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New Ad hoc Group on sensors in wearable and small intelligent devices


Geneva, 5 April 2016

Ecma is pleased to announce the creation of a new Ad hoc Group to study the standardization needs for sensors in wearable and small intelligent devices.

An introductory presentation by Prof. Ebrahimi (EPFL), a member of this Ad hoc Group is available here. Participation in the work of the Ad hoc Group is open to anyone interested in the topic.


Internet of Things (IoT) is becoming a reality, and with it appearance of Small intelligent devices. A sizable category of such intelligent devices are in form of so called wearables. An important function in all such devices is the sensing of either users (those who wear them) or the environment in which small intelligent devices operate.  Sensors used in wearable and small intelligent devices are often embedded Micro-Electromechanical Systems (MEMS) that capture various information ranging from monitoring of bodily activities to blood pressure, body temperature and heart rate in wearable devices, and external temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, location, and even altitude in small intelligent devices. The design and development of such sensors in wearable and small devices (like biosensor systems for health monitoring, wearable cameras, intelligent watches, GPS devices, intelligent glasses, etc.) have garnered lots of attention in the scientific community and the industry in the last few years.

Wearable sensor-based systems can comprise various types of small physiological sensors, transmission modules and processing capabilities, and can thus facilitate low-cost wearable unobtrusive solutions for continuous all-day and any-place health, mental and activity status monitoring.

Examples of sensors include:

  • Motion sensors
  • Acceleration sensors
  • Atmospheric pressure sensors
  • Temperature sensors
  • Image sensors
  • Audio sensors
  • Position sensors
  • Humidity sensors
  • Blood pressure sensors
  • Heart rate sensors
  • EEG sensors
  • Respiration sensors
  • Skin conductivity sensors
  • MEG (muscular activity) sensors

These sensors can be used in many products and applications in form of:

  • Wrist wear devices
  • Eye wear devices
  • Foot wear devices
  • Body wear devices
  • Automotive devices
  • Domestic devices
  • Office devices

Today we see many stand-alone solutions that create their own isolated islands. The goal is that an individual should not have to wear at the same time several different devices connected to several different systems (such a mobile phone, WLAN hubs, etc), but an absolute minimal number of wearable devices that can intelligently intercommunicate with one-other and their host applications.

In order to ensure that such devices can interwork with each other in a seamless fashion (e.g. an intelligent watch from manufacturer A to a smart phone of manufacturer B or to a WLAN hub, or directly to a mobile operator’s public network services), this Ad hoc Group has the task of researching standardization needs for sensors in wearable and small intelligent devices.

Programme of work:

  1. “Catalogue” of “useful” and available sensors on market today
  2. Collection of Formats of sensor data for general data interchange
  3. Identification of gaps both for available sensors and data interchange formats
  4. Definition of requirements for the needed interfaces and protocols based on use cases.
  5. Define a core set of applications for which standards should be developed and allow step by step extension of growth with new devices and applications.
  6. Develop standard interfaces and communication protocols (including data formats) between sensor systems in wearable and small intelligent devices
  7. Develop standard interfaces and communication protocols (including data formats) between wearable and small intelligent devices and “host devices”, such as mobile phones, WLAN hubs, public mobile networks
  8. Ensure privacy and data security in all above cases
  9. Analytics of big data collected by large number of sensors and wearable devices
  10. Establish communication with user communities and other standardization bodies to harmonize and ensure interoperability.

For more information: please contact Dr. Istvan Sebestyen, Secretary General of Ecma International. Email: