Apple isn't the only tech giant looking to bring breakthrough health-tracking to its wearables. Samsung is hard at work exploring the development of continuous blood pressure monitoring and noninvasive blood glucose readings for its devices, according to a new Bloomberg report.
It's part of a larger push to bring game-changing health features to a range of devices, like the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Ring, said Samsung executive Hon Pak, who is overseeing the effort. Currently, to get an accurate reading of your blood sugar or blood pressure levels, you need a dedicated clinical device. But Samsung, Apple and other tech giants are aiming to bring those and other health features to the smartwatches and fitness trackers that consumers already wear every day.
“If we can do continuous blood pressure and glucose, we’re in a whole different ballgame,” Pak, Samsung’s mobile digital health chief, told the outlet. “I think that’s where everyone is trying to get to. We’re putting significant investment toward that.”
We've heard rumors of a noninvasive blood glucose sensor joining the other health tech inside Apple's smartwatch since before the Apple Watch Series 7 launch. However, there have been conflicting reports about how much progress has been made. What we do know is that Apple has been working for years on incorporating a glucose reader that doesn't require users to prick their skin for a blood sample to test, something that could help millions of people better manage their diabetes. Bloomberg's Mark Gurman previously reported that the Apple Watch X, tipped to release in 2024 or 2025, could include blood pressure monitoring technology.
While Pak remained tight-lipped on an exact timeline for either feature, he said noninvasive glucose monitoring could arrive "in some form within five years." Looking ahead, Samsung aims to eventually provide consumers with a complete picture of their well-being by using sensors on different parts of the body and around the home.
“We are looking at everything from miniaturization to the various different technology platforms that can do some type of glucose monitoring or anything in between,” Pak said.
Samsung is “evaluating all options” to improve its blood pressure features, he said, noting that traditional blood pressure readings aren’t “really that meaningful” beyond showing a range of normal and abnormal. “Whether it’s Apple or others, I think we are trying to redefine blood pressure in a way that it was originally intended, which is: How much cardiovascular risk do you have?”
More health features headed for Galaxy Ring and Buds
Pak also shared a few updates about the Samsung Galaxy Ring, a new wearable capable of tracking users' health and fitness that was teased at the Samsung Galaxy Unpacked 2024 event. It's expected to launch at some point in 2024 with built-in activity and sleep tracking, but "more health features" are planned for the future, Pak said.
"The ring represents that community of people who want health tracking that is more comfortable and less obtrusive," he continued. "It's meeting a need of a specific population of people who want to track and measure, but in a different way."
Beyond just the Galaxy Ring, though, Samsung is looking into incorporating a range of different health-related sensors for future versions of its Galaxy Buds. The company is studying new ways to track a user's body temperature and heart rates through their ears, information that can then be combined with wrist and ambient data to build a more comprehensive picture of their health. Samsung is also exploring meditation and mental health options for mixed reality headsets, which could be a future competitor to the Apple Vision Pro.
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Alyse Stanley is a news editor at Tom’s Guide overseeing weekend coverage and writing about the latest in tech, gaming and entertainment.
Prior to joining Tom’s Guide, Alyse worked as an editor for the Washington Post’s sunsetted video game section, Launcher. She previously led Gizmodo’s weekend news desk, where she covered breaking tech news — everything from the latest spec rumors and gadget launches to social media policy and cybersecurity threats. She has also written game reviews and features as a freelance reporter for outlets like Polygon, Unwinnable, and Rock, Paper, Shotgun. She’s a big fan of horror movies, cartoons, and miniature painting.