Posted: February 21, 2013

Inside the Nike+ FuelBand


NIKE has designed an interesting gadget for the casual athlete in its Fuel Band. This device basically makes a game of...well...moving.

The Fuelband utilizes a sports-tested three-axis accelerometer that allows its user to track steps taken and calories burned over the course of various daily activities. Nike has designed an iOS (and PC) app with a beautiful UI that allows you to visualize your day to day level of activity via Bluetooth. You can share your progress with friends through social media so they can shame you into getting off your butt.

The band’s LED lights up and progresses from red to green as you work your way to achieve your daily goals. It's worth noting however that the accelerometer doesn’t track how arduous your activity is. The athletic company has taken a video game approach by inventing a proprietary unit of measurement; Nike Fuel. We're gadget geeks here and not fitness freaks, so we'll let the product reviewers tell you more about how effective this approach is.At its price point, there isn't a lot of silicon in it, although there is some decent horsepower.

A flexible circuit board


It's always pretty interesting to see how a rigid circuit board can be adapted to fit the round form of this fitness bracelet by incorporating the displayed orange flexible circuit boards. Nike has inserted the monopole antenna into the substrate of the circuit board.

Chips cataloged:


  • Spansion S25FL032PIF Flash
  • STMicroelectronics C3H Accelerometer
  • Texas Instruments TXB0108ZXY Power Supply and Device Controller
  • Texas Instruments TPS78218 Voltage Regulator
  • Texas Instruments CC2564-TIWI-UB2 Bluetooth
  • Texas Instruments MSP430F5328IZQE Microcontroller
  • STMicroelectronics-STM32L151QCH6 Microcontrollers
  • Nike BRS11
  • Nike WM0105-001_LED1
  • Texas Instruments BQ24040 Li-lon Management

Nike just does silicon


A title that plays on the old "Just do it" slogan is dating the author of this teardown.  But you know we had to say something to draw attention to it, because seeing a chip branded by a consumer athletic equipment and apparel juggernaut is  newsworthy.

Are we going to see Nike ads featuring attractive (and sweaty) engineers in clean-room outfits in the coming months?

In this case, no.  A depot of the chip reveals a device with die markings ST and UI47AA. Given its proximity to the LED strip and the look of the top metal die photo, we believe that this is the chip driving the LEDs and is likely a custom-designed ASSP from STMicroelectronics.


A Closer Look at the STMicroelectronics C3H Accelerometer


The C3H is a sports-tested three-axis accelerometer that allows the Fuel Band's user to track steps taken and calorie burned over the course of various daily activities. Pictured is an x-ray shot of the accelerometer. Shown to its right are (respectively) the depotted die shots of the STM-C5L23A and the STM-V656A.


Texas Instruments is a big winner


TI gets the power supply and device controller with their TXB0108ZXY, the voltage regulator with their TX-TPS78218, Bluetooth with their CC2564-TIWI-UB2 and the RDL with their TEX-BQ24040 (Li-lon management). The BQ2404x series of devices are highly integrated Lithium-Ion and Lithium-Polymer linear charger devices targeted at space-limited portable applications (4th picture on right).

TI also wins a microcontroller slot with their MSP430F5328IZQE (5th picture on right). According to TI, "The Texas Instruments MSP430™ family of ultra-low-power microcontrollers consists of several devices featuring different sets of peripherals targeted for various applications. The architecture, combined with extensive low power modes, is optimized to achieve extended battery life in portable measurement applications. The device features a powerful 16-bit RISC CPU, 16-bit registers, and constant generators."


A closer look at the STMicroelectronic Ultra Low Power MCU with eFlash


The medium density plus ultra-low-power STM32L15xxC incorporates the connectivity power of the universal serial bus (USB) with the high-performance ARM Cortex -M3 32-bit RISC core operating at a 32 MHz frequency, a memory protection unit (MPU), high-speed embedded memories (flash memory up to 256 Kbytes and RAM up to 32 Kbytes) and an extensive range of enhanced I/Os and peripherals connected to two APB buses.

So there you have it. Something new in our teardown blog that isn't a smart phone. This category of wearable devices, whether for health care or for fitness is poised for rapid growth and we have seen quite a number of them in our teardown labs of late. We'll be sharing some more in the coming months so check back with our blog or follow us on Twitter (@Chipworks)