which you'll use to initiate PubNub. These keys can be found in the Developer's Console.
  • Publish messages through the PubNub IoT Network using Arduino to control smart devices.
  • Access these messages through a web browser.


Onto the tutorial!


Step 1: Connect to PubNub


Say we want to control the temperature on a refrigerator. The following parameters can be stored as the state of the device, for example, seeing if the door is open/closed, temperature, power consumption, and even volume of our fridge.


arduino remote configuration home automation Run this on the Arduino IDE, and check out the tutorial on connecting PubNub to Arduino in 2 steps for more details.

Step 2: Create a JSON Object in Arduino


To create a json object in Arduino, we use the JSON.h library. The above JSON object can be created using the following:

aJsonObject *msg = aJson.createObject();

     aJson.addStringToObject(msg, "name", "Arduino");

     aJson.addNumberToObject(msg, "TemperatureOutside", 34);

Step 3: Signaling Devices


Other than that, it’s just about publishing a message using the Arduino IDE. The following code lets you do just that:

byte mac[] = { 0xDE, 0xAD, 0xBE, 0xEF, 0xFE, 0xED };

char pubkey[] = "demo";

char subkey[] = "demo";

char channel[] = "devices_state";


//setup void setup()



     Serial.println("Serial set up");


     while (!Ethernet.begin(mac)) {

          Serial.println("Ethernet setup error");



          Serial.println("Ethernet set up");


          PubNub.begin(pubkey, subkey);

          Serial.println("PubNub set up");



// establishing internet connection to the Arduino and publishing the state void loop()




          EthernetClient *client;

          client = PubNub.publish(channel, msg);

          if (!client) {

               Serial.println("publishing error");

          } else {

               client->stop(); }



And one more thing, what if we were able to check the state of devices in simply a web browser? Paste the code below in a browser console and watch the state be filled in.

// Initialize with Publish & Subscribe Keys


var pubnub = PUBNUB.init({     

     publish_key: 'PUBLISH_KEY_HERE',     

     subscribe_key: 'SUBSCRIBE_KEY_HERE',     

     uuid: 'devices_state'



// Retrieving the messages that have been published on to this channel using History.



     channel: 'history_channel',     

     callback: function(m){console.log(JSON.stringify(m))},



That's it! Just a note, PubNub doesn't limit the number of messages that you can publish or retrieve via history. You can try this out with as many Arduinos as you want, and check their state remotely.


The use cases are endless for remote configuration, from agriculture to shipping and logistics, to home automation. It gives you complete control over your smart devices from anywhere on Earth, and that’s powerful.

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