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Wearable Sensors 2016-2026: Market Forecasts, Technologies, Players

Wearable Sensors 2016-2026: Market Forecasts, Technologies, Players

Shedding light on the components enabling wearable technology

This report provides detailed descriptions of the sensor types that dominate wearable technology products today, and emerging sensor types that will dominate in the future. Many product types have risen through the peak of the wearable technology hype curve in the last five years before beginning the slide to disillusionment. The common feature with all of them is the prominence of sensor options as the key enabler for their most useful functions. Sensors collect data about the physical and chemical properties of the body and local environment, and use it to feed algorithms which output insightful information. With coverage of all of the prominent incumbent sensors and the most promising emerging options, the report concludes that there will be 3 billion wearable sensors by 2025, with over 30% of them being new types of sensors that are just beginning to emerge.

The report groups sensors in prominent categories, as follows:

  • Inertial measurement units (IMUs - including accelerometers, gyroscopes, magnetometer and barometers)
  • Optical sensors (including optical heart rate monitoring, PPG and cameras)
  • Wearable electrodes
  • Chemical sensors
  • Flexible stretch/pressure/impact sensors
  • Temperature sensors
  • Microphones
  • Other emerging wearable sensors
For each sensor, the technologies and major players are described, backed up by detailed interviews and company profiles of key bodies in each sector. The report also views the big picture, discussing the implications of sensor fusion and the relative merits of each sensor type for various applications. This extensive primary research is used to produce detailed market forecasts for each sensor type over the next decade. Market data is provided for the growth of each sensor type, and is used to illustrate key trends that are observable in various application sectors.

Growth rates summary for each sensor type

Sensor trends are tied to key market sector trends for wearable technology, building on IDTechEx's extensive analysis of 800 active players in the wearable technology space. Many of the most prominent wearable technology trends are closely tied to the properties and limitations of sensor systems. Case studies are used to illustrate the most prominent examples, including regulatory implications for healthcare systems, ease of commoditisation in infotainment devices and the possibilities presented by sensor fusion.

Sensors are the most diverse component type in wearable devices, and they also enable the key functions that will make wearable devices be worn. Advances with wearable sensors are a vital driver for the future of wearable technology. Their incorporation alongside new energy harvesting and storage techniques, efficient power management systems and low power computing, in form factors that will be increasingly flexible, fashionable and invisible will drive significant growth in the wearable technology market over the next 10 years.

