3. Finding sufficient ground plane length
The importance of keeping wearables’ size down often means that ground planes can become an impossible luxury: there just isn’t enough flat surface space for them. As a result, wearables designers sometimes realise too late that many antennas just aren’t suitable for their context. If this is likely to be the case for your product, be aware of ground plane independent antennas.
Alternatives like Antenova’s flexiiANT family of antennas don’t need a ground plane yet still offer high efficiency even for low bands. Freeing yourself from the need for a ground plane can radically impact on other aspects of your product’s design, allowing more compact solutions. Being aware of this early on will make sure your end design makes the most of what’s available to it.
4. Wearables cannot be bulky or heavy
If weight and bulk were no issue in wearables, there would be little-to-no problem in their design: simply design your product and add in an antenna to it once that’s done. Unfortunately, this kind of approach fundamentally compromises the crucial feature of your wearable—its ergonomics.
As your customers won’t be expecting their wearables to come with bulky, pointy external antennas, you need to review possible wireless solutions. Consider the range of small, lightweight antennasavailable to your project early on, and think about how this will affect the materials you can ultimately use—at no point do you want to risk detuning wearables’ wireless transmissions.
5. Wearable form factor is determined by users
Even if you have found the right product housing, components and PCB architecture, your device still needs to fit the form factor your users will expect––in shape, size and feel.
Ultimately, however, the form factor of your device will be determined in the brief. This will influence the options you have with a wireless solution straight off the bat. If you consider your options as early as possible in the design process, you will have more time to identify the optimum solution.