Location tracking smartwatch powered by sunlight

12th February 2019
Lanna Cooper

u-blox and TransSiP are announcing the PowerWatch 2, according to the companies it will be the world’s first GPS smartwatch that you never need to recharge. The smartwatch features the ultra-small, ultra-low power u‑blox ZOE-M8B GNSS receiver to track position, in addition to calories burned, activity level, and sleep, making it a suitable companion for runners, hikers, and swimmers. 

All this is enabled by TransSiP PI technology which ensures energy harvested is used at maximum efficiency and provides crystal clean power enabling optimum performance.

According to the company, the PowerWatch 2 is the first GPS smartwatch to offer a 100% charge-free experience. It does away with cables and external batteries by continually topping up its battery using thermoelectric energy generated from body heat as well as solar energy.

The watch also excels at the other things smartwatches do, connecting to your smartphone and displaying notifications on your wrist, and tracking activities and visualising them using dedicated iOS and Android apps, as well as with popular third party health and fitness platforms.

The ZOE-M8B and TransSiP PI: a winning combination The PowerWatch 2 delivers location tracking using the low power u‑blox ZOE-M8B GNSS receiver module that consumes as low as 12mW.

Packaged as a (System-in-Package), the 4.5x4.5x1.0mm module helps achieve the watch’s comparatively low 16-millimeter thickness. And concurrent reception of up to three GNSS constellations means that it delivers high accuracy positioning in challenging situations such as urban or dense forest environments and when swimming.

Satellite based positioning is typically the most power-hungry process on a sports watch. Providing highly efficient conversion of harvested energy into a very quiet supply of DC power, TransSiP PI enhances the ability of the ZOE-M8B GNSS receiver module incorporating u-blox Super-E technology, to strike a suitable balance between power and performance.

Working on a tight power budget, the watch supports 30 minutes of continuous GNSS tracking per day, with unused time accumulating in the watch’s battery pack, e.g., powering two hours of location tracking every four days.

“We put a lot of effort into tailoring the ZOE-M8B to the needs of small battery powered applications. We couldn’t have wished for a better product to showcase our ZOE-M8B’s potential for wearables than the PowerWatch 2,” said Florian Bousquet, Principal Product Manager in Standard Precision GNSS at u-blox.

Douglas Tham, CTO of MATRIX Industries added: “TransSiP PI makes it possible to deliver high performance and high efficiency simultaneously by reducing system noise, eliminating time spent re-acquiring data, and minimising the need for additional processing. This means power savings across-the-board and enables applications which can be powered solely by energy harvesting.”

“Not only were size, cost and power constrained in developing the PowerWatch 2, we also had to make sure that it met the high performance demands that athletes expect,” said Akram Boukai, CEO and Co-Founder of MATRIX Industries.

“The combination of TransSiP PI and the ZOE-M8B solved all of these pain points for us, enabling the watch to quickly lock in on its position even in weak signal environments.”

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