Samsung Bio-Processor Juices Wearables With Enhanced Vitals Tracking

Health and fitness has emerged as a key part of the wearables market. Whether it's a dedicated fitness band or a smartwatch, common features include a heartrate monitor, sleep tracking, and other tidbits designed to help users hit their fitness goals. That being the case, we're hardly surprised Samsung has developed a dedicated Bio-Processor.

The Bio-Processor is an all-in-one system logic chip for wearables focused on health and fitness. Samsung says it's the first of its kind. It's also pretty advanced with five Analog Front Ends (AFEs), a microcontroller unit (MCU), a power management integrated circuit (PMIC), a digital signal processor (DSP), and eFlash memory. All those pieces combined enable the Bio-Processor to measure and process bio-signals without tapping into external resources.

Samsung Bio-Processor

"With improvements in smart, fitness devices and an increase in consumer health consciousness, more and more people are looking for ways to monitor various personal bio-data, or fitness data, to constantly manage their health," said Ben K. Hur, Vice President of marketing, System LSI business at Samsung Electronics. "Samsung’s Bio-Processor, which can process five different biometric signals, is the most versatile health and fitness monitoring chip available on the market today and is expected to open up many new health-based service options for our customers."

Size is always concern in the mobile market, particularly with wearables, though Samsung says device makers need not worry. The Bio-Processor is "incredibly small" -- if comparing it to the total area of the discrete parts, it's about one-fourth of the total combined size.

Going well beyond simple heart monitoring, the Bio-Processor's five AFEs include include bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA), photoplethysmogram (PPG), electrocardiogram (ECG), skin temperature, and galvanic skin response (GSR). The chip can also measure body fat, skeletal muscle mass, heart rate and rhythm, skin temperature, and stress levels.

Samsung says it's begun mass producing its Bio-Processor, which will be available in health and fitness devices in the first half of next year.