With all the excitement surrounding Google Glass and the rumored Apple watch, wearable technology is on the cusp of becoming mainstream. Because of this, the need for technologies capable of knowing what the body is doing has become more important than ever before. Fortunately, there are companies that have plenty of experience creating just such technologies.
Invensense is one such company. In fact, the California-based chipmaker has already developed a single chip that combines accelerometer, gyroscope and compass functionality. These functions are able to work accurately despite sharing the same silicon by way of Invensense's own firmware and a set of algorithms that enable everything to work in harmony.
Furthermore, about 70 percent of all Android handsets sport Invensense technology, while the company's Human Interface Device and User-Mode Driver motion sensing solutions can be found in multiple Teir-1 Ultrabook and tablets running Windows 8 and Windows RT. In other words, Inensense is among the most qualified companies to transfer this sort of motion sensing technology to wearable devices.
Right now, this technology is mostly used to let users better interact with mobile games by moving their mobile device around, with the combination of accelerometer, compass and gyroscope enabling a smooth, responsive experience. However, this very same chip can also tell if a person is walking, biking, swimming or even skiing.
Interestingly, this same technology can even be found in a screwdriver from Black and Decker, which can alter the speed it screws or unscrews based on the movements of the user's hand. Likewise, this chip could possibly detect the speed and incline of a skier when embedded in a pair of ski goggles. And that's just the technology currently available.
Invensense is taking part in Mobile World Congress this week, demonstrating new advances in its motion sensing technology, including contextual awareness and health and fitness monitoring, optical image stabilization, indoor navigation, and Motion UI, which tracks user motion in free space, delivering those motions as input commands. In other words, it seems that wearable technology certainly won't be held back by the current level of motion sensing technology.