Fitness tracking on mobile phones seems to be the new trend nowadays. More and more large manufacturers seem to be interested in ways of tracking your health-related items ( Like weight-loss and exercise-progress ) with more and more precision. The Galaxy S5 even had a built-in heart rate monitor, but it would seem that the people at Samsung want to up the ante a bit with their new concept – the Simband and SAMI platform.
Now I’ve occasionally fancied playing a game or two on the PC ( okay, a LOT of games ), so I often wondered what it’d be like to have a Health Bar in real life – well the Simband kind-of answers that question for me. Still, it’s not at all the thing I’ve imagined – it’s actually similar to being hooked up to a hospital health monitor for a period of 24/7 ( which, you could imagine, isn’t very pleasant for some but creates no bother for others ).
The SAMI platform has just gotten its details released – more-or-less, it’s the company’s new method of keeping tabs on your health. It uses a mix of hardware and cloud-storage for sensor-data and its goal is to provide a comprehensive list of health-data pushed into the mobile devices in real-time.
Some of the things SAMI is capable of include testing your blood glucose levels or the particles in the air surrounding you, being thus capable of alerting you if you’re breathing in potentially harmful pollutants. The Simband comes in close ties with this platform, or as Samsung is calling it, their “investigational device”, a device which works in tandem with SAMI and has an extensive collection of sensors on its bottom. The Simband will track your heart rate and oxygen intake as well as monitor different functions of your body and of the environment in which you’re located.
In terms of design, the Simband looks like a slightly modified Galaxy Gear smartwatch. In terms of practicality, I’m torn to say how well this will work out, especially due to the fact that Samsung hasn’t yet announced a solid release date for the Simband or any other SAMI platform products. I’m guessing a lot of work still needs to be put in regarding the sensors and Samsung still needs to figure out all the kinks from the logistics with their health-care APIs before settling on a release date.
On another note, Samsung also announced their “Digital Health Challenge” through which they’re offering up to 50 million dollars to those who are working on any healthcare tracking projects, including any research and work on new sensor development. Also, coincidentally enough, Apple‘s developer conference is coming up where they’re rumored to release details on its Healthbook platform, along its own health-tracking wear-ables.
Call me paranoid, but despite Samsung saying that the private data collected is entirely in the user’s possession and control, can you truly be sure of that in this day and age? There are means of extracting any data from any user with or without his consent – with enough dedication and time, they’re pretty easy to learn once you get down to it ( all sorts of hidden-websites out there where you can learn things like this ). Now just between you and me, are you truly okay with your private data relating to your health being taken from you without being able to do anything about it?
Hopefully, this won’t be the case, but time and time again I’ve seen that corporations only have their best interest in sight, and as long as it can turn a profit it’s important to them. This may not be the case, but we common users have no say in these matters – only time will tell whether my opinions were just a tad bit misguided or closer to the truth and they should be.