Samsung Announces New Processing Chip Designed For Fitness Trackers

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Samsung announces that it has developed a new logic chip that it is calling the “Samsung Bio-Processor.” The chip was designed for use in health-tracking wearable devices, and can process data from five different biometric signals simultaneously, placing it among the most sophisticated bio-processors available to date. Differentiating Samsung’s chip is that it is an all-in-one unit that includes a signal processor, power management circuit, flash memory, and all other sub-components needed to effectively manage data processing within a wearable fitness device. By consolidating these functions within one chip, Samsung is eliminating the need to incorporate multiple single-purpose chips into a wearable prototype that is typically already tight on physical space. Samsung reports that the new chip takes up one-quarter the size that its discrete parts would require in a device using single-purpose chips.

The chip itself has been developed to support a wide variety of measurements, including body fat, skeletal muscle mass, heart rate, heart rhythm, skin temperature, and stress level. These measurements can be captured individually, and can also be combined to calculate proprietary exertion or fitness scores.

Samsung makes it clear in its announcement that it will monetize the new chip by selling it to third-party device manufacturers, rather than just leveraging it in its own designs. Samsung will also likely use the chip to upgrade its own smartwatch line. The Samsung Gear S2, released October 9, only tracks activity and heart rate, so incorporating the new Samsung Bio-Processor into the S3 design would be a logical next step. While Fitbit continues to maintain the market share position over the fitness tracker market, Samsung’s new chip could help the growing smartwatch market catch up with the level of biometric monitoring high-end fitness trackers are delivering. Samsung reports that the units are already being mass produced, and that it will begin selling the units to device manufacturers in early 2016.


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