Reinventing devices for
today and tomorrow:
Through the lens of wearable technology
and smart textiles
Sep 16, 2021 | Product Engineering, Audio Devices, Smart Textiles
Smart soft technologies ushering a new age of advanced personal devices – a focus in the audio device market.
“Hey Siri. Play some music that I like…”
We’re connected in ways – we could only imagine before.
Virtual monitoring technology. Voice-command speakers. A network of in-home smart devices. The modern age is one of intimate connections through digital mediums: now more than ever, consumers have evolving expectations about what technology can and should do to improve their lives. This is a new time, distinguished by a new set of expectations. Tomorrow’s consumer products are moving beyond 2D touch to 3D immersive realities and adding smart features intuitively to the end-user experience.
What factors are motivating this tech-forward shift? The answer might be consumers themselves. Tech-users are increasingly relying on self-conducted research to understand new technology trends and market disruptions. Accordingly, previously cutting-edge features such as voice-enabled devices and 3D audiovisual entertainment are now core components of the technologically adept customer experience. As new features in our homes proliferate, from environmental controls and sophisticated lighting to complete house automation; the demand for feature-rich and intuitive interfaces are on the increase.
These trends [1] are only expected to grow in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of stay-at-home mandates, the post-pandemic world will be more smart-technology inclined, not less — thus, device manufacturers must work to develop new smart experiences and channel their efforts that will continue to surprise and delight consumers.
Audio Devices: Trajectory of a Significant Market
In addition to other ease-of-use home devices, audio devices remain one of the fastest-growing markets [2] in the smart-tech industry. Consumer interest in smart speakers, soundbars, home theater equipment and systems with built-in audio capabilities is a direct response to a greater customer understanding of the capabilities these devices have to improve and reimagine their most important investment — their home.
Younger people, meanwhile, are increasingly using wireless headphones and earbuds to separate themselves from their environments and those around them – on a subway, in an office, and even at home – creating their own intimate, absorbed environment. As our cities become bigger, people have longer commutes, and the quality and amount of diversion increase, the need for ‘isolation devices’ will only continue grow.
Audio Opportunities Meet Smart Textiles and Wearable Technology
Technology producers might wonder: what place does smart textile technology have in the consumer audio market? As it stands, smart soft features can be readily integrated with existing user interfaces to develop advancements for products consumers are already familiar with — effectively revitalizing a market poised to benefit from immediate innovation.
Innovations may come in the form of sensors that monitor and respond to human-machine interactions (HMI). Alternatively, they do allow for the creation of controls such as buttons and switches with built-in smart features directly embedded within the device covering or fabric.
Adding to these solutions is wearable technology. Sleep based wearables such as earbuds, that collect and transfer biometric data between wearers and in-home devices to create a vast network of opportunities that revolutionizes the way customers sync with multi-device integration.
But beyond all this, smart textile technologies and wearable technologies make for a great user experience and allows for robust design build as they are light, thin, and easy to assemble – especially beneficial in the consumer electronics space.
Smart Soft Solutions for Smarter Interaction
At Softmatter, we work towards collaborating with consumer electronic brands with the goal of advancing the smart electronics market — and the overall customer experience. This has enabled us in developing world-class platforms for the evolving movement of wearable technology: the textile itself.
Our smart textile technologies combined with user-centric interfaces can produce a variety of exciting new products. The possibilities are countless -whether it’s a textile-based sensor that can realize and respond to interactions or a conductive textile that enables data transmission between a human and a devise. As the technologies are contained within the thin light layer of the fabric – our platforms allow for all new architecture designs and heterogeneous integrations.
When it comes to audio devices and other smart technology, consumers have spoken: many want intuitively designed products that offer a broader range of accessible capabilities than current marketplace solutions provide. Our response to such needs come in the form of:
+ Creation of intelligent devices that respond to user-designed patterns with interactive fabric surfaces for buttons, switches and sticks.
+ 3D Engineered Knit premium textile-based exterior cover to seamless tubes can be created via Flat, Circular, Warp Knits, and Narrow Width Fabrics.
+ Creation
+ Potential for new ways of interacting with devices – Gesture control. Technology that allows an intuitive method of interaction, that removes the need for controls and buttons altogether.
+ Injection molding for better grip, encasings and impact protection.
+ Lighting effects that can be integrated and paired with audio devices through intuitive RGB lighting active technology
+ Advanced surface modification for product durability with immunity to electromagnetic noise, water, heat, electrical surges and other environmentally damaging conditions.
+ Programmatic linking and actuating software that responds to external stimuli.
+ Aesthetic product designs that complement existing in-home consumer style choices and provide superior soft-touch feel.
+ Audio wearables with built-in controls incorporated for exceptional equipment regulation — with capacitive and resistive touch technologies.
+ Conductive yarn woven into the devise fabric to produce functionality for controlling devices remotely.
+ Technologies that allow device manufacturers to simplify user interfaces in a cost-effective manner by integrating and using sensors in three dimensions. Varied sensors can be used in combination to create a full stack solution that can be placed above, below, or around a mixture of flexible and rigid control displays. Our sensors may also be integrated with other types of surface materials such as foam.
These are just some — but not all — of the advancing smart textile technologies offered by Softmatter. Uniquely prepared to respond to demands in the market, we bring the functionality of electronics together with the comfort and adaptability of textiles.
Appeal in wearable technology for audiological devices
In addition to their implication as an innovative, market-disrupting potential, the consumer electronic market and smart textile technology are seamlessly designed to appeal to consumers interested in wearables that can continually track and transmit user data to networked systems. Based on these expectations- Softmatter places specific emphasis on product designs that champion comfortable next-to-skin wearables. Products that enable greater functionality, more convenience, and quick results. All systems are made to be light and thin, with built-in technology that is unobtrusive to the wearer even while in use.
Product configurations for audiological wearables:
Applications may include textile-based mathematical structures such as Engineered Knit for comfort and freedom of movement​ combined with textile-based sensor electrodes and conductive pathways.
Engineered smart soft solutions by Softmatter
By partnering with an experienced product development team, high-tech consumer and industrial technology companies can:
+ Design and build from concept to production.
+ Solve unprecedented regulatory challenges while accelerating time to market.
+ Quality commitment of ISO 9001 and 13485 facilities with FDA Class I and II products in execution.
Speak to our experienced team of product engineers to discuss how to incorporate the ever-advancing technology to consumer electronic devices.
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Softmatter is the wearable technology team of MAS Holdings (Private) Limited.
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