Hearables


Hearables are an exciting emerging market, the perfect fusion of wearable innovation and in-ear technology that continues to gain mass market appeal. Hearables are typically wireless devices with stringent battery, power and size requirements due to the rigorous use they undergo and because they practically function as “smart headphones” or “miniaturized in-ear computers.” As hearables become more integrated with other mobile devices such as smartphones, there is an even greater need for increased memory, faster processing, higher accuracy, longer battery life and efficient power management, all within a miniature form factor for in-ear applications in both wireless and tethered environments.

Common Uses:

  • Health/Biometrics Monitoring
  • Fitness Tracking/Activity Monitoring
  • Personal Entertainment
  • Navigation
  • Virtual Assistance
  • Personal Safety
  • Language Translation
  • Augmented Reality
  • Hearing Assistance


Applications


In-Ear/Over-Ear Tethered Hearable


Fuel Gauge Bio Sensors PMIC


True Wireless Untethered Hearable


PMIC PMIC Fuel Gauge Fuel Gauge Bio Sensors Bio Sensors

Solutions


Power Management

Power management circuits for hearables must be extremely small and efficient while supporting multiple battery types and providing the variety of rails needed for different circuit blocks. To reduce solution size, hearables rely on power management ICs (PMICs) which integrate several functions, such as regulation and charging, into a single compact device. The most versatile PMICs will support a wide input voltage range to support a variety of battery types over their entire range, from full charge to near empty. In addition to low-power operation and high efficiency, the more independent regulators that a PMIC provides improves solution efficiency for in-ear devices since the individual power rails can be tailored to the specific needs of the system.

PMICs for Hearables 
Buck-Boost Regulators for Hearables 

Battery Management

Battery management becomes critical for hearables because they require tiny batteries and demand highly accurate fuel gauges that maximize battery life to prevent premature or sudden shutdown. Our family of ModelGauge™ fuel gauges maximizes battery run-times and feature EZ configuration which eliminates time-consuming battery characterization work. Our battery management ICs help reduce costs and solution size all while extending the crucial battery life needed for hearable devices.

Battery Chargers for Hearables 
Battery Fuel Gauges for Hearables 

Audio Codecs and Headphone Amplifiers

Hearables require small, power-efficient audio solutions that enable engineers to design smaller, more comfortable in-ear devices while maintaining the high audio fidelity demanded by consumers. Furthermore, the move away from the 3.5mm jack and increased focus on wireless devices has greatly increased the need for small and efficient audio solutions. Maxim's audio solutions enable smaller, more comfortable hearables while offering the opportunity to integrate more functionality into the hearable and/or increase battery life. As hearables add functionality, they become increasingly complex and require solutions which can be as flexible as possible. The MAX98090 integrates an industry-leading, flexible clock lock-on mechanism that can operate in both the master and slave modes and at almost any frequency.

Audio CODECs for Hearables 
Headphone Amplifiers for Hearables 

Processing

Power usage and processing capabilities are the most important selection criteria for a microcontroller for hearable applications. A system partitioning strategy should be used to decide which system functions are best integrated into the microcontroller and which can be handled externally. Because hearable devices read pulse and other body signals, the capabilities of any on-chip analog circuitry must be considered to ensure they can accurately process low-level body signals.

Low-Power Microcontrollers for Hearables 

BioSensors

Hearables that monitor biometric signals typically require one or more in-ear optical sensors. Optical sensors use the reflection from an integrated LED to measure blood oxygen, pulse rate or other vital signs. To generate enough light intensity, the LEDs need to run at higher voltages (4V to 5V) than the typical range of Lithium-ion (Li+) batteries. The sensors used in hearables must also fit a small form factor while providing robust operation. Hearable solutions that provide plug-and-play software and robust algorithms help to simplify design.

Bio-Sensors for Hearables 


Featured Products


Power Management

Ultra-Low Power PMIC with 3-Output SIMO and Charger Optimized for Small Li+ Batteries

MAX77650-MAX77651

Highly Integrated with Ultra-Low 6.5µA Operating Current

Wearable Power Management Solution for Primary Cells

MAX20310

Wearable Power Management for Single-Cell Zinc Air, Silver Oxide, and Alkaline Battery Architectures

High-Efficiency Buck-Boost Regulator

MAX77801

Maximizes Power Efficiency with Seamless Transition Between Buck and Boost Mode

Battery Management

7µA 1-Cell Fuel Gauge with ModelGauge m5 EZ

MAX17055XEVKIT

Combines coulomb counting and voltage fuel gauging for highest SOC accuracy.

Learn more ›

3µA 1-Cell/2-Cell Fuel Gauge with ModelGauge

MAX17048EVKIT

Smallest, lowest power fuel gauge with proven, voltage-only ModelGauge algorithm.

Learn more ›

3µA 1-Cell Fuel Gauge with ModelGauge

MAX17048

Maximize Battery Run-Time with Industry's Smallest Size, Lowest Power Fuel Gauge

7µA 1-Cell Fuel Gauge with ModelGauge m5 EZ

MAX17055

ModelGauge m5 EZ Eliminates Battery Characterization

Wearable Charge-Management Solution

MAX14690

Extends Battery Life of Wearable Electronics

1A Linear Li+ Battery Charger with Integrated Pass FET and Thermal Regulation in 2mm x 2mm TDFN

MAX8808X/Y/Z

Simplest and Smallest Charging Solution for Hand-Held Equipment

Processing

High-Performance, Ultra-Low Power ARM Cortex-M4F with FPU-Based Microcontroller for Rechargeable Devices

MAX32620/MAX32621

BioSensors

High-Sensitivity Pulse Oximeter and Heart-Rate Sensor

MAX30102

Pulse Oximeter and Heart-Rate Biosensor for Wearable Health

Audio Codecs

Ultra-Low Power Stereo Audio Codec

MAX98090

High-performance, ultra-low power consumption, and small footprint make it ideal for portable applications.

Low-Power, Stereo Audio Codec

MAX9867

Ideal for Space-Constrained Designs

Resources



EZ Setup of MAX17055 ModelGauge m5 Low IQ Stand-Alone Fuel Gauge
8:16 min
March 2017



Meet the Health Sensor Platform
2:15 min
November 2016



Body Temperature Measurement: Send and Receive With Wearable NFC
2:00 min
November 2014



Pulse Oximetry Measurement: Wearable Oxygen Monitor for Active Lifestyles
2:06 min
November 2014



Wellness Watch: A Wearable Wellness Platform Example
2:25 min
November 2014



Fit Two Shirt: A Wearable Wellness Platform Example
2:08 min
November 2014



Heart Rate Monitor Demo
25:30 min
August 2016



Make High-Accuracy Biopotential and BioZ Measurements with MAX30001
3:52 min
November 2017



Wristband Health Monitoring Demo with MAX86141
4:55 min
November 2017



MAX98090 Evaluation Board Quick Setup
10:32 min
August 2014



Enhance Battery Life and Sound Quality for Hearables and Wearables with the MAX98090
3:23 min
April 2018



Increase Battery Life and Efficiency with PMICs at Less Than Half the Size
3:35 min
June 2017



SIMO Technology Overview using the MAX77650 PMIC
8:10 min
January 2018