Samsung Launches Digital Health Initiative
Samsung wants your body – or at least help you monitor it.
Yesterday, Samsung’s Strategy and Innovation Center (SSIC) unveiled its Digital Health Initiative, a three-pronged approach to promote health-related applications.
A number of companies manufacture wristbands that monitor biometric data. Samsung is taking a different approach. With open source hardware, software and mechanical schematics, Samsung designed the Simband to be changed.
The Simband is essentially a prototype of a biometric wristband – but instead of Samsung building upon its functionality, the tech giant is encouraging others to use it as a jumping off point for greater design.
The current functionality includes sensors to monitor heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature. According to Samsung, its partners are already working on new sensors to monitor O2 and CO2 levels. The modular design of the Simband allows these partners to directly insert additional sensors into the wristband without involving Samsung.
Simband has the potential of becoming the “Android” of wearable biometric devices with third party manufacturers and developers serving as the driving force of innovation.
Samsung Architecture for Multimodal Interactions (SAMI)
A little more disconcerting is Samsung’s desire to create a cloud-base repository and data-sharing center for health-related information collected by Simband.
Conceptually, SAMI could be used to connect a patient with his doctor and provide a constant flow of biometric data. The next time the patient has an appointment with his doctor, all of the biometric data collected since the last office visit is already available and undergone analysis.
While the idea is certainly interesting, many people will be unwilling to share such data due to privacy and security concerns.
Samsung Digital Health Challenge
In an effort to promote Simband and SIMI innovation, has created a £30 million (US$50 million) investment fund to assist start-ups and support new technologies related to the Digital Health Initiative. According to Samsung, the Digital Health Challenge fund is to “stimulate creative new approaches to digital health and Samsung’s open platforms.”
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All in all, Samsung’s Digital Health Initiative is extremely creative and has a great deal of potential. Of course, its success depends on the willingness of individuals to wear a biometric wristband. Thus far, the trend with wearable biometric devices is that individuals ultimately lose interest and toss such devices in the drawer. It’s hard to imagine that Samsung will be able to overcome this tendency.