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Optical Components on Track for a Future of Fitness

25th Mar 2020

Suffice to say, 2020’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has taken the world by storm. Life, as we know it, has changed. The UK and USA’s theatrical hubs, the West End and Broadway, have both closed their doors, restaurants across the globe are donning temporary ‘we’re closed’ signs and big-name retailers are pulling down their shutters – which for some, is the first time in their long-spanning histories. Not only have we witnessed an entire sea change in human-to-human interaction, but our dependence on technology is reaching higher-than-ever heights. These are just a few of the short-term consequences of COVID-19; however, numerous long-term repercussions are projected for the future – and our forecast is surprisingly optimistic. 

Of course, it’s too early to evaluate the damage COVID-19 has caused the world over the past few months just yet; however, there are definite trends we’re all witnessing across the world as we’re glued to our television screens, phones, tablets and laptops awaiting Governmental guidance and checking in on our peers’ means of ‘keeping calm and carrying on’. As well as generating a worldwide digital-based community and virtually bringing people closer together; there’s been an even greater focus on health and wellbeing via the form of exercise.

Whether it’s housebound gentle activity, a quick 15-minute walk around the block or a late afternoon run in the early spring sunshine (all following Governmental social distancing guidelines, of course); consumers are all starting to appreciate the great outdoors that little bit more. Moreover, with a greater reliance on our connected devices, many more of us are counting the steps to avoid immobility.

Keeping Watch on Wearable Technology Innovations  

Over the past few years, the rise of the smartwatch, in particular, has called for a healthier world with people acutely aware of the unhealthy desk-bound lives many of us lead. The potential of this wearable technology is significant, and with the ever-growing nature of technology continually advancing, we’re certainly on track to witness further, potentially life-altering, developments soon.

For example, only last week, it was reported that smartwatch heavyweight manufacturer Fitbit’s CEO and Co-Founder, James Parker, is to share the wearable technology’s health data “to boost the fight against COVID-19…” According to Parker: “The Scripps Research Translational Institute published a study that showed data from Fitbit wearables significantly improved the prediction of influenza-like illness1.” Again, another significant feature of today’s wearable technology.

Our Role in the Health and Wellbeing Markets

As a provider of optical components for the wearable technologies and wellbeing markets, Knight Optical has assisted with the manufacture of some of the world’s most innovative devices over the years. And, as greater awareness is drawn to the health benefits associated with wearable technologies such as smartwatches, Knight Optical is poised to meet the discerning demands of these high-tech devices with its custom-made, metrology-tested optical components.

How are Optical Components Used in Smartwatches? 

There’s an abundance of optics used in the manufacture of smartwatches. However, you may be asking how they are integrated into devices and how optics work within this coveted wearable tech? Here, we’ve highlighted commonly specified optical components and coatings for smartwatches and explain why they’re such a good match.

Sapphire Windows 

Sapphire (Al2O3) is a highly sought-after substrate for many enduring applications – including gas and oil analyses and furnace viewports. Due to its scratch-resistant properties, it’s ideally suited as a protective window for higher-end smartwatch faces.

However, it’s not just thanks to its enhanced protection against unwanted watch face scuffs and marks that Sapphire Windows are specified for top-of-the-range smartwatch devices. As developments have progressed, manufacturers have responded to the call for water-resistant devices to improve both convenience and expand the buying potential amongst water sport-based consumers. As Sapphire is commonly used on remotely operated underwater vehicles (ROVs), it’s underwater strength (subject to depth, of course) is recognised amongst high-end manufacturers seeking water-resistance as well as durability for smartwatch devices.

Oleophobic Coatings 

Due to its oil repellence, Oleophobic Coatings are applied to most smartwatch faces. This coating repels oil generated by the skin and is, therefore, applied to these watches’ faces as a fingerprint-proofing measure. It’s not only watches that rely from this benefit; however, smartphones, tablets and most technologies with a touchscreen make use of oleophobic coatings for a fingerprint-free finish.

Sapphire Lenses

One of the more essential features of these devices is the heart rate monitor, and this works by using a technology called photoplethysmography (also known as PPG) technology. In some of the more well-known brands of smartwatches, Sapphire Lenses are used as part of this configuration on the back of the device.

Anti-Reflective (AR) Coatings 

Much like the makers of regular watches, some manufacturers apply Anti-Reflective (AR) coatings to watch faces to reduce the effect of glare when users are viewing data on screen – this improves both user vision and the appearance of the device.

Why Knight Optical’s in the Running for Wearable Technology 

Over the years, we have assisted with the optical specification of many high-end devices including wearable technologies such as smartwatches as well as smartphones and other devices.

It is thanks to our dedicated team and unparalleled optical knowledge that we are able to offer first-class advice for prototyping as well as mass production of optics for wearable technologies. What’s more, Knight Optical’s Technical Sales Advisers have worked with world-leading manufacturers on some of the industry’s most game-changing innovations. Thanks to our 28 years’ experience within the sector, we have augmented a renowned status in recent years with our ever-evolving custom capabilities and support of this sector.

Custom-Made Optical Components in High Demand for Wearable Technologies 

Our Custom-Made Optics are of high popularity amongst manufacturers. By choosing our custom-made components not only will you be able to choose the substrate, coating, thickness, tolerance and dimension best suited to your device; but you’ll also benefit from second-to-none optical knowledge from a member of our experienced team.

If you’re looking for premium-quality, bespoke optical components for the next generation of smartwatches or other wearable technologies, please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of the Technical Sales Team.



About Knight Optical Ltd

Since 1991, Knight Optical Ltd has been supplying premium optical components to a diverse range of industries such as the Defence, Security & Aerospace, Engineering & Manufacturing, Medical as well as Oil & Gas sectors – plus many more. As a brand built on excellence, Knight Optical prides itself on its high level of unparalleled quality and undertakes thorough inspection and testing of its optical components to guarantee compliance with the most complex of optical specifications. Offering exceptional service, Knight Optical conducts a full inspection of your optics from our ISO 9001:2015-certified, state-of-the-art Metrology Laboratory, followed by a meticulous visual examination by our dedicated QA department.