Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. today launched a bold initiative aimed at directing the resources and innovation of the global technology industry toward empowering individuals to better manage their own health and wellness.
The Samsung Digital Health Initiative is based on open hardware and software platforms that will accelerate the development of advanced sensors, algorithms, and data collection and analysis.
At an event at San Francisco’s SFJAZZ Center today, Samsung’s Strategy and Innovation Center (SSIC) team demonstrated its open platform in a wearable wristband form factor, showing how devices based on this reference-design “blueprint” could be used to track measurements such as heart rate, respiratory rate and blood pressure. The company also demonstrated its open software architecture and how it could be used to collect data from a variety of sources, aggregate it and display it in a format allowing consumers to better understand what is taking place within their bodies.
The open platforms, combined with agreements like the one recently announced by Samsung and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) to validate new technologies for personal health and wellness, are designed to help entrepreneurs bring innovative products to market more quickly.
“Samsung’s Digital Health Initiative provides an exciting opportunity for the brightest minds in the technology world to come together to develop the products that will, for the first time, put individuals in the driver’s seat in understanding their own health and wellness,” said Young Sohn, president and chief strategy officer, Device Solutions, Samsung Electronics.
“At a time when healthcare spending is at record levels and when the number of people over the age of 60 worldwide is expected to exceed more than 1.2 billion by 2025, digital health is an incredibly important area for innovation. We believe this initiative is an essential first step and we invite developers and partners across the globe to join us in creating the technologies of the future that will help make people’s lives healthier.”
- Open Hardware Platform: Samsung’s Simband is an open hardware reference design for wearable technology, capable of integrating the most advanced sensing technologies in the world. Simband is being designed in a modular way, allowing for innovation in areas like battery life, form factor and noninvasive sensor technology. Innovators are invited to use the reference platform to create and contribute their own advanced sensors, algorithms and other technologies. Simband is a reference design Samsung and third-parties will use to develop products. It will not be sold commercially. This approach is intended to lead to the creation of ecosystems for hardware and algorithms that will enable new technology to be easily incorporated into finished products.
- Open Software Architecture: The Samsung Architecture for Multimodal Interactions (SAMI) will be a cloud-based open software platform capable of bringing together diverse data from a variety of sources for analysis. It will allow devices and sensors to securely store data in the cloud regardless of the source’s format or structure. SAMI’s job is to make more information available, to break open information silos and give applications and services access to large amounts of data to provide better insights. Under Samsung’s approach, SAMI will allow data to be controlled by the individual generating it and not by third-parties, so that personal health data can be better protected.
The combination of Simband-designed sensor technologies and algorithms and SAMI-based software will take individual understanding of the body to a new level – for the first time giving voice to a deeper understanding of personal health and wellness. In addition, through the development of new sensing technologies and software, it’s possible that entirely new and previously unimagined insights into health and wellness could be generated.
Dr. Michael Blum, associate vice chancellor for informatics at UCSF, said:
“Our bodies have always had something to say but now, with advanced sensors, algorithms and software, we will finally be able to tune into what the body is telling us.”
“Validation of these technologies will improve the quality of data collected and help advance the ability to bring new products to market quickly. UCSF is pleased to play an important role in this effort to focus increased technology resources on digital health.”
To support its Digital Health Initiative, Samsung today also announced the Samsung Digital Health Challenge, a $50 million investment fund dedicated to innovative start-ups and technologies in the digital health area. The goal of the fund is to stimulate creative new approaches to digital health and Samsung’s open platforms.