At its second annual developers conference held in San Francisco, Samsung took the wraps off its Simband wearable. Now in its second iteration, the new device is in its beta stage for developers, with its API and SDKs released today.
When the original Simband debuted earlier this May, it was designed as a health band, but not a smartwatch. Its focus is entirely on health tracking, collecting lots of data to share with medical researchers, doctors, and for personal health use. Simband is open and modular, and comes studded with a ton of medical sensors.
It works with a variety of medical needs and with many sensor technologies, and works with SAMI, Samsung's cloud-based solution for collecting and analyzing sensor-based health data.
Like its predecessor, the new generation has several sensors that continuously measure and monitor a user's biometric data. It uses optical, electrical, and physical methods of collecting heart rate, blood flow and pressure, skin temperature, CO2 and oxygen levels, EKG levels, and even simulated blood pressure, all to display real-time electrocardiograph information of it all.
With this new generation, however, Samsung reported new advancements with the wearable, such as more robust sensors, more accurate algorithms and sweatproofing. The device has also been redesigned, looking very similar to the Samsung Gear S, with its curved 2-inch display.
Inside is an ARM-based processor and the battery is hot-swappable for easy night charging while wearing to enable 24/7 tracking.
The Simband is not intended to be a consumer product. Instead, Samsung said it is a reference platform for developers and the idea seems to be to use it to help prevent disease and deliver better health profile. Its open APIs are for medical use, to be tested at hospitals and medical institutions.
The bigger question is how these sensors will evolve, how Samsung's cloud will use the data, and how other researchers and companies will be able to develop tools for Simband. The medical industry is a large beast, and Samsung's desire to create a new open platform is an ambitious one, to say the least. And, odds are Samsung won't be the only company to try to lay claim to an open health platform.
Simband looks a step toward acknowledging how big a hill wearable health tech still has left to climb.
Sport: Fitness and wellness
Proficiency level: Expert/Intermediate