Trend-setting devices

We live in a ‘real time’ world where soft and hardware internet technology enables us to access more products and services any time, any place. IEC work, including printed electronics, semiconductors, and many other components, greatly helps the development and rollout of these technologies.

Monitoring human activities

Managing modern life and staying healthy is high on the agenda for many people. With a greater self-awareness, ways to monitor and measure human fitness and wellness levels are becoming a part of the everyday preventive actions taken to stay fit and healthy. Hundreds of companies showcased their connected devices at the Consumer electronics show (CES) in Las Vegas, and set the stage for some of this year’s mega trends.

  • Smart sleep devices can help track sleeping habits and patterns.
  • A UV measuring bracelet helps users to keep the balance between a healthy dose of sun, and avoid harmful rays. 
  • An innovative connected pillbox that, once filled by the pharmacy or caregiver, sounds alerts via SMS, email, or voice notifications. These alerts inform the patient when it’s time to take the pills and the relevant pill compartment lights up.

Tiny technology

Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) are indispensable parts of any piece of electronic equipment, from smart technology to wearable devices, cars, industrial applications, and more. Approximately as thick as a human hair, these miniature systems (micro sensors and actuators) often outperform their macro-scale counterparts. Examples of how MEMS improve our life include:

  • improving storage in computers for disk drives and servers and sound in cell phones, musical devices, and hearing aids
  • expanding medical uses, such as for releasing drug doses to patients or in blood pressure monitors
  • sensing danger by detecting gas leaks or saturation levels.

IEC work in standardisation and conformity assessment is significant for the continued development of this technology.

High-performance audio

High-performance audio stereo systems never really went away; they just morphed with the times. They moved from classic stereo systems and LP record players to the more recent high-definition TV and mobile options, like car audio or portable music player systems.

The latest technology is packaged differently, in the form of home theatre systems and sound bars connected to TVs. Recently, digital or Wi-Fi radio and the internet have replaced the old-style stereo systems. Digital or satellite radio in some areas have replaced car cassette players as they also have for portable personal music player systems.

IEC work makes high-performance audio and its availability possible with standards that focus on equipment and the required software.

This article first appeared in IEC e-tech, November 2014, and is summarised here with permission.

Published in business and ICT.