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Samsung reveals new development projects

Posted: 17 Nov 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:wearables? IoT? VR? cloud?

Julien Penders was just one of hundreds of attendees at the Samsung Developer Conference. But few here had worked more closely or bet so heavily on the Korean company as the young entrepreneur who launched his digital health company, Bloom Technologies, at the event.

Digital health was one of four growth areas in which Samsung rolled out new software developer kits at the conference, seeking to build ecosystems around its smartphones and tablets. Increasingly, its mobile Linux variant, Tizen, is a key ingredient in offerings targeting the smart home, virtual reality, and wearables.

For Penders, Samsung's open cloud service, its promise to let consumers own their own data and its distributed computing plans were key attractions for a partnership. Bloom developed a custom sensor to track contractions for pregnant women. It hopes customers will let it share data it gathers with medical researchers.

"We will collect a data set no one has ever collected before about stress, contractions and movements of mothers in their last trimester," Penders said. "That can help clinical research because no one understands why you have pre-term births. We can help quantify it. That's our long-term playgetting quality data in hands of researchers."

He helped Samsung design its Simband reference platform while working on wearable health patches at the Imec research institute in Belgium. He moved to the San Francisco area this past June to launch his start-up.

Julien Penders

Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and other companies have their own digital health initiatives. Apple is said to be most restrictive, requiring partners to sign over all intellectual property developed while in collaboration with the iPhone maker. Google and others are said to be more restrictive in owning data, though all say they will respect consumer privacy.

Along with the other factors that swayed Penders, Samsung supports Bloom's use of accelerometer data from iPhones. In the future, the Korean company plans to support algorithm processing both on handsets and in its cloud service.

Bloom uses a modified version of a low-power bio-potential sensor to measure electrical activity in the uterus. The sensor lasts without a charge throughout the last trimester of pregnancy. The start-up is conducting pilots in Belgium and California with about 60 women now, and it aims to launch the product next year, pending U.S. FDA approval.

Just how Samsung and its partners will make money in digital health is still to be determined. Penders said he is in negotiations with Samsung now about terms of selling data services hosted on its SAMI IO cloud service. One thing is clear: "The future is all about the algorithms."

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