Samsung targets processor at health-based wearables
Reuters and Steve Rogerson
January 5, 2016
Korean giant Samsung Electronics has started selling a processor aimed at health-focused wearable products, seeking to tap into a fast-growing market.
The chip is the first that can take multiple measurements – including body fat, skin temperature and heart rate – as well as process the information collected by itself, Samsung said in a statement.
To help clients accelerate product development using the chip, the firm said it had developed reference platform products such as a wristband to demonstrate the chip's capabilities.
The step comes amid a push by tech firms to develop and sell wearable products – such as smartwatches – that offer a variety of health-related features including data collection and monitoring.
Some firms are seeking to launch sophisticated products capable of detecting and monitoring more serious diseases to tap in to a market that Soreon Research says could be worth more than $41bn in 2020.
Samsung began mass production of the new chips in December. It said the processor would power a new device to be launched in the first half of 2016, but declined to elaborate on the maker of the device.
• Samsung Electronics demonstrated three Creative Lab (C-Lab) projects for the first time at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. C-Lab is one of Samsung’s innovation programmes, which helps its employees to nurture their own creative business ideas.
The three projects are the Welt healthcare belt that helps people manage their waist size by measuring their daily habits and behaviours, Rink hand-motion controller for mobile VR devices, and TipTalk user experience (UX) that enables users to hear sounds transmitted through their own body.
As the projects are still in the development process; they were showcased to assess their market potential and to gather hands-on feedback from CES attendees, enabling further improvements to be made.
Welt is a smart wearable healthcare belt that looks like a normal belt, thus offering consumers a more discreet way of using smart sensor technology to monitor their health. It is capable of recording the user’s waist size, eating habits and the number of steps taken, as well as time spent sitting down. It then sends these data to a specially designed app for analysis, and the production of a range of personalised healthcare and weight management plans.
Rink is a hand-motion controller for mobile VR devices and provides a more intuitive and nuanced way to interact with the virtual world. The ability to intuitively control the game or content just by using their hands provides consumers with a much deeper level of mobile VR immersion.
TipTalk is a UX that enables people to listen to the sound from their smart devices, such as the Samsung Gear S2, without headsets or earphones, simply by touching their finger to their ear. This enhances the clarity of calls, enabling them to be taken in public, even in noise-sensitive or loud environments, such as a concert hall or building site, without the risk of being overheard.
Shaped like a watchstrap, TipTalk can be added to watches – analogue or smart – and sync with smartphones, enabling text-to-speech functionality.
Since being founded in 2012, Samsung’s C-Lab has fostered creative thinking throughout the company and supported more than 100 projects. Of these C-Lab projects, around 70 have already been completed, 40 of which are being further developed by Samsung’s business units.
This year, nine of these projects have been identified as having an especially high potential. As such Samsung has helped these project teams launch fully-fledged external start-ups – with one example being the inventor of Tip Talk, Innomdle Lab, which launched as a new, independent company in August 2015.