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Samsung SIMBAND reference wearable now ready for developers

Tom Morgan
13 Nov 2014
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A multitude of sensors could make Samsung's SIMBAND the ultimate health wearable - if it gets developer support

Samsung might have announced its SIMBAND prototype wearable over six months ago, but it is only now getting into the hands of developers; the company confirmed it was now available to order at its Developer Conference last night.

Originally revealed at the "Voice of the Body" event in May, many critics saw SIMBAND as a pre-emptive strike against Apple's then-unannounced Apple Watch, but it appears the company has bigger plans for the device. After spending six extra months in development, Samsung revealed the reference platform yesterday, complete with modular sensor wristband and Gear S smartwatch-inspired styling.

The Gear S is already one of the biggest wearables we've seen, so Samsung has used that space to good effect - an array of sensors are built into the thick, cuff-like strap, including an electrocardiogram (ECG), bio-impedance (bio-z) sensor, photoplethysmogram (PPG), galvanic skin response (GSR) sensor, a sensor for measuring skin temperature and finally an accelerometer.

It should work with the new bio processor, also announced yesterday. It has been designed to make it easier for developers to integrate health monitoring abilities to their future wearables, beyond the heart rate sensors and accelerometers commonly used today.

Finally, the company announced the Samsung Digital Health platform SDK, which will help app developers code software specifically for wearables using SIMBAND health sensors. According to Samsung's VP of digital health Ram Fish, you won't have to rely on Samsung's sensors, either. "You can develop your own algorithms, your own sensor, completely from scratch."

It's not clear when Samsung will actually start shipping SIMBAND, of when the first commercially available gadgets based on the technology will appear, but it's certainly a welcome step forward for personal health monitoring and wearable tech in general.

In the meantime, developers can find more information on the hardware and SDK at Samsung's Voice of the Body website.

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