Smartwatches have become loaded with all kinds of sensors measuring biometrics but the one thing that escapes even the renowned Apple Watch is measuring the wearer’s blood pressure. Traditional methods involve using cuffs that constrict arms or at least wrists, something that’s impractical and unusable for regular smartwatches. That’s what makes the Samsung Galaxy Active 2’s blood pressure monitoring feature such big news, especially now that it’s promised to launch to the public in a few months.
The Galaxy Watch Active 2, which launched mid-2019, was already reported to have a such a blood pressure monitoring feature. It was, however, limited to a study and there was no assurance it would be deemed a success. Now, however, Samsung is announcing that it just received the thumbs up from the South Korean government, classifying the smartwatch’s Health Monitor app as a “Software as a Medical Device” or SaMD.
The way this blood pressure monitoring works is quite different from what you might expect. The setup requires you to take three traditional BP measurements using any sort of monitor while wearing the smartwatch and input the results into the Samsung Health app. Using pulse wave analysis measured by the Galaxy Watch Active 2, the app will then compare the figures with the “reference” blood pressure to give the user a readout.
Samsung isn’t making any claims about accuracy and it requires users to calibrate the app again every four months. While the app will offer convenient measurements at a moment’s notice, it really doesn’t replace more dedicated but also less portable measuring devices.
Samsung says that the updated Samsung Health Monitor app will roll out to the Galaxy Watch Active 2 sometime in the third quarter. Future Galaxy Watches will also have the feature but availability may still be determined by markets and legal requirements.