Most Smartwatch users worry about the ‘low power’ warning on their devices. Smartwatches’ current form factor makes it hard to incorporate additional battery power to provide it more life between charges.
Different materials and designs have spruced up the smartwatch band’s appearance when it comes to wearable bands. Still, the functionality has remained the same since the smartwatch was introduced.
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This could soon change as wearable companies re-evaluate the real estate available on these watch bands.
One approach that makes sense is to convert the watch bands into self-contained power sources with built-in sensors for different purposes.
According to a patent approved today, this is the approach that Google is contemplating for its next-gen wearables.
In a patent, “ Methods, Apparatus, and System for Bidirectional Wireless Charging in Wearable devices,” approved today, researchers at Google propose a wireless charging and communication system that could enable bi-directional wireless communication and wireless charging between a wearable and its band.
The smartwatch, and its band, will be able to transmit and receive power inductively.
Controllers in the smartwatch band may determine only to accept power from the watch body when the wearable device is being worn or when charges in a battery of the accessory fall below a predetermined threshold.
According to the patent, the watch band may include one or more energy storage units, such as one or more batteries and a combination of sensors for measuring ECG, body temperature, and more.
Since the watch body and the watch band are modular, the smartwatch may be customized by replacing the watch band with another watch band.
You could have one band with specific sensors for biomarkers that you are interested in instead of having all the sensors in the body of the smartwatch.
Wireless charging and communication allow more functionalities to be incorporated into a wearable device without adding significant weight or volume.
Given that Google just acquired Fitbit and you can now buy Fitbit products directly from the Google store, it will be interesting to see how Google focuses on Android wear in the future.
There have been new wearable-related patents from Google recently, separate from those of Fitbit.
This may suggest that the company could be working on a new smartwatch or incorporate new technologies into the Fitbit platform.
As with any patent, it’s hard to tell if the design will ever make it to a product, but the available real estate on a smartwatch band is definitely something that other companies are equally focused on capitalizing on.