Our collections of AC adapters and charging cables grow as we accumulate mobile Health Tech devices. One way to keep the horde of electrical “wall-warts” and associated tangled cables to a minimum is to use multifunction devices with diverse biometric sensors. Asahi Kasei Microdevices (AKM) and Humavox recently demonstrated another solution: wireless charging combined with biometric sensors.
AKM is a Tier 1 Japanese semiconductor company that specializes in radio frequency (RF) chips. Humavox focuses on wireless charging technology. At the ICFF Expo in New York in May 2017, AKM and Humavox displayed a tiny integrated module that combines health tracking with wireless charging by embedding the Humavox Eterna wireless charging platform in a small device. Eterna consists of three components: the Thunderlink power receiver, Nest power transmitter, and a Real-Time Charging Optimizer that assures real-time power transfer efficiency. According to Humavox, Thunderlink is the smallest wireless charging receiver available. The device AKM and Humavox showed in New York has a photoplethysmograph (PPG) chip for optical sensing of heartbeats and other biometric data, a Bluetooth transmitter, an ultra low power consumption voltage detector, and the Thunderlink wireless charging receiver chip.
Future collaborations between semiconductor companies, biometric sensor companies, and wireless charging platforms in ever-smaller integrated circuitry are certain. Consumer-facing companies that use the consolidated semiconductors within their own designs will be able to build smaller devices that don’t come with power adapters and charging cables.