Samsung has received clearance from South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) for its Galaxy Watch series to measure blood pressure from the wrist. The functionality requires you to calibrate the initial measurement with a traditional blood pressure monitor.
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The company previously had an experimental blood pressure monitoring feature. Enabled in a few countries at the start of last year, it was done via an optional smartphone research app developed jointly with the University of California, San Francisco.
The fact that the Samsung Health Monitor app has now received the stamp of approval from MFDS is big news. It makes the Samsung technology the first to be able to measure blood pressure without a cuff.
Last year Japanese health tech company Omron unveiled HeartGuide. It also works from the wrist. The difference is that HeardGuide is a watch-sized sphygmanometer. This means it has a miniature cuff that’s built into the watch band, which inflates to take blood pressure measurements.
Before you can use the app, you’ll need to calibrate it. This is done by measuring blood pressure both on the watch and with a traditional blood pressure monitor. Samsung suggests you keep doing this once a month to ensure accuracy. Although you can use any watch in the Galaxy Watch range to take the readings, initially the software will only work with Galaxy Watch Active 2.
Presumably, this is because this watch has the latest optical heart-rate sensor built in. The functionality works via pulse wave analysis. A single reading takes about 20-30 seconds to complete. Users are meant to cover the sensor fully with their index finger. The app and watch display a progress tracker, at the end of which you’ll see a completion notification.
“The Samsung Health Monitor app has the potential to help millions of people around the world who are affected by high blood pressure,” says Taejong Jay Yang, Corporate SVP and Head of Health Team, Mobile Communications Business at Samsung Electronics.
“This is one of many examples of how Samsung is integrating its best-in-class hardware with the latest software innovations to innovate mobile experiences.”
The Samsung Health Monitor app is still in the works but it has, nevertheless, received clearance as a Software as a Medical Device. It is expected the app will be available to all sometime in the third quarter of 2020.
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