Wearable device market faces safety compliance dilemma

3rd March 2017
Source: TÜV SÜD
Posted By : Alice Matthews
Wearable device market faces safety compliance dilemma

TÜV SÜD Product Service has warned that the wearable device market is facing a compliance dilemma, trying to apply current test standards and methodologies to this rapidly evolving technology, leaving manufacturers, retailers and end-users vulnerable to potential risks. Manufacturers and retailers could be compromising both the quality and safety of their products because they rely on off-the-shelf electronic components, which have not been expressly designed for wearable use.

As the wearables market is so immature, specific compliance requirements are still emerging, and there is insufficient evidence available to assess the performance of standard components in a new wearable application.

TÜV SÜD has advised manufacturers and retailers to take a ‘safety beyond compliance’ approach to the test and certification of wearables. Going beyond what current regulations or standards dictate will help prove that they have performed the necessary due diligence to bring a safe and compliant product to market. This should include seeking expert advice regarding any marketing claims associated with a product, particularly regarding 'medical' claims.

Richard Poate, Senior Manager at TÜV SÜD Product Service, said: “With product innovation comes market immaturity and, as regulations and standards tend to follow technology development, this has left a regulatory black hole for wearables. To take advantage of this burgeoning market, some manufacturers are simply enhancing existing traditional products, such as jewellery, clothing and watches. However, this is a complex process which changes the safety compliance requirements, and it therefore requires a new approach to designing and testing.”

A comprehensive suite of tests to evaluate the safety and reliability of wearables should include:

  • Battery lifecycle
  • Bio-compatibility
  • Chemicals and other hazardous materials
  • Data security
  • Electrical safety
  • EMC
  • Mechanical
  • SAR
  • Wireless

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