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Samsung's new Simband health tracker is a souped-up Gear S for developers to build with

Samsung's new Simband health tracker is a souped-up Gear S for developers to build with

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Companies gigantic and small alike are trying to crack the concept of using the boundless technology at our fingertips to actually make us healthier, and Samsung is right in the mix. Earlier this year, the company announced its health-focused Simband hardware and SAMIIO software platforms — after six months of closed alpha testing with selected partners, Samsung is opening up a public beta of the platforms to all developers.

Starting today, developers can get SDKs and APIs for Simband and SAMIIO and place orders for the Simband reference hardware. Both on stage and on the show floor, Samsung was showing off the new Simband, which looks quite a bit different than the original design we saw back in May. Not surprisingly, the new Simband is based on Samsung's Gear S smartwatch — but there's a whole host of sensors strapped to the back that let it continually track your vitals. I was struck by how big the watch is when seeing it up close for the first time, but it's worth noting that Samsung isn't yet planning to sell the Simband as it is — it's just a piece of hardware for developers to use to start building their apps.

Samsung Simband sensors

Indeed, developers can even swap out the sensor array along the inside of the band for their own custom boards, but Samsung's default gives a pretty dizzying array of measurement options. It packs six sensors into the band: electrocardiogram (ECG), bio-impedance, (bio-z), photoplethysmogram (PPG, using those fancy LED lights on the band), galvanic skin response (GSR), accelerometer, and skin temperature. How developers use those is entirely up to them, but it certainly makes for a pretty comprehensive set of sensors.

Samsung Simband LEDs

To accompany the opening of this public beta, Samsung has posted a host of supplemental material on its site Voice of the Body. As with much of what Samsung showed off at its Developer Conference, these products won't really be too meaningful to consumers until developers start building with them, but given the intense focus on health we're seeing across the industry, we're sure that this will remain a key area for Samsung to put its weight behind in the coming months and years.