Samsung shows off Simband watch as platform for multiple health sensors

It considers the concept a common platform for wearable sensor development by third parties

Ram Fish, vice president of digital health at Samsung Electronics, demonstrated the Simband watch concept at an event in San Francisco on Wednesday.

Ram Fish, vice president of digital health at Samsung Electronics, demonstrated the Simband watch concept at an event in San Francisco on Wednesday.

Samsung demonstrated a concept watch, the Simband, that's designed to be a platform for sensors from third-party vendors and to work with Samsung's SAMI wireless data broker service.

The Simband has room in its band for multiple sensors and has a removable battery to let users keep the device on continuously. Though Samsung didn't announce any product plans or release date for the Simband, the company did describe several elements of its hardware architecture, including a motherboard smaller than an SD card.

Samsung pitched the Simband as a common platform for wearable sensor development that would remove the need for manufacturers to create a device from scratch every time they want to make a new type of sensor. The data from those sensors can be collected by SAMI (Samsung Architecture for Multimodal Interactions) and can be used in a variety of apps from third parties.

Mobile health is the opportunity of a generation but will take many players to solve, said Young Sohn, president and chief strategy officer at Samsung Electronics.

"I believe this is a big enough challenge that we cannot do it alone," Sohn said.

Samsung also announced a Digital Health Challenge in which it will invest US$50 million to help entrepreneurs work on health-related projects.

The company is working with selected partners already on the Simband platform and expects to release a Simband SDK (software development kit) later this year. A beta version of an API (application programming interface) for SAMI will also come by the end of the year, Sohn said.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

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