Testing the Durability of Wearable Electronics

According to the latest reports from the International Data Corporation (IDC), for the first time, quarter shipments of electronic wearables reached 100 million in quarter 1 of 2021.

Wearable electronic device.

Figure 1. Wearable electronic device. Image Credit: Atlas Material Testing Technology LLC

Environmental durability measurement is more crucial than ever in the quickly developing, high value market of consumer electronics. This is due to the following factors:

  1. Several electronic wearable devices like fitness trackers and smartwatches are utilized both outdoors and indoors and are impacted by UV, heat, moisture and light in various climate zones and under challenging weather environments.
  2. Wearable devices employed in medicine and care must perform in challenging conditions with no risk of failure, for example, when used to monitor blood pressure, blood sugar, when connected to hearing aids, or supporting emergency calls.
  3. Wearables are normally priced at a high value and are expected to have a service life of years.
  4. Wearables consist of various components and materials, for example, rubber materials or colored thermoplastics, joints, and sealants, cameras, protective films and displays. These are all prone to sensitivity to moisture, UV-radiation and heat.

Four segments of wearables. Images from OEM’s websites.

Figure 2. Four segments of wearables. Images from OEM’s websites. Image Credit: Atlas Material Testing Technology LLC

Testing Technology

The majority of wearables are subjected to performance and quality tests like humidity, temperature cycling, power cycling, mechanical bending, corrosion and more.

While developers understand the negative effects of UV, they are often confused about the most appropriate test method or testing technology to choose.

Testing of wearables inside a weathering instrument.

Figure 3. Testing of wearables inside a weathering instrument. Image Credit: Atlas Material Testing Technology LLC

A typical xenon-arc instrument: Ci4400 Weather-Ometer.

Figure 4. A typical xenon-arc instrument: Ci4400 Weather-Ometer. Image Credit: Atlas Material Testing Technology LLC

Test Methods

No testing standard exists that is specific to the application. Nonetheless, Atlas produced a set of four accelerated indoor and outdoor tests for wearables as a recommended starting point, utilizing some of the most popular testing standards ISSO 4892-2, ISO 105-B06, and ASTM G155.

With further information, Atlas can assist the client in selecting a test that is best suited to the intended conditions for end-use. Download a free Application Guide for more information on the durability testing of wearables and information on test parameters.

Testing the Durability of Wearable Electronics

Image Credit: Atlas Material Testing Technology LLC

Answers and More Information

When performing lightfastness and weathering testing, Atlas can assist its customers in answering questions such as what the correct materials are for each part of the wearable, whether the product will last as long as predicted, and how to maintain the appearance for as long as expected.

These factors are all crucial to enhance commercial success.

Acknowledgments

Produced from materials originally authored by Andreas Riedl from Atlas Materials Testing.

Click here to download the Free Guide

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Atlas Material Testing Technology LLC.

For more information on this source, please visit Atlas Material Testing Technology LLC.

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