Android first Wearable devices tear down

Image

Image

 

Anandtech just posted info about what is inside the first Android wearable devices.

Android wearable technology is a bit of dissapointment for me and lost me when I learned that inside they have only 400mAh battery which you have to re-charge every night.

Also they cost almost as new Chrome book $200-250 retail. I bit high price for actually nothing but remote LCD with touchscreen, attached to your Android phone or tablet.

Android Wearable devices can’t operate stand alone nor you can run code on them, you just receive push notifications and look for return actions like tap, slide on the LCD.

So inside they have LCD with touchscreen, small buzzer and Bluetooth Low Energy, all this controlled with x4 core Cortex-A7 device 🙂 same functionality probably could be done with 8 bit PIC? As one friend says the bloat-ness of the software is in reverse relation with the power of the hardware, the powerful hardware you get more bloated become the software running on it.

By wearable technology first I was thinking for cool sensors which are attached to your wrest and measure your temperature, blood pressure, pulse, your motion activity, siting pose in the front of the computer, ekg, eeg, check your breath for alcohol and log all this info so it could be later used to make your health profile and give you recommendation what and how to improve, so far these first wearable devices do not impress me.

New Product in stock: OLIMEXINO-NANO wearable Arduino Leonardo clone

Image

In October I blogged for our new Arduino clone: The NANO with size only 30x30x8 mm.

Well we have them all three in stock now!

OLIMEXINO-NANO is the core module with USB micro connector, the stackable connectors for shields and UEXT to connect our many UEXT modules like BMP085, MPU6050, HMC5883L, Zigbee, temperature, magnetometers etc. etc.

OLIMEXINO-BB is stackable shield which allow you to connect NANO to Breadboard-1

OLIMEXINO-BAT is shield which contain Lithium 3V battery, connector for LiPo battery and on board charger.

The power supply for NANO is made very intelligently and as soon you connect LiPo it will take power from there, if the USB is connected the batteries are disconnected and start charging them.

We have two more modules which will be ready in few weeks:

  • EUR 10 Bluetooth 4.0 BLE shield which will allow the wearable NANO to be connected to iPhones without licensee issues or to Android phones with Bluetooth 4.0 and will allow interactions with phones and tablets with different sensors connected to NANO
  • EUR 22 GSM/GPRS 4 band shield with external antenna which will add connectivity via GSM

The NANO shield concept is that the connectors are SMT type and stackable, on bottom there is male connector, on top is female connector so you can stack as many shield as you want together.

Experimenting with low power modes and Arduino

Image

Tero Koskinen recently did interesting experiments exploring how low power he can go with Arduino. http://arduino.ada-language.com/saving-power-with-avr-ada.html

He made setup with 5 boards to test:

  • original Arduino Duemilanove
  • original Arduino UNO
  • Olimexino-328 clone
  • Arduino DIY PTH kit from Sparkfun
  • Diavolino from Evil Mad Scientist

He correctly shut down all not used peripherials, Brown-Out-Detection, slowed down the CPU speed and used Power Saving modes.

the results were:

Device Current
Duemilanove 7.50mA
UNOr3 18.10mA
Olimexino-328 4.00mA
Sparkfun PTH Kit 7.60mA
Diavolino 0.50mA

 

Diavolino have nothing but the AVR so obviously is winner with this setup with only 0.5mA consumption.

Wait if there is no power regulator where these 0.5mA go when AVR is put in low power mode?

Looking at the schematic  you can see R1 RESET pullup 10K resistor which is connected to 5V -> 5V/10K = 0.5mA the whole consumption is taken by R1!!!

 

Then let’s see OLIMEXINO-328 the second place with 4mA (outch!) this board is promoted by OLIMEX as SUPER DUPER LOW POWER BOARD then why these bad results? Where these  4mA go?

The answer is obvious: Tero is powering OLIMEXINO-328 by the POWER JACK.

In our design we assume if the power come from the power jack it’s unlimited and we can waste it as much as we need – charging Lipo (if attached) etc.

So these 4mA are taken from the DCDC in the input.

If Tero wanted to see how OLIMEXINO-328 shines in low power he should have powered the board by the battery connector. When the power is applied to battery OLIMEXINO-328 is very humble and will need less 20 micro ampers 0.02 mA to operate!

How this is done? If we look at the schematic we will see that there is no RESET pull-up, but the RESET is done by tricky circuit with R12/R13/SD5/C7/C8 this schematic have zero consumption but still perform RESET functionality.

Also unltra-low-power LDO which needs just 3 micro amps to operate MCP1700T-3302E/MB is used for power regulator.

This makes possible complete Arduino to may keep working while consuming less 20 micro amps.

What 20 micro amps consumption means? If you use our standard LiPo 1400 mAh battery your board can work 70 000 hours or 3 years!

The other boards: Sparkfun kit 7.6 mA, Duemilanove 7.5mA and UNO 18.1 mA just use cheap voltage regulators which take this current, but it’s OK they have not been designed to be low power.

What is the conclusion: with right setup (powering from battery) OLIMEXINO-328 is the lowest power Arduino solution on the market! When we add to the low power the industrial temperature operation range -25+85C and the possibility to work with any input voltages from 9 to 30VDC, OLIMEXINO-328 is the most sophisticated board with many features while keeping the price reasonable.

New Open Source Project – Wearable ECG-EKG for 24h monitoring

Image

We got interesting e-mail few days ago. Scott Andersson who is member of Olimex community and helped with our initial OLinuXino WIKI data structure suggested interesting idea.

He was following the new OLIMEXINO-NANO announcement and decided that it may be good base to make wearable ECG-EKG shield which to allow 24 hours ECG monitoring.

We already have some experience with OpenEEG which is one of the very first Open Source Hardware projects and I though that one such shield will be very useful to have.

Many people in Bulgaria and I guess the situation is same worldwide suffer from Heart diseases, and creating low cost ECG monitor which to may collect and log ECG data for 24 hours and later to allow this information to be downloaded visualized and analysed may help to diagnose in advance and take proper treatment for many heart diseases.

Scott have experience with ECG, so he offered help with the hardware design.

We will take care with the shield PCB layout, prototypes and low level firmware.

The target is to design and build low cost wearable device which:

  • use 3 electrodes ECG system
  • allow up to 24 hours monitoring
  • thin, small and compact size – chest stripe which anyone can wear under his/her cloths
  • logging to SD-card
  • LiPo battery with re-charging via USB or external adapter
  • data download via USB
  • galvanic isolation between USB and board
  • optional BLE Bluetooth Low energy wireless link which to allow apps from Android and iPhone to download the info from the device and do analyze/view
  • optional Pulse oximeter wither with finger or ear sensor

so far wiki page is created for this project where information is collecting https://www.olimex.com/wiki/NANO-ECG/EKG

Anyone with interest and knowledge in this area is welcome to join the efforts!

Our Forum, IRC channel and Wiki are going to be used as media for discussions around this project.