In terms of market analysis, wearable devices have been expected to achieve high growth, but there is a high degree of segmentation in this industry, so it is difficult to predict which types of products will have a good sales momentum. It has been made clear that wearable devices are similar to smart phones and belong to the product of technology integration. Here is an obvious example of the progress in sensor design. These advances have achieved fitness wristbands and fitness tracker products that can monitor many overall movement indicators, including direction and spatial positioning, as well as speed and duration. They can provide users with a large amount of data and potentially become professional training tools, not just toys purchased by consumers – therefore, in MOLEX, we think these products have a good market prospect.
Similarly, in the medical field, the progress of sensor technology has realized 24-hour remote patient monitoring through wearable devices. Such devices are lightweight, comfortable to wear and often unnoticeable. The reason why we think such products have good prospects is that this “telemedicine” trend can provide effective patient care at a relatively low cost.
Hearing aid is a very common medical wearable device. Molex is currently a leader in this market. In addition to the built-in micro connector, MOLEX also provides waterproof and corrosion-resistant magnetic charging solutions for hearing aids.
Users require this kind of equipment to be highly reliable and quite solid, but it should also be lightweight and encapsulated into a series of functions. They also want the battery to have a longer battery life and be very small. This will naturally bring severe design challenges to manufacturers. For example, in MOLEX, we are engaged in the design and manufacture of antennas. So how do engineers package at least two or three antennas into a device about the size of a watch? We think we already have some answers.
Wearable device manufacturers are seeking various ways to miniaturize components in small space while maintaining high reliability. Molex’s expert experience and solutions can help customers cope with extreme design challenges in this naturally price sensitive product category.
In the answer to the first question, it has been pointed out that advanced sensor design is the core of wearable device innovation, while Molex’s soligie printed sensor has all the advantages of making various components and interconnection systems on low-cost flexible substrates such as plastic, paper and metal foil. This can be a major advantage in the design of miniaturized medical devices. Conductive silver ink can then be used to add components to form a circuit. The high-precision rolling (R2R) high-speed printing process adopted by soligie solution can achieve the result completely equivalent to copper circuit, reduce the manufacturing process and materials used and reduce the cost.
Molex is also a leader in molding interconnection equipment / laser direct molding (mid / LDS) technology. In this regard, functional electronic components will be integrated into three-dimensional thermoplastic packaging, so as to obtain compact and lightweight high-performance equipment. LDS usually uses three-axis laser to establish routing on the mid surface formed with special catalytic resin. The resulting mid solution usually includes components such as antenna and sensor interface. The technology used in their engineering design includes electroplating perforation, through hole and pad.
Molex’s mid / LDS technology can support applications that need miniaturization and weight reduction. In addition, the technology can also achieve a very fast development cycle and improve the degree of freedom of design. Typical applications include the implementation of sensor devices and antennas. The design of this technology can bring high cost-effectiveness to the production of wearable devices.
Molex provides a wide range of high-performance RF antennas, which are easy to use and have a variety of shape coefficients to meet the requirements of all common antenna protocols and antenna frequencies. The product includes ultra-thin ceramic antenna and mid / LDS antenna, which is suitable for embedding Internet and data connection into compact equipment.
Devices such as cameras and laptops contain dense electronic components, but are constrained in space. Flexible connection is usually used as a convenient alternative to traditional wiring. Naturally, this method is also applicable to the relatively new product category of wearable devices. Molex’s FFC (flexible flat cable) – FPC (flexible printed circuit) connector provides a pitch range of 0.20 ~ 2.00 mm, with pure signal integrity in a compact and lightweight design. The product meets the design requirements of a variety of applications, including wearable devices. In such devices, miniaturization and high reliability must be well combined. This kind of ultra-fine pitch small-size ffc-fpc connector provides a series of driving forms, including ZIF, LIF, slider and flip actuators, which support high bandwidth data rate at very low cost.
Similarly, MOLEX’s slimstack board to board connector can meet the requirements of low profile miniaturization. Its pitch size is as low as 0.35 mm, the insertion height is only 0.60 mm, and the width is as narrow as 2.00 mm, so it is ideal for ultra compact wearable devices.