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Samsung Simband Reference Hardware

In the Future, Health Care May Start With Samsung

Samsung's Gear Fit and S Health are just the beginning of the company's foray into digital health technology. This week at an event in San Francisco called "Voice of the Body," Samsung Electronics President Young Sohn imagined a world where, thanks to wearable sensors with capabilities far beyond today's simple fitness bands, people can proactively monitor their health and not be blindsided by a doctor's diagnosis. To achieve this world, Samsung has introduced the Simband, an open hardware reference design. It's not a product you'd buy in the store, rather, it's a jumping-off point for other innovators to build on and create more apps and hardware to monitor users' health stats.

Components of the Simband are modular, meaning it can be fully customized to whatever specifications future developers dream up. It's not just steps the Simband wants to measure, it's also blood pressure, skin temperature, and hydration levels, to name a few. Practicalities like wanting to wear a health sensor at all times are addressed with the Simband. A shuttle battery attaches to the band to charge while being worn — likely when the user is asleep — so that its use wouldn't be interrupted by taking off the device to charge.

A look at how an app could be used with Samsung's new hardware concept.

Everything about Simband and its corresponding cloud-based service SAMI (which stands for Samsung Architecture for Multimodal Interactions — rolls off the tongue, right?), which is where all the data from your future health wearables will be stored, is open. Samsung is using open APIs, open software, and open hardware designs with the hope that there won't be any operating system or ecosystem barriers for people to monitor their body's vital signs.

Samsung's big push into health and wellness comes just a week before Apple's Worldwide Developer's Conference, where it's rumored an iOS Healthbook app monitoring blood pressure, hydration levels, and heart rate could debut.

Though there's lots of buzz right now about a future where gadgets on our wrist can tell us how our bodies are doing before ever stepping foot in a doctor's office, the reality is still far off. The possibilities have us wondering: are you excited for technology's move toward personal health sensors, or is it another sign of connectivity overload?

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