Technology The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Might Measure Body Composition

07:12  26 june  2021
07:12  26 june  2021 Source:   gizmodo.com

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Two new Samsung smartwatches called Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch Active 4 coming this August. Recently, we have seen the leaked CAD renders of the upcoming Watch Active model, and now, a new leak hints at an amazing health feature of the Galaxy Watch . According to MaxWeinbach, the Galaxy Watch 4 will feature a BIA (Bio-Electrical Impedance Analysis) sensor that can measure body fat composition . For those unaware, the BIA sensor shows the user’s body fat percentage in relation to lean body mass.

The latest contends that Samsung ’s next flagship—the Galaxy Watch 4 — might add a bioimpedance analysis (BIA) sensor. If you’ve never heard of BIA before, it’s the same tech used in smart scales to determine your… Read more…

The rumor mill surrounding Samsung’s next-gen smartwatches has been absolutely buzzing these past few weeks. The latest contends that Samsung’s next flagship—the Galaxy Watch 4—might add a bioimpedance analysis (BIA) sensor. If you’ve never heard of BIA before, it’s the same tech used in smart scales to determine your body composition.

a close up of a camera: The sensor array on the Galaxy Watch 3 © Photo: Victoria Song/Gizmodo The sensor array on the Galaxy Watch 3

The rumor comes via Android Authority and Max Weinbach, a tech writer with a decent track record of sussing out what’s coming next for Samsung gadgets. That said, there’s not much else to go on. Weinbach kept things snappy in his tweet, merely stating “Galaxy Watch4. BIA sensor.” Rumors and leaks should always be taken with a heavy grain of salt, but there are two main reasons to think this one might not be totally bunk.

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If you’ve ever gone to the gym, you might have used a machine that measures your body composition to tell you how many percent your body is composed of fat, muscle, water, bone density, and so on. It’s a pretty good way of checking up on your fitness because weight alone doesn’t always tell you about your fitness. Interestingly enough, if a tweet by Max Weinbach is accurate, it seems that this is a feature we can expect from the upcoming Galaxy Watch 4 from Samsung .

The Galaxy Watch 4 will reportedly come with a BIA (Bio-Electrical Impedance Analysis) sensor, which can measure body fat composition . This information was revealed by tipster Max Weinbach. The BIA sensor can display a user’s body fat percentage in relation to lean body mass. It was rumored earlier this year that the Galaxy Watch 4 would feature blood glucose measurement , which can be very helpful to those who are suffering from diabetes. However, the feature was reportedly dropped for unknown reasons.

The gist is BIA works by sending a weak electric current through your body. Depending on the impedance or “resistance” that signal encounters, you can estimate body composition as different types of tissues have higher or lower electrical resistance. Fat is more resistant to electricity compared to water, blood, and muscle. Most smart scales using BIA, for instance, claim to measure body fat, muscle mass, water, and occasionally, bone density. To do this, you need a pair of electrodes—one to send out the current, and another to receive it, thereby creating a complete circuit.

That should sound familiar, as it’s also how advanced smartwatches—like the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3—take ECG readings. For ECGs, the reason you’re asked to place a finger in a specific area on the watch is to complete a circuit. Samsung already knows how to send and read electrical currents sent through the body, so it’s not like it’d be an extremely heavy lift to add body composition analysis.

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Anonymous, 4 hours agoAny scale does body composition , probably more accurately than a watch currently can. So, moreThank you for adding common sense to the comment section! I keep seeing comments from people saying they need all those things and have to use them and hinting that people who do not use all those features have issues because it's a feature The glucose monitoring would have been a killer feature, but I guess Apple will introduce it in 2022 and Samsung will drift further into being irrelevant in the watch space and competing with the cheap Chinese watches .

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 rumored to launch in early August will come with a BIA sensor, claims tipster Max Weinbach. With a BIA (bioelectrical impedance analysis) sensor onboard, the Galaxy Watch 4 will be able to measure the wearer’s body composition – in particular body fat Samsung hasn’t divulged anything about the Galaxy Watch 4 yet, but media reports claim the smartwatch will run Google’s Wear OS, while FCC revealed the Watch 4 will come in LTE and Wi-Fi-only versions – both having NFC chips onboard with the ability to play music stored locally from the internal storage.

The second reason is Amazon’s also dipping into body composition with its Halo tracker and app—albeit using a totally different method. Amazon Halo measures body fat in an extremely problematic way. It requires you to strip to your skivvies and take pictures on your phone to get an estimate of your body fat percentage. You’re also shown a 3D model of your body that comes with a slider, so you can see how you’d look with minimal body fat and a six-pack, or a high percentage of body fat. The company claims its method is highly accurate and comparable to clinical lab tests, though accuracy isn’t the problem with Halo.

So given that another major tech company is dabbling with body composition, and the fact it wouldn’t be a huge technological lift, it’s reasonable to think Samsung might introduce this kind of feature. Among flagship smartwatches, we’re also in the midst of a “health tech arms race.” So far, Apple, Samsung, and Fitbit have led the pack. Apple and Samsung are both heavily rumored to be working on blood glucose monitoring and Fitbit introduced an electrodermal activity sensor with its ambitious Sense smartwatch. However, BIA is something neither Apple nor Fitbit has brought to the wrist. (Fitbit does, however, have a smart scale that uses this tech.)

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Previously rumored as the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Active, the renders confirm that Samsung will call it the “ Galaxy Watch 4 ”, allegedly. The renders also reveal more specs about the Watch 4 . The new Watch 4 looks to borrow design language from the Galaxy Watch 2 Active with its sleeker look and curvier lines. The sides of the watch body curve with to the shape of the wrist and the strap fastens just like the Watch Active2. There are two physical buttons on the right side, and the watch may still feature a touch-sensitive bezel like the Active2.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is packed full of health features, including an ECG (electrocardiogram), blood pressure monitoring, and an SpO2 monitor for detecting sleep apnea, but none of them were available in all regions at launch. That’s because these features each need certifying by regulatory bodies in most countries before being activated in them, but it was a shame to have a premium product where many of its advertised features didn’t initially work. So for the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 we want these features to still be included, but we want them all to be active everywhere on day one.

The thing is, while this could give Samsung a leg up, it’s also wading into murky territory. Measuring body composition is, on its own, not a bad thing. Metrics don’t have any morality. However, BIA is not the most accurate measure of body composition, although it is the most easily accessible to consumers. For example, if you drink a lot of water, or are dehydrated, that could throw off your BIA measurements. Clinical methods, like DEXA, air displacement plethysmography, and MRIs, are more accurate but are expensive and require you to go to a lab. In short, BIA is fine for roughly estimating your body composition over time—but you can get bunk individual readings.

Giving consumers an accessible way to gain insight into their training or weight loss efforts is, broadly speaking, a good thing. However, there’s a lot of nuance to interpreting these results in a responsible way. If done carelessly, like Amazon Halo, you’re possibly handing people with body dysmorphia or eating disorders a dangerous tool.

Samsung has made strides in recent years to improve its health offerings, largely to great success. There have been a few hiccups, but after reviewing the last four Samsung smartwatches, I can say each watch has been better than the last and Samsung itself has taken care to comply with regulatory bodies like the FDA. Personally speaking, Samsung has a better chance of pulling off body composition features than Amazon, as it has way more experience in health tech. However, it is nerve-wracking to imagine Big Tech wading into the incredibly nuanced and controversial relationship between body fat and health. If this Pandora’s box has to be opened, here’s to hoping it’s done with more care going forward.

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This is interesting!