Samsung, LG betting on digital healthcare

Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics are increasing their efforts to feature health functions on their digital platforms to expand their business portfolio into the lucrative digital healthcare market.

They added the move is to meet growing user demand for digital devices featuring healthcare functions to manage their health and receive feedback.

Samsung reportedly registered a patent for its upcoming smartphones with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in March.

In the patent titled “electronic device comprising plurality of light sources,” which was published on Sept. 26, Samsung elaborated the device has a spectrometer, a sensor that can detect the physical makeup of an object, shining a beam of light.

Using the infrared beam, the device is able to detect the level of moisture on the skin, measure the CO2 level and the freshness of foods and check the blood glucose level.

A Samsung official confirmed it filed a patent but added it cannot reveal whether the company will use the sensor for its upcoming smartphones such as the Galaxy S11 or the Galaxy Note 11.

“Samsung registered a patent related with a spectrometer sensor with the USPTO, but we cannot disclose any details regarding whether the patented technology will be applied to our upcoming smartphones or not,” the official said.

Samsung is reportedly trying to apply the spectrometer sensor to its next-generation smartphone as the company has tried to introduce a healthcare management function on its devices. For instance, the company has been offering Samsung Health, a mobile health status management app and the Galaxy S smartphones has a heart rate sensor.

LG also said it applied for the government’s regulatory sandbox program to ask whether it can add an arrhythmia detection function to its future devices.

The regulatory sandbox is a government program designed to exempt company from rules and regulations so they can come up with new products and services.

LG said the company contacted the regulatory sandbox committee to facilitate prompt identification of the technology related to monitor and detect arrhythmia while it has been conducting research and development activities on the technology.

“LG recently applied for the regulatory sandbox program to check if it is possible to apply an arrhythmia detection feature to our future products,” an LG official said. “Currently, whether the technology will be used for our wearable devices has not been decided yet because we are just conducting research activities.”

LG has been working on developing digital healthcare services. The company signed a memorandum of understanding with the Seoul National University Bundang Hospital in August to develop related technologies and services.

LG Group also hosted its annual startup tech fair in Seoul on Sept. 25, inviting global startups working in emerging technologies including biotech and healthcare sectors to cooperate in research activities.

An official in the country’s electronics company said more companies will try to look for new business chances by integrating electronics into healthcare services because the moves will enable device makers to expand their business portfolio and offer more convenience to users.

“Many consumers prefer to have smart devices that has health functions to stay fit and get instant feedback on their health status. With the increasing preference for ‘home healthcare,’ the digital healthcare business will be an emerging one for device makers,” the official said.

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