Sensors are rarely alone

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The term “smart” puts a smile on sensor manufacturers’ faces. That is because “smart” generally means that at least one sensor is involved.

Increased average life expectancy and growing awareness about our own health is also generating interest in portable electronic devices that monitor health and fitness.

That news comes just in time for sensor manufacturers, because sales of sensors in smartphones and tablets are declining. That gap is now being filled by smart wristwatches, smart fabrics, armbads and even glasses for clinical, medical or wellness monitoring. The more demand there is to collect various physiological data, the more complex the electronics and sensors that go into these wearable devices.

Big players—big market

By 2025, chemical sensors are expected to grow at an average annual rate (CAGR) of 32%, with stretch and pressure sensors growing at an impressive 40%. In contrast, inertial measurement sensors are expected to have the slowest growth, at 9.8% CAGR, which makes sense given their broad adoption already. (Image: IDTechEX).
By 2025, chemical sensors are expected to grow at an average annual rate (CAGR) of 32%, with stretch and pressure sensors growing at an impressive 40%. In contrast, inertial measurement sensors are expected to have the slowest growth, at 9.8% CAGR, which makes sense given their broad adoption already. (Image: IDTechEX).

Now that big players such as Google, Apple, Samsung and Intel have entered the game, the market is taking on completely new dimensions.

In a recent study, IDTechEx predicts that some 3 billion sensors will boost volume on the wearables market to 4.5 billion dollars by 2025. And nearly one-third of all future sensors will also be completely new types. The overal market for wearable technology is expected to increase from 20 billion dollars this year to 70 billion dollars in 2025.

Sensor platforms instead of sensors

In a recent study, Frost Sullivan observed that, even more than sensor elements, sensor platforms play a key role for innovations in the wearable electronics market and can also accellerate market introduction.

However, anyone who wants to gain a foothold here will need the right combination of hardware and software. After all, integrating a large number of sensors into a wearable device poses considerable problems with regard to battery life and the time it takes to introduce the product.

 

Chemical Sensor TU Wien

Just a drop is enough to test the chemical composition. (Image: TU Wien).