Healthcare Technology Featured Article

May 29, 2014

Samsung's New SIMBAND Offers Huge Potential in Healthcare

In the opening days of May, Samsung put out the word that it was going to be hosting an event that would focus on “a new conversation around health...,” which promptly fired up a lot of imaginations, as speculation ran rampant about what Samsung—who was already no slouch in the healthcare field—was going to bring out. The event in question—dubbed the “Voice of the Body” event—brought out the answer in a big way with the introduction of SIMBAND, and from there, staggering new possibilities were brought into the field.

The SIMBAND system, as it's known, is set to operate—as described by Young Sohn, the president and chief operating officer of Samsung—almost like a car dashboard for the human body. SIMBAND is set to allow device makers, particularly sensor makers, to be able to integrate sensors into one central device, almost as though it were a modular system not unlike Google's Project Ara smartphone, a system where components can be added and removed as the situation warrants.

The SIMBAND system itself, meanwhile, runs on a 1 GHz dual-core ARM A7 processor, with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, as well as a very thin battery to deliver the necessary power to keep the whole thing operational. The band is where most of the action takes place, however, as it contains the SIMBAND Sensor Module, which in turn is where the various sensors are housed, including things like an optical light sensor to measure pulse rate or temperature, or even an electrocardiogram (ECG) sensor to track heart performance. Additionally, reports suggest the data these sensors can pick up can in turn be sent on to various devices in the Samsung Architecture for Multimodal Interactions (SAMI) line. While the device that Samsung showed off wasn't going to be made available, it was intended to show off just what a SIMBAND device could do.

Such a device would have huge benefits in the healthcare field. Not only could it be used as a preventative tool, serving as an activity tracker and general vital sign tracker, but it could also be used as a recuperative tool, serving as a means to better help hospitals track vital signs on patients without the need for bulky, room-filling machines that can often intimidate a patient. Just slip on a SIMBAND system and the next thing you know results are going back to a central hub that could even be connected to alarm systems. In theory, it might even be used to keep patients out of a hospital altogether for at least some recovery phases, turning more procedures into outpatient rather than inpatient ones. Those who have certain predispositions for things like diabetes or heart disease, meanwhile, could keep track of vital statistics at home, and make necessary adjustments as needed rather than having to see physicians and having blood work done, at least in some cases.

This is the kind of thing that, if done properly, could streamline the healthcare system considerably, and a leaner system commonly requires fewer resources to maintain. That helps manage costs and make healthcare more accessible in general, the kind of development we've all been hoping to see. While Samsung's SIMBAND system may not solve all of healthcare's ills, it can certainly address some of these, and help make the whole process healthier as a result.

Want to learn more about the latest in wearable technology? Be sure to attend Wearable Tech Expo, July 23 & 24 at the Javits Convention Center in New York City.  Stay in touch with everything happening at the event -- follow us on Twitter.

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Edited by Maurice Nagle

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