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Tech Trends

Uses for Wearable Devices

People are flocking to a convention center outside Tokyo to experience the latest IT and digital technologies. There's always plenty to take in at the event known as CEATEC Japan. But this year, many are paying attention to "wearable devices" -- especially ones focused on healthcare.

Some are glasses...Other devices are watches. Crowds rush to see wearable devices in the exhibit hall. They are fast becoming a part of our daily lives.

Children, too, can enjoy them. A sensor built-in to the wristband measures the changing speed and angle of one's swing and the matching sound effect is played by the smartphone.

This bandage-type sensor is one of many devices for the healthcare market that's under development. When applied to the skin, it measures body surface temperature.

Such small devices are made possible by miniaturizing the communication module. The one above is the usual size, and the one below is a miniaturized version.

The central and peripheral parts of the module were separated and laid out on two layers of thin substrate to achieve such a small size.

"The companies' parts are quite similar, so the key factor will be how small they can make their products."
Seiichiro Hifumi / Manager, TDK

This shirt can measure the heart beat and display the data. Special fibers are attached to the inside of the shirt.

The fiber is coated with a type of plastic that conducts electricity.

The fiber can detect the heart's subtle electrical impulses. This is sent through the transmitter and the heart rate and cardiograms are displayed on the mobile device.

"For the heart rate function, we're targeting people who are sports enthusiasts. The electrocardiogram being developed is a medical application."
Shinji Yamamoto / NTT Docomo

Smaller, lighter. The competition rages on among companies to develop wearable devices that will make people forget they're even wearing one.

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