The Health Tech ramp up is extending ever higher in anticipation of great demand and huge market opportunities with consumers and healthcare professionals. With the B2C and B2B opportunities, major companies that you might not expect to see in Health Tech — such as GE and Google (via its new Alphabet division Verily) — are making huge investments in the field. The familiar technology giants are on point as well, with Samsung Electronics continuing to develop enabling technologies to give the South Korean company a strong position as a component provider for other companies as well as for products it may introduce on its own.
Previously we’ve written about Samsung’s flexible battery technology, Simband open platform for wearable Health Tech, wearable OLED screens, and partnering with consumer products company UnderArmour and medical device manufacturer Medtronics. Now Samsung is introduced its multipurpose Bio-Processor with the potential of providing core processing power for a wide range of new devices.
The Bio-Processor combines a micro-controller unit, analog front end circuitry for processing signals from various sensors, a digital signal processor, integrated power management, and flash memory. The unit combines all of these crucial functions in single component small enough for incorporation in a variety of wearable formats. According to Samsung, the chip requires one-fourth the footprint of a discrete component design, and uses less power. With the appropriate sensors, the chip will be ready to measure body fat, skeletal muscle mass, heart rate, heart rhythm, skin temperature, and stress level. With the processed signals the Bio-Processor will be able to produce electrocardiogram (ECG/EKG), bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA), photoplethysmogram (PPG), galvanic skin response (GSR), and skin temperature results. The Bio-Processor is currently in mass production with availability expected later in the first half of 2016.
Keeping in mind that while Samsung has claimed the Bio-Processor name, this first-of-its-kind multi-function, all-in-one Health Tech processor inevitably will be followed by further, ever-more-capable units from Samsung and other electronics giants. As long as the demand for wearable, carry-able, implantable, and insert-able Health Tech continues to grow, the incentive to create powerful multi-functional components will grow as well.