Apple patent reveals new 'Actuation Cells' may be integrated into their Beddit Sleep Monitoring System
Apple acquired Beddit a sleep monitoring system company back in 2017 and we've regularly covered the patent update regarding this technology (01, 02 & 03). Yesterday the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that once again advances the Beddit system with some interesting new features that will likely make their way into the product over time.
More interesting is that no 'Beddit' engineers are listed on the patent making the latest advancements coming directly from Apple, with lead inventor being Erno Klaassen, Director of Health Services at Apple.
The patent describes an in-bed haptic device that may include an array of actuation cells. Actuation cells of the array of actuation cells may be configured to actuate (e.g., expand, contract, or otherwise change shape) in a predetermined sequence to provide haptic outputs. The in-bed haptic device may be configured to be placed beneath a user during use, for example between a user and a mattress. The haptic outputs may be provided to help a user relax, to move and/or wake a user, to indicate outputs, alerts, or notifications at the in-bed haptic device or another electronic device, or the like.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 below illustrates the environment that an in-bed haptic device is used; FIG. 7A shows an example in-bed haptic device (#700) that includes an array of actuation cells (#701) that are positioned beneath the top external surface (#716). The actuation cells may be configured to inflate and/or deflate to deform and/or displace the top external surface to provide haptic outputs. The in-bed haptic device may include a connection interface (#713) that fluidly couples the actuation cells to one or more additional connectors and/or a control system.
Apple's FIG. 10A below illustrates a control system that comes with the Beddit in-bed system; FIG. 11 shows an example of the in-bed haptic device (#1100) connected to the \ control system (#1150). The in-bed haptic device can include an electronic sensor strip (#1101) and an actuation cell (#1102) that are configured to actuate (e.g., expand, contract, or otherwise change shape) to provide haptic outputs.
Apple's patent FIG. 14A above shows an example of an actuation cell (#1400) that can include a sealed fluid passage (#1402) that connects multiple inflatable bladders (#1404). The positioning of the inflatable bladders within the in-bed device can be configured to create different haptic experiences for a user.
For finer details, review Apple's patent application number 20210085091.
Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.