When people hear the name, Samsung, smartphones immediately come to mind, and rightly so as they are the world’s largest manufacturer of the devices. However, with waning sales and profits in the smartphone industry as a whole, Samsung has relied on their profitable display, memory and chip divisions to help bail them out. It also does not hurt that Samsung is able to sell those products to other manufacturers, which increases their sales and profitability. Samsung is constantly developing and improving its chips – smaller, faster, lighter – and such is the case with a new Bio Processor that Samsung Electronics’ System LSI division just recently developed. It is capable of measuring electrocardiogram (ECG) and consists of embedded flash memory, an applications processor and Bluetooth all on one module, keeping its size and thickness to a minimum. This will make it ideal for wearable devices where the size of the processor must be kept to a minimum.
The new Bio Processor is also capable of monitoring Photo PlethysmoGraph – a fancy way of saying it can monitor the rate of blood flow and body fat. Because everybody has his or her own person heartbeat, the Bio Processor can distinguish one person from another and it can actually be used to automatically log you into devices – even allowing access to your house or card door. Up until now, wearables will track the steps of an individual and their heart rate, but with the new Bio Processor, you would be able to access “a bioelectrical impedance analysis, a detailed breakdown of organ measurements, an electrocardiogram showing electrical activity of their heart and a graph showing skin temperature.” This is real information that a doctor could use to help at your next physical.
The Bio Processor has already gone into mass production and demonstrated it at CES on a prototype item named the S-Patch. It needs to be attached on the user’s chest for it to get a real-time heart rate while the user can view the data on a Bluetooth connected smartphone or tablet via the accompanying app. This real-time information can be shared with your trainer or, more importantly, your doctor, which Samsung claims can detect life-threatening health issues before they become a problem. While we will certainly see this Bio Processor in the next generation of the Samsung Gear S2, it should also begin making an appearance in other wearables in early 2016.