Get Your Fitness Trackers into Good Shape | Thin-Film Wearable Coatings

Mallory McGuinness | December 8, 2020

Forecasts suggest that global spending on wearable devices will reach $63 billion by 2021. Not surprisingly, with activity trackers and smartwatches proliferating, we expect more than 600 million wearable units to ship in 2024.

The popularity of fitness trackers means that consumers will likely be taking them to mixed environments. As a manufacturer, designer, or engineer producing these products, this can be a challenge. While more units are sold, your components are subject to threats like water, sweat, and humidity (to name a few), which can jeopardize your product’s reliability.

View our webinar on how to avoid product failure by design.

The Fitness Data that Shapes Our Lives

Fitness wearables are worn close to or on the skin’s surface, where software and sensors combine to analyze, detect, and transmit information about body signals. The wearable sensors and circuitry in your product transform physiological data into information. This data can be analyzed and acted on through the device, smartphone app, or online portal.

Proactive Health Management

Data doesn’t lie. Harnessed correctly, it empowers everything that we do. When consumers are more mindful of their actual fitness activity data, they often become inspired to improve their lives and bolster their fitness metrics. Trackers and smartwatches are effectively changing the way consumers behave, opening a window of valuable insight into what we can accomplish with informed decisions.

Enter the Product Design Team

Your product designs for your state-of-the-art activity tracker have a huge downstream effect on consumers. You know from experience that the most successful trackers tend to be easy to use, aesthetically pleasing, and comfortable to wear. Critically, successful fitness trackers also consistently perform, stand the test of time (or at least the warranty period), delivering essential data non-stop. That is where you, the manufacturer, designer, or engineer, step in. How do you attain this high level of reliability?

Forecasts suggest that global spending on wearable devices will reach $63 billion by 2021.

Fitness Trackers Underperform When They Are Under the Weather

Sensors and Sensibility

The resiliency of your wearable sensors underpins the success of your project. Your sensors fuel data collection, leading to an increase in demand for more functionality. Unfortunately, this can lead to protection paradoxes. For example, wearable sensors are experiencing increasing demand in sports training. This trend is, in part, due to the ability to measure biometrics using sensors. But herein lies the problem. Sensors have sensitive circuitry, which can be damaged by bodily fluids such as tears, sweat, or bodily fluids.

Wearables have effectively become electronic extensions of the human body. That said, your sensors will likely face sunscreen oil, dust particles, thermal cycling, corrosives, contaminants, perfume, and household cleaners, in addition to the hostile environment known as the human body.

For consistent performance possible at the pool, in the shower, or anywhere else, your wearable sensors need exceptional protection.

a electronic fitness wearable

Fitness Wearables Challenges: Is Your Technology Hitting a Wall?

You likely know that your product protection requires superior functionality, such as electrical insulation, exceptional heat dissipation, vibration shock, and impact resistance, along with chemical and water resistance. Finding a protection method that can supply these properties without adding bulk and weight (which would increase discomfort on the miniaturized devices) may seem like a challenge if you use gaskets and seals for protection. These methods keep contaminants out for a period but are heavy, uncomfortable, and aesthetic deterrents.

You’ve made great strides in your technology and product design. You’ve created fitness trackers that provide data accuracy, enhanced safety, affordability, and security, effectively elevating countless consumers’ quality of life.

When it comes to achieving enhanced reliability and durability without increasing bulk and weight, selecting a coating partner that is well versed in thin-film solutions can make all the difference.

When it comes to achieving enhanced reliability and durability without increasing bulk and weight, selecting a coating partner that is well versed in thin-film solutions can make all the difference.

HZO: Anything but Conventional Wisdom

At HZO, we’re on a mission to advance design beyond conventional protection methods, such as gaskets, seals, and traditional conformal coatings, introducing innovative nanocoatings and thin-film protection solutions, including a new take on Parylene. The beauty of our solutions is that they revolve around you and your protection needs.

  • Do you need a cost-competitive alternative to traditional conformal coatings that present your company with a competitive market advantage?
    • Next-generation coatings can eliminate unnecessary costs (returns, refunds, warranty claims) and provide a critical product feature that is second only to battery life.
  • Do you need a protective coating that offers everything from splash to submersion protection?
    • Our nanocoatings draw upon many materials, allowing for very tailored protection, from splash-proof to fully submersible.
  • Do you need a protection solution that does not add perceptible weight or mass to your fitness wearable?
    • Thin-film solutions and nanocoatings are thinner than a strand of human hair, ensuring the bulk of the protection will go unnoticed.
  • Do you need biocompatible protection?

If you’ve encountered a design challenge, chances are we’ve thought about it and addressed it with our suite of solutions. Do you have questions about tailored protection? Reach out to us today, and our technical team will be on it.

Mallory McGuinness

Mallory is an electronics protection evangelist who writes content for HZO. In her free time she is reading non-fiction, and hanging out with her beta fish, King Awesome.

Ryan Moore

Ryan is a 9-year veteran to the world of protecting electronics from harsh environments and a lover of all things technology.

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