When it comes to wearable Health Tech, smaller is better. Much better. So it is news for product designers when a company you’ve probably never heard of — Kionix — comes out with an accelerometer that is just one-half the height of the part it replaces. So why should you care? If you have tried on a smartwatch lately, you’ll find that many of them offer an experience similar to wearing an ice hockey puck strapped to your wrist. Frankly, I want something a little more svelte, which is why my trusty old Timex Indiglo is still my timepiece of choice. Making a component that is one-half the height can have profound benefits in helping shave down smartwatch designs into something more wearable.
So why do you need an accelerometer anyway, especially a 3-axis one like this? Accelerometers are an essential component for most wearable and mobile devices. They detect motion and help your device know which way is up. They count your steps and know when you’re sleeping and a lot more. And this new, thinner chip means that they can be included in places where they’ve never been before, such as credit cards or ID badges.
This is just one more step towards further miniaturization of digital electronic components, which is needed to help make wearable devices “disappear” in our daily lives. With smaller size often comes lower prices as well, as a result of lower material and shipping costs as well as increased volume due to increased demand. So even if you’re not a product designer, you may want to applaud news about an incredible shrinking accelerometer.