The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 23 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover five design patents that were granted to Apple today in addtion to focusing on one key invention relating to an embedded heart rate monitor. The invention states that beyond it being embedded into a future iPhone, the heart rate monitor could be embedded into an accessory. Earlier this year Apple's CEO and other team members were spotted wearing Nike's Fuel band. This led to speculation that Apple's newly published wristband computer invention (that is popularly thought of as a future wearable computer or iWatch) would be an ideal device for embedding a health monitoring system. That makes this granted patent a possible key component of any such future device.
Apple Granted Patent for Seamlessly Embedded Heart Rate Monitor
Apple has been granted a patent today for their invention relating to an electronic device having a seamlessly integrated cardiac sensor. Patently Apple first covered this invention back in May 2010 in detail.
The cardiac sensor can be integrated in any suitable portion of the electronic device, including for example a portion with which the user is typically in contact (e.g., an input mechanism or a housing held by the user), or metallic or conductive portions of the device.
The electronic device may include software or hardware operative to process the output of a cardiac sensor to extract, from the received output, characteristics of the user's heartbeat, heart rate, or other cardiac signals. For example, the electronic device may extract one or more characteristic durations associated with the user's heart rate. As another example, the electronic device may extract one or more characteristic amplitudes or amplitude ratios associated with the user's heart rate.
To determine the user's heart rate, heartbeat, or other cardiac signals, the electronic device can include one or more sensors embedded in the device. In addition, to ensure that the aesthetic appeal and appearance of the electronic device is retained, one or more of the isolating components, the leads themselves, and the device enclosure can be finished using a suitable process to disguise the leads.
Heart Sensors Integrated into an Accessory
Where this could get interesting is that Apple points to the invention being able to be integrated in an accessory. "In some embodiments, an accessory coupled to the electronic device could be used to detect a user's heart rate. For example, the leads could be located in one or more earbuds or in a headset, for example."
Apple's Tim Cook and other team members have been noted wearing Nike's FuelBand which fueled speculation about Apple's wristband computer invention that we covered back in late February of this year possibly incorporating a health monitoring system. Today's invention would be a perfect fit for this technology.
Added Security Feature
Another feature of this invention relates to security. Today, Apple's iPhone 5S includes a Touch ID fingerprint scanning security feature. In the future, Apple could also include the unique heart rate of an individual as a secondary biometric security feature.
Apple's patent states that "Upon receiving the cardiac activity, the electronic device could extract one or more characteristics of the received activity and compare the extracted characteristics with the characteristics previously stored in memory that were associated with authorized users. If the extracted characteristics match those of an authorized user, the electronic device could authenticate the identified user.
For instance, the electronic device could allow the user to access private banking applications, or conduct financial transactions (e.g., transferring funds to different accounts, or purchasing merchandise) using the electronic device."
Apple credits Gloria Lin, Taido Nakajima, Pareet Rahul and Andrew Hodge as the inventors of granted patent 8,615,290 which was originally filed in Q1 2009 and published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office.
Two other newly granted patents of interest include Apple's "Touch and Hover Signal" technology and to systems and methods for sensing or determining user activities and responding to the user's activities using artificial intelligence process.
Apple Granted 5 Design Patents Today
Apple was granted five design patents today covering the MacBook Air, the iPhone 3GS, an iPad with case (Smart Cover), an Apple Store display stand and "cords and packaging."
The Remaining Patents granted to Apple Today
Patently Apple presents only a brief summary of granted patents with associated graphics for journalistic news purposes as each Granted Patent is revealed by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Readers are cautioned that the full text of any Granted Patent should be read in its entirety for full details. About Making Comments on our Site: Patently Apple reserves the right to post, dismiss or edit any comments.