Fitness And Chips

The quest for better information about athletic competitiveness, health and aging will continue to drive the need for more advanced manufacturing.


By Michell Prunty
For most of 2012 Semico has focused on how new data is driving the consumer industry. This isn’t just for servers or cloud storage, but also for smart phones and tablets. New ways of interacting with our devices, like augmented reality, are becoming increasingly more available to the average consumer via the processing capability in our phones.

With all this advanced technology surrounding us, its no wonder that we’re moving back to the basics…of a sort. Self-improvement is the next driving force behind innovation. We’re already seeing some quite popular products hitting the market. Many of these new self-improvement products are really just new display options for infographics, enabling us to personalize our obsession with data.

Of course, the new fitness craze isn’t just for people looking to improve their health. We’re gravitating toward fitness products so we can understand our bodies and how the environment affects us. There are a million and one questions that data mining our every day lives can answer—and they all have an impact on semiconductors and semiconductor manufacturing.

  • Why did that athlete lose their last tennis match?
  • Why did one swimmer come in third instead of first? What did the guy in first place do differently?
  • How do the different types of foods we eat affect our weight gain or loss?
  • What are my best fitness records and what do I need to do to beat them? What are my friend’s?

It is said the millennials are all about “me, me, me,” and this fitness craze certainly lends credence to that idea. But, as a society, there are also many health concerns around our current population, and how that population is going to grow between now and 2030. In addition, with the current recession and stagnant economies, the health industry is looking to cut costs and focus on preventive measures.

So maybe it’s not just a fitness craze after all. Semico believes the portable healthcare and “Aging in Place” industries are going to experience huge growth, and be the focal point for another shift in how consumers interact with their environment and technology. The following are a few statistics about why this market is going to be so important.

  • About of 11% of the world population is over 60 years, and that percentage is expected to increase to 14% by 2020. That percentage will be closer to 30% in many industrialized nations.
  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the United States will have 65 million more obese people by 2030. And according to the U.S. Institute of Medicine, today’s annual cost of obesity-related illnesses is over $190 billion.
  • 35.7% of adults were obese in 2010 according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control.
  • University of Tennessee says the average adult takes 5,117 steps per day, half of the U.S. Surgeon General’s recommendation.
  • Americans spend $2.8 trillion a year on health care, according to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The Center estimates that $765 billion a year is wasted in some form or another.
  • Almost 70 million Americans are inactive.
  • About 80% of the worldwide healthcare spending is on chronic disease management, with 860 million patients.

This is one of the largest target markets available, because it includes us all, all age types, cultures, and regions. And it not only requires a focus on the portable fitness side, but also on medical infrastructure, education, monitoring, and equipment. This means electronics to store medical records; electronics for more accurate surgeries; fitness tracking and health monitoring.

All of these involve semiconductors, and many of these chips will require process technologies and techniques that range from older and proven techniques at older nodes to double patterning, finFETs and ultimately 3D stacking. If you wonder what will drive future advances in semiconductor design and manufacturing, you may not have to look any further than the person next to you.

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