Wearable Device Makers to Enjoy Higher Performance and Faster Time to Market Thanks to Hillcrest Labs

Today’s device manufacturers must piece together disparate, component-level software to create sensor-based wearable devices – often at the expense of accuracy and power consumption. Manufacturers of wearable devices are looking for cost-effective, turnkey solutions that function as a system to provide faster time to market, increased functionality, superior performance, and supply-chain flexibility. In response, Hillcrest Labs today unveiled its MotionEngine™ Wear software with always-on, sensor-enabled features optimized for the latest generation of wearable devices.

According to industry research firm IDC, the worldwide wearables market will reach a total of 76.1 million units in 2015, up 163.6% from 2014, and 173.4 million units by 2019, resulting in a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.9%1. Hillcrest’sMotionEngine Wear offers device makers the ability to quickly create differentiated wearable products across the health, fitness, and lifestyle segments of this growing market. MotionEngine Wear is ideal for smartwatches, activity and fitness bands, health and sleep monitors, and smart clothing. The small software footprint and low power profile make it ideal for devices targeted to the mass market, active or sports segment, commercial and industrial markets, or for fashion accessories.

“Sensors play a key role in wearable devices but how these sensors are used to deliver a compelling and convenient user experience is even more critical to the success of a wearable product today,” said Chad Lucien, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Hillcrest Labs. “We are proud to offer our MotionEngine Wear software to manage and enhance the performance of sensors found in wearable devices – enabling high performance, low power motion-based applications, and providing the foundation for new user experiences.”

MotionEngine Wear provides high quality context awareness, effortlessly tracks users’ daily activities such as walking, running, and sleeping, and simplifies the user experience with intuitive gesture controls. Unique power reduction algorithms provide always-on sensing without compromising the accuracy, reliability or functionality of a wearable device. Most notably, MotionEngine Wear is compatible with today’s widely used system architectures, including ARM Cortex-M, Cadence Tensilica Fusion DSP, and Synopsys ARC EM. It is OS independent so can be deployed when using platforms with Android, Android Wear, Tizen, WebOS, an RTOS, or others. Furthermore, it supports sensors from the leading suppliers to ensure lower costs, flexible implementations and faster time to market.

Lucien continued: “With MotionEngine Wear, manufacturers are not locked into any one component supplier or system architecture. MotionEngine Wear therefore provides manufacturers with a highly flexible solution that enables faster time to market, product line diversity and lower costs.

“Wearable devices are rapidly becoming more sophisticated, moving beyond simple health and fitness tracking devices to support a myriad of advanced features, from sleep monitoring to gesture recognition,” said Ramon Llamas, Research Manager with IDC’s Wearables Program. “For the next generation of wearable devices, manufacturers need simple, cost-effective solutions to meet consumers’ expectations for a consistent and accurate user experience. Solutions like Hillcrest’s MotionEngine Wear, that are compatible with a variety of low power MCUs and support sensors from leading suppliers, offer manufacturers maximum flexibility to innovate as new technologies are introduced in the wearables market.”

Uses and Applications in Wearable Devices

Many uses and applications exist today for wearable devices, including Health and Fitness, Lifestyle, Augmented and Virtual Reality, and Motion Capture. These categories of devices each have distinct feature requirements but share in the need to maintain low costs, minimize power consumption, and extract maximum performance out of the available sensors. Hillcrest has developed a portfolio of products to address these needs. MotionEngine Wear offers the foundation for a variety of wearable device applications, including:

  • Accurate Activity Tracking: Algorithms specifically tuned for wearable devices can automatically track a variety of users’ daily physical activities such as walking and running steps taken and stairs climbed to provide an assessment of exercise program effectiveness.
  • Advanced Sleep Monitoring: The proprietary sleep-state algorithm uses a low power method to capture motion data related to users’ sleep quality and present results.
  • Context Awareness: Automatic detection of when the user is in a vehicle, such as a car, or if the user is riding a bicycle to allow the user interface to adapt to different modes of use.
  • Precise Compass Heading and Orientation: Hillcrest’s industry-leading calibration and sensor fusion algorithms ensure precise, drift- and jitter-free device orientation and compass heading to provide the foundation for navigation applications.
  • Intuitive Gesture Controls: Users can perform motion gestures to interact naturally with devices, such as the “glance” gesture which is used to detect when a user looks at the front-facing screen.

The new MotionEngine Wear product rounds out Hillcrest’s wearable product portfolio, complementing its BNO070 device. The BNO070 is a 9-axis System in Package (SiP) that enables rapid development of sensor-enabled wearable technology and IoT devices. Developed in partnership with Bosch Sensortec, it features Hillcrest’s proprietary SH-1™ sensor hub software and high-performance accelerometer, magnetometer, and gyroscope sensors with a low-power 32-bit ARM Cortex M0+ MCU in a small package. It is uniquely suited for wearable virtual reality, augmented reality and motion capture applications across the consumer, commercial and industrial markets.

Hillcrest’s MotionEngine Wear and BNO070 products are used today to power a number of exciting wearable devices, including the ALCATEL ONETOUCH’s WATCH, the OSVR (Open-Source Virtual Reality) from Razer™, and others. Hillcrest expects to announce additional customers and partners using these products in the coming months.

For more information about Hillcrest’s broad portfolio of motion control products, visit: