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According to CNBC, Samsung has certainly made a step in the right direction with the recent unveiling of a new smartwatch called Galaxy Active that the company claims can measure blood pressure, but the new feature is not groundbreaking, at least not yet.
The company said the new feature, which some suggested would put it ahead of Apple, is slated to come out later next month through a research app called My BP Lab. Samsung stated that this would allow people to "monitor blood pressure and keep better track of their physical health every day."
A spokesperson for the company said that when users first set up the app, they set up a blood pressure reading measured by a cuff to get an accurate first read. Further, the app uses the raw signal from the reading to calculate blood pressure, while the device has an optical sensor to measure heart rate.
Samsung did not provide details on whether the company integrates with third-party wireless cuffs, how often it needs to be calibrated to a cuff and how it validates accuracy. So far, it has not shared information on whether it has been cleared by the FDA, according to the new source.
However, Alexis Zervoglos, chief business officer at Qardio, suggested "when you use optical sensors like Samsung is, you can estimate changes in blood pressure by looking at the volume of blood going through the vein, which will increase if pressure increases…At best, Samsung is looking at variation in blood pressure and not absolute blood pressure."
Meanwhile, Randy Kellogg, from Omron Healthcare, remarked "I can only guess that they are planning on a fitness blood pressure reading calculated from the optical sensor that use for heart rate monitoring. It would be an estimation of blood pressure in that case, but could not be used for diagnosis."
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