Samsung to Leverage Open Source in Advancing Digital Health Monitoring
This week Samsung is drawing a lot of buzz with its announcement of the Samsung Digital Health Initiative, which will be based on open hardware platforms and open software architecture. The initiative has several arms, but one primary area of focus will be on delivering very smart wearable devices that go well beyond the capabilities of wearable health devices such as Fitbit. In fact, Samsung officials are touting wearable devices that monitor blood pressure, deliver electrocardiogram (ECG) readings, and more.
Samsung has said that it is seeking the resources and innovation of open source developers, entrepreneurs and partner companies with the initiative. Samsung's Simband is an open hardware reference design for wearable devices.
"Simband is an 'investigational device' which will help it meld sensors and other electronics with software and services to create future digital health technology. And rather than being yet another proprietary device such as the company’s Gear smartwatches, Simband is an open platform which Samsung hopes other companies will embrace...It packs Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and sensors for measuring factors such as heart rate and oxygen level."
Samsung also announced SAMI, which stands for Samsung Multimodal Architecture Interaction. SAMI is a cloud-centric platform for capturing the data collected by wearable devices like the Simband. In the cloud, SAMI's health-related data could be delivered in real-time to users or to doctors.
Simband will be available to developers later this year, and it won't become a product that you can buy for several more months after that. However, it appears that this initiative could lead to the next chapter in wearable health devices, and the open source community is invited to help with that effort.
Futurists such as Ray Kurzweil have predicted that it won't be long before wearable devices monitor our blood pressure, cardiac metrics, blood oxygen levels, insulin levels and even provide early detection of cancer, which could greatly expand lifespans.