Bringing wearables to the mainstream with organic electronics technology

November 16, 2015

We’ve all heard and read the hype around wearables. Whether you’ve developed a device, own one, are financing one or are considering buying one, it’s hard not to believe market analysts’ predictions that the wearable electronics business will grow from $20 billion in 2015 to almost $70 billion in 2025. 

The thing is, how many of us are actually using them on a daily basis? Experts point to reluctant adoption, so companies need to address these concerns if they hope to capture some of that $70 billion industry.

The key to creating truly wearable wearables

Bringing wearables to the mainstream with organic electronics technology The key to creating truly wearable wearables will be to make developments in hardware and technology. Currently, the consensus is that for many there isn’t a compelling enough benefit offered by the existing products on the market, unlike the smartphone, which most of us couldn’t function without.

Before the numerous-charge-a-day smartphone, came the wind-up watch – also requiring daily charging of a different kind. What is it about these products that have caused a behavioural change in the user? Utility. Having an accurate measure of time attached to your wrist more than outweighed the daily task of winding the watch. Similarly, having to plug your phone in to charge one or more times a day is easily offset by the many benefits of having the internet, your email, your calendar or digital pastimes at your fingertips.

So how do companies design a wearable as irreplaceable as the mobile phone?

We’ve been working in the field of organic electronics for over a decade and have witnessed how all types of displays have benefitted from plastic substrates. Organic thin film transistors (OTFTs) arrays solve major design restrictions for wearables – not only can these types of displays reduce space in the device, due to their thinness, but they also conform to the required curves of our bodies, eliminating the angular, obtrusive outer shell. 

OTFT performance has advanced rapidly over the past few years, notably in terms of mobility. The level of mobility has now risen in several orders of magnitude to the point where these OTFTs can now drive OLCD and OLED displays. But it’s no longer just about front-of-screen performance; flexibility and robustness are just as crucial to consumers.

The innate flexibility of organic-based materials used in OTFT production means the overall product will be more flexible. The very omission of glass in these types of displays also ensures a more rugged device, with a shatterproof display.

Flexible electronics will change wearables forever

We’re certain that OTFTs will play a pivotal role in providing unique functionality that will unlock the full potential of the wearables market. If you want to learn how our OTFT technology can be integrated with your product, get in touch with us now and speak to one of our experts. 

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