Whether you’re tracking your steps with smart wearable devices or recording your sleep time with them, you’ll want your device to be accurate and easy to use. This article will take the common wearable device as an example to introduce the general test phase before it is put into the market. In addition, we will also discuss the specific aspects of some special types of equipment.
As we all know: the integration of hardware and software, and how they can interact smoothly, is one of the important links of quality assurance (QA). When we test wearable devices, we should focus on whether they have faster and more seamless integration quality.
1. Material testing
Material testing often occurs in the prototype and sample manufacturing stages. We generally adopt the following types of material testing:
Chemical testing: this involves the detection of potentially irritating or harmful chemicals. These substances may be found in certain parts of wearable devices, such as shoes, which are strictly prohibited by local laws in various countries.
Mechanical / physical testing: this test ensures that all components in the equipment are properly interconnected, especially for wear resistance testing.
Performance testing: this aspect of testing focuses on testing whether the equipment meets the quality standards set by the company, including whether the equipment has anti friction and anti compression ability under extreme weather conditions.
2. Hardware test
Let’s take a look at the types of hardware tests for wearable devices:
Wireless testing: wireless testing involves speed, correctness / accuracy, and integrity of information transmitted via WiFi and Bluetooth.
Battery life cycle test: this test refers to the whole process of battery life from being installed in the factory to complete discharge. We can test the battery in various modes of the device, such as flight mode. It is important to understand and measure the battery duration in the device, because in wearable products such as sports shoes, we can’t replace the battery.
Electrical safety test: since these devices are often in direct contact with the user’s skin, the purpose of this test is to ensure that the user does not have any risk of electric shock or burn during use.
3. Firmware test
Firmware testing is mainly aimed at the operational software and integrated data level of wearable devices. The test types include:
Usability testing: it is aimed at the user’s first-hand experience, involving: through their real interaction with the device, and then analyzing the gap between the actual results of the device and the user’s expectations.
Compatibility test: it mainly deals with the connection and mutual call between various devices and platforms.
Data / database integrity test: it will verify whether the data can be correctly stored and ensure that the data will not be damaged when the device is updated or restored.
Security test: this kind of test includes how to protect the data and information related to the user’s privacy stored in the device media, so as to avoid all kinds of data leakage and eliminate security risks.
4. External software integration test
This kind of test is to detect the interaction between various mobile applications and their wearable devices. It usually occurs in the beta test phase of a product, aiming at some given feature sets, such as the beats or steps collected per minute.
In addition, we can also test the compatibility of various functional updates with older versions, and whether they will cause data loss in storage. It can be seen that once a bug is detected (for example, it is automatically returned to zero after 120000 steps), we should repair it in time at this stage.
The following is a list of some typical companies in this field, as well as their ongoing projects and tests. I hope you can select the appropriate test cases from them.
Athos: This is a company testing complex intelligent equipment for professional athletes. Using surface electromyography (sEMG), they were able to measure different levels of fitness in a group, both men and women.
Applause: they’re working on a very interesting project, which is to synchronize the app with wearable devices, record the words and sentences that babies can hear all day long, and track their progress in learning to speak through analysis.
Orpyx: they use wearable devices to track and detect diseases that may cause irreversible damage to the body, such as diabetes, so as to change the real life habits of patients.
Qamicrosoft: this company from San Francisco is testing smart shoes, fitness bracelets, and clothing for professional athletes.
In addition to the wearable devices such as fitness bracelets and smart shoes designed for professional athletes, some companies are using their unique scientific methods and professional technical equipment to save the lives of patients in critical times (such as stroke).
For example, the American orpyx company mentioned above uses various types of soles to track the neuropathy of diabetic patients, thus preventing the ulcer and deterioration of diabetic foot. If the patient’s pressure level reaches the dangerous range, the matching smart watch will send a signal to remind the patient to change the posture of the foot. In the testing of such products, they found some real patients for trial, so as to ensure the effectiveness of these soles in various environments, the ability of data tracking, and the actual improvement of patients’ health.
Although the testing of wearable devices involves many aspects, in order to ensure the seamless integration of the device itself and its corresponding app, we need to do a good job of crowd testing. That is: through some unpredictable scene experience, we can find various potential bugs, and then ensure that these bugs will not affect the normal behavior and life of end users.
Today, some companies are creating different wearable devices according to their own technical specifications and are conducting various tests under their own supervision; others are conducting various professional tests for leading products in the industry. Either way, they need to combine the current market, especially some of the common methods mentioned above, to ensure that the product can achieve the established function and effect at every complex stage of development.