Those of us obsessed with finished goods can forget that Samsung is one of the world’s powers in microprocessors. The Korean giant announced this week a new sensor chip, the BioProcessor (part number S3FBP5A, for those of you keeping score at home), that promises to measure heart rate and rhythm, skin temperature, body fat, and stress level.
Samsung says the chip is in production and will appear in “fitness/health devices” in the first half of 2016.
The company’s announcement gave some tech specs — it comprises a Cortex M4 processor with 512K of flash memory and 256K of RAM — but not other vital specs. There’s no mention, for instance, of size or weight, although Samsung said the chip is a quarter of the size of what would be required for separate sensors. Nothing was said about power requirements, either.
So what sort of devices would this chip find its way into? Wristbands are obvious: the very nature of this sensor would require continual skin contact. So maybe we’ll see a Gear S3 this year. It’s less likely, although hardly impossible, that the BioProcessor would find its way into the widely rumored Galaxy S7 phone, if only because the skin-contact data gathered by a phone would be much spottier than that gathered by a band.
And, microprocessors being a volume business, expect to see these capabilities in other companies’ wearables, though probably without Samsung branding, maybe as early as next week’s CES.