Microcontrollers in Wearable Technology

Microcontrollers in Wearable Technology

Fitness trackers and smartwatches dominated the market when wearable devices were introduced a few years ago. However, with time, we are seeing new and innovative products and designs, and several different wearable devices can be seen in the wearable technology industry now. These wearable devices have become sophisticated with microcontrollers driving technology. After all, wearable health monitors even track a person’s health in real-time.

The market for wearable devices is expanding, and with this, user requirements and the complexities of making these devices are also increasing. The design of such gadgets is incomplete without their core electronic components, which include the microcontroller IC. However, how do microcontroller ICs drive wearable devices, and what factors should be considered when designing microcontroller ICs for wearable technology? But first, let’s talk about wearable technology.

Wearable Technology - Definition

All electronic devices made specifically for human wear are wearable technology. Wearable devices do not come in a single form. Instead, they can take different forms, such as wristwatches, accessories, jewelry, and even clothing elements. Some examples of top-end wearable devices include Google Glasses and virtual reality (VR) headsets.

Working of Wearable Technology

Different wearable devices have different working mechanisms. However, a common pattern includes incorporating batteries, microprocessors, and internet connectivity for data sharing with other devices. Built-in sensors track the body's movements and assist with other tasks like location tracking and biometrics.

Some wearables also use smart sensors for movement tracking. Optical sensors for heart rate and glucose level measurements are now in wearable devices. Users can monitor this data in real-time, and microcontroller ICs make the complex functioning of wearable devices possible.

Applications of Wearable Technology

There is a wide range of applications for wearable technology as almost every field of life uses wearable devices these days. Some of these applications are below.

Health Technology

We now have wearable electronic skin for monitoring health. The e-skin patch attaches to a person's chest with the help of a water spray. Then comes a tiny wireless transmitter that sends the information from the e-patch to a computer or smartphone that connects wirelessly. This wearable technology can record electro signals such as muscle movements and heartbeat.


Virtual reality, or VR headsets, are this category's best examples of wearable devices. Other examples include controllers and smart glasses. Users use these wearable devices to play games, watch content, and show users data from other devices without touching the device. Simply connect the device via Bluetooth to start.


The military often uses wearable devices to monitor soldiers' vitals and help them do VR-based exercises. For example, boot inserts can tell how well or badly a soldier performs in different terrains. Military devices rely heavily on microcontroller integrated circuits (ICs) to improve functionality, accuracy, and dependability.

These compact, programmable devices maximize efficiency and ensure dependable, real-time data processing while controlling various systems, from intelligent weapons to surveillance drones. They greatly increase efficiency and strategic capabilities when integrated into military technology.


Wearable athletic devices are now in sports apparel and can attach to equipment, such as cricket bats. These devices help coaches analyze different aspects of a player’s game using real-time data.

Selecting the Right Microcontroller IC in Wearable Technology

As above, microcontrollers are one of a wearable device's most important electronic components. Therefore, selecting the most suitable microcontroller for a wearable device is crucial. Only the right microcontroller IC will be able to fulfill all that is required from a wearable device.

The most noticeable factors to remember while selecting a microcontroller are communication ability, size, and power consumption.

Companies prefer microcontrollers because they offer most functions on a single chip. Let's discuss some important factors in selecting the right microcontroller for wearable technology.

Size and Form

The size of a microcontroller matters a lot. Wearable devices are small, so their microcontrollers must be compact. But a smaller size does not mean fewer features.

The silicon system-on-chip (SoC) plays an important role. As the feature size of the silicon wafer decreases, the chip will become increasingly dense, helping introduce more functionalities and features into a single chip.

Power Efficiency

Wearable gadgets usually run on battery power. Also, since most of these devices are for monitoring purposes, they are always on, unlike phones. The biggest challenge is to reduce the power consumption of wearable devices as much as possible because the wearable should run on extremely low power to increase the battery life.

This poses a unique challenge for the microcontroller IC. One way to tackle this issue is by offloading the processing power to the cloud with the help of a web or mobile application. For example, Bluetooth is common to connect a wearable device to a smartphone.

Many microcontrollers, such as programmable microcontroller ICs, use extremely little power. Because of their ARM architecture, they are usually ideal for use in wearable technology. These microcontroller ICs combine an ARM Cortex-M core with advanced analog and programmable digital capabilities.


Wearable devices are becoming popular in almost every field of life. From health to sports to even entertainment, they are enhancing the experience and providing valuable data in real-time. Wearable technology is incomplete without one important electronic component: the microcontroller IC.

These microcontrollers are unleashing a new wave of technology that is helping the public and experts gather important data in real-time. When it comes to getting microcontroller ICs for wearable technology, one trustworthy and suitable platform for purchasing and selling electronic parts is Partstack. With over 1.8 billion unique part listings, it is a one-stop solution for all your electronic part problems.

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