Samsung launched a line of mobile products at Barcelona's Mobile World Congress (MWC) this year, and every single device had one built-in digital health component -- a heart rate sensor.
The most significant addition of the heart rate sensor was to Samsung's Galaxy S5 smartphone. This new iteration has many health features on top of its built-in heart rate sensor, such as the next version of Samsung's S Health app and a pedometer.
To use the heart rate sensor, located on the back of the phone under the camera, users must launch their S Health app, select the heart rate option, and then place their finger on the heart rate sensor on the back of their phone to get a reading, according to Phone Arena. It's unclear how exactly the heart rate sensor works, but an optical sensor like Basis uses seems most likely.
In the past, other apps, such as Azumio's Instant Heart Rate app, used the smartphone's camera and flash to track color changes in the light that passes through the index finger as new blood is delivered with each heartbeat.
Samsung also launched a new wristworn fitness tracking wearable at MWC, Gear Fit, which offers users a curved screen for comfortable wearing, is also waterproof, includes a heart rate sensor, and allows users to get text and call notifications while exercising.
The announcement for Gear Fit came just a few days after Samsung launched its two new smartwatches, Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo. While these two smartwatches are not specifically meant for health, they also have built-in heart rate sensors, unlike their predecessor, Galaxy Gear.
According to the company, both devices offer personal fitness coaching, “allowing users to develop a customizable fitness routine and monitor their heart rate in order to improve their overall well-being”. The specs indicate the device will track running and walking, cycling and hiking on a preloaded app. The user can also download a Samsung app for sleep and stress tracking.
Gear 2 will also offer MapMyRun in its app gallery. On Samsung’s original smartwatch, the company added three native fitness apps that launched with the device — Azumio, RunKeeper and MyFitnessPal.