TE opens wearable technologies lab

TE Connectivity (TE) has announced the opening of a new ‘TE Wearables Lab’, which is the latest indication that wearable technology is a fast-growing market, and one being seized upon by the in-flight entertainment and connectivity industry where devices can control cabin management systems, as reported within Inflight’s November/December issue.The lab, located in Menlo Park, California, will act as collaboration centre for engineers, scientists and customers throughout the design process of wearable technologies across consumer, medical, industrial and defense businesses.
The facility’s development has been created by TE in response to the projected market for wearables. According to the International Data Corporation’s analysis, shipments of wearable devices will exceed 19 million units in 2014, more than tripling last year's sales. From there, the global market is expected to swell to 111.9 million units in 2018.
The TE Wearables Lab is already being used by a number of start-up and middle stage companies ranging from design to manufacturing. One of the first products to come out of the Lab will be a wireless power development kit for wearable devices. Set for broader distribution in early 2015, the kit will include a small 2.5W charger with integrated magnet for attachment to a wearable device, as well as a complete RX coil and electronics for integration.
“TE designs and manufactures the connectors at the heart of most electronic products today,” said James O’Toole, president of the consumer solutions segment at TE Connectivity. “Providing our customers with a Wearables Lab allows us to enhance our role as a strategic partner. We seek to truly iterate and collaborate – engaging earlier in the process – to support customer innovation with the goal of delivering the best antennas, smart connectivity solutions and sensors.”
In addition to working with customers on custom and existing products, the TE Wearables Lab team is also exploring innovations around wireless power and conductivity across textiles, plastics and other materials. The company is aiming to enable connectivity across tens of millions of wearable devices globally during 2015.

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