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1.1. Monitoring the human body - sensors for wearable devices, arranged by signal type
1.2. Standing out from the wearables crowd
1.2.1. The story so far: IMUs dominate
1.2.2. New sensor options enabling greater market penetration
1.2.3. Sensor fusion
1.3. Key market sectors
1.3.1. Healthcare: the largest opportunities for new sensors
1.3.2. Infotainment: already prominent, but most prone to commoditization
1.3.3. Commercial, industrial, military use: some of the best use cases
2.1. Scope and definitions
2.1.1. What is a sensor?
2.1.2. Defining 'wearable sensors'
2.2. Market size for sensors in wearable technology
2.2.1. Revenue forecast (in USD)
2.2.2. Units forecast
2.3. Forecasts by sensor category
2.3.1. Inertial measurement units
2.3.2. Wearable electrodes
2.3.3. Optical sensors
2.3.4. Stretch, pressure and related flexible sensors
2.3.5. Chemical sensors
2.3.6. Other sensors
3.1. Introduction to MEMS
3.1.1. A brief history of MEMS
3.1.2. Manufacturing techniques
3.1.3. MEMS industry players
3.1.4. The speed of development in the MEMS industry
3.2. Accelerometers
3.3. Gyroscopes
3.3.1. Overcoming power consumption challenges with gyroscopes
3.4. Magnetometers
3.4.1. Magnetometer suppliers
3.5. Pressure sensors
3.5.1. Uses in wearable devices
3.5.2. Pressure sensor suppliers
3.6. Trends with IMUs in consumer electronics
3.6.1. STMicroelectronics
3.6.2. InvenSense
3.6.3. Apple: case study from the iPhone
3.7. IMUs: here to stay, despite some limitations
4.1. Resistive force sensors
4.1.1. Printing inks onto textiles to make an array pressure sensor
4.1.2. Textile FSRs
4.2. Capacitive pressure sensors
4.2.1. How they work
4.2.2. Capacitive stretch sensors in clothing
4.2.3. Stretchable capacitive harvesting up to 1 kW?
4.2.4. Research with emerging materials
4.3. Other types of pressure sensor
5.1. Measuring biopotential
5.1.1. The medical procedures: ECG, EEG, EMG
5.1.2. How the circuit is constructed
5.2. Electrode properties
5.2.1. Challenges and solutions with dry electrodes
5.2.2. Emerging electrode materials
5.3. Bioimpedance
5.3.1. Galvanic skin response
5.3.2. Bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA)
5.4. Case study: marketing the potential of bioimpedance sensors
5.4.1. The Jawbone UP3
5.4.2. HealBE
5.5. Gastric electrolyte
5.5.1. Proteus Digital Health
5.6. Wearable electrode players
5.6.1. New product designs
5.6.2. Players in the medical sector
5.6.3. Beyond medical uses: commercial devices measuring biopotential
6.1. Medical applications: optical heart rate monitoring
6.1.1. Transmissive PPG
6.1.2. Reflective PPG
6.1.3. "Circumission" PPG
6.1.4. Design considerations
6.1.5. Valencell: ear OHRMs
6.1.6. Other players
6.2. Infotainment applications: mo-cap with cameras
6.2.1. Comparison of 3D imaging technologies
6.2.2. Time of flight
6.2.3. Structured light
6.2.4. Microsoft Kinect and the Hololens
6.3. Wearable cameras
6.3.1. Established players exploiting profitable niches
6.3.2. Camera smartwatches
6.3.3. Applications in safety and security
6.3.4. Other wearable camera examples
7.1. How chemical sensors work
7.1.1. Device construction
7.1.2. The use of electrodes
7.2. Analyte source selection
7.2.1. Going beyond blood
7.2.2. Reliability vs practicality
7.2.3. Time dependence
7.2.4. The advantages of less invasive techniques
7.3. Case study: glucose monitoring and diabetes treatment
7.3.1. The incumbent, invasive, non-wearable solution: screen printed electrodes
7.3.2. Glucose test strips
7.3.3. Making test strips: screen printing vs. sputtering
7.3.4. Technical challenges
7.3.5. Minimally-invasive glucose monitoring: a wearable solution
7.3.6. Abbott Diabetes Care: minimally-invasive monitoring solution
7.3.7. Emerging wearable solutions are far from perfect
7.3.8. Progress towards a reliable non-invasive solution
7.3.9. The ultimate goal: "closing the loop" for diabetes treatment
7.4. Emerging chemical sensors for other analytes
7.4.1. Wearable patches by Electrozyme
7.4.2. Sweat sensing: University of Cincinnati Novel Devices Lab
7.4.3. Cholesterol sensor
7.4.4. Tuberculosis testing
7.4.5. Drug screening
7.4.6. Using nanomaterials to enhance sensor performance
8.1. Types of gas sensors
8.1.1. Pellistors
8.1.2. Infrared
8.1.3. Electrochemical
8.1.4. Chemiresistors
8.1.5. Electronic nose (e-nose)
8.2. All-printed gas sensors with solid electrolytes
8.2.1. SPEC sensor
8.2.2. Solidsense
8.3. Emerging wearable applications of gas sensors
8.3.1. Breath sensing
8.3.2. Research on acetone breath analysis
9.1. Temperature
9.1.1. Temperature sensor technologies
9.1.2. Wearable temperature sensor examples
9.2. Sound
9.2.1. MEMS microphones
9.2.2. Electret microphones
9.2.3. Bioacoustics
10.1. The huge sensor fusion opportunity
10.1.1. Case study: heart rate monitoring
10.1.2. Case study: gaining useful data from skin patches
10.1.3. Case study: analysing the voice without measuring sound
10.2. Application case study: head impact sensors
10.3. Application case study: care of the elderly, and integration with the wider internet of things
11.1. adidas
11.2. APDM
11.3. BeBop Sensors
11.4. Bioling (formerly Electrozyme LLC)
11.5. Cetemmsa
11.6. Clothing+
11.7. Firstbeat Technologies Ltd
11.8. GlaxoSmithKline
11.9. Hexoskin
11.10. Hivox Biotek
11.11. IMEC
11.12. Infi-tex
11.13. Johnson & Johnson Innovations
11.14. Medical Design Solutions
11.15. Medtronic Inc
11.16. Ohmatex ApS
11.17. Proteus Digital Health
11.18. PST Sensors
11.19. Sarvint Technologies, Inc.
11.20. Seiko Epson Corporation
11.21. Sensing Tex
11.22. Sensoria
11.23. Smartlife Technology Ltd
11.24. Stretchsense
11.25. Thalmic Labs
11.26. Valencell Inc
11.27. Vivalnk
11.28. Vocalzoom
11.29. Ybrain Inc.

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