Samsung SIMBAND: ‘Intelligent Digital Health’

Samsung SIMBAND: ‘Intelligent Digital Health’South Korean manufacturer Samsung is clearly quite keen on ramming the whole fitness thing down everyone’s throats. We already have the Samsung Gear Fit “wearable”, while the Samsung Galaxy S5 recently arrived with a rear heart rate monitor.

Taking things a step further, they’ve announced the Samsung SIMBAND, a modular device built for customisation, alongside SAMI (Samsung Architecture for Multimodal Interactions), a data collection service.

The Samsung SIMBAND is roughly the same size as your typical smartwatch, but is more overtly focused on all things fitness.

Among other things, the Samsung SIMBAND can measure heart rate, blood flow, hydration levels, respiration, and galvanic skin response (sweat, basically), as well as providing data about potential crud in the surrounding air.

Addressing concerns about the need for frequent charges (see: Galaxy Gear), Samsung says the SIMBAND could adopt some sort of magnetic charging technology, so the wearer could leave the device on overnight.

Meanwhile, SAMI, Samsung’s internal data collection drive, allows the resulting data to be shared with other applications, such as S Health, and even other “connected” devices like a scale.

Furthermore, in partnership with UCSF's Digital Health Innovation Lab, Samsung hopes to use everyone’s data – with your permission, of course – to make a "truly meaningful impact on health” across the globe.

However, the University of Oxford's Dr Aiden Doherty appeared to display concerns about the influx of consumer health devices, which are less tightly controlled than, like, proper medical equipment.

"There's a tension because medical devices have to undergo rigorous checks while consumer devices don't," said Doc Doherty, speaking to the BBC.

"For any company or university or health researcher the number one thing is that a device provides accurate output, otherwise inaccurate data would mean our insights would be inaccurate too."

Cynical observers also note that Samsung’s announcement took place a matter of days before WWDC 2014, where Apple will almost certainly commence its health initiatives, possibly including the Apple iWatch, and iOS 8 apps like Healthbook.

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