An Apple Patent describes a MacBook with an integrated bio-sensor in its palm rest that could measure a user's health condition
Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that relates to a possible future MacBook that integrates a bio-sensor into the palm rest area that could a glass top layer. The bio-sensor is designed to determine various health metrics or physiological condition of the user. It appears that Apple wants to take their health sensors designs beyond Apple Watch.
MacBook with an Integrated Bio-Sensor
Apple's granted patent relates to a possible future MacBook with an integrated bio-sensor that measures a condition of the user while the device is in use. For example, the bio-sensor may be positioned adjacent to the keyboard in the palm rest area. The enclosure may include a translucent layer or sheet that forms at least a portion of the exterior of the device. An opaque layer may be formed along an interior surface of the transparent layer and may define an array of micro-perforations that are able to transmit light from the sensor but also obscure the bio-sensor from the user when it is not in operation.
In some embodiments, the bio-sensor is configured to produce a light emission that is transmitted through the micro-perforations defined in the opaque layer. In an example mode of operation, the bio-sensor may be used to determine a health metric or a physiological condition by detecting the light that is reflected off the body part of a user (e.g., the palm of a user's hand).
In another example mode of operation, the bio-sensor may be used to detect a proximity of the user's hand with respect to the device. In response to the user's hand being detected as proximate to the bio-sensor, the device may be configured to change operation of the bio-sensor, alter the operational state of the device, or perform some other function.
The bio-sensor may include a variety of different light sources that transmit the light and/or a variety of different light receivers that receive the light. For example, the light may be transmitted by a light emitting diode (LED), a micro-LED, an organic light emitting diode (OLED), or other type of light source. The light source may be configured to emit a visible light emission (e.g., green or red) or a non-visible light emission (e.g., infrared or ultraviolet). The light may be received by a photodiode, photo-sensor, or other of light receiver.
Apple's patent FIG. 1A below depicts an example electronic device having an integrated bio-sensor; FIG. 2 depicts a detail view of a sensing area of the electronic device.
According to Apple, the bio-sensor may transmit and receive light through the micro-perforations to measure a property or condition of the user and used to determine a physiological condition or health metric. This may be used to measure, water content, perfusion, blood flow, and/or other health-related characteristics of the user.
The MacBook may use the bio-sensor to determine a heart rate, blood pressure, a blood perfusion, water content, blood oxygenation level, blood volume estimate, a respiration rate, a photoplethysmogram for the user and more.
Apple's patent FIG. 9 below depicts a MacBook that is operable to detect and display health information about a user. In this way, the heart rate may be monitored over time. The user's heart rate over time may be compared with the heart rate of other users and/or various other statistical information. For example, the user's heart rate over time may be compared to heart rate data indicating health problems, such as hypertension.
Like most Apple inventions, they don't want to be limited to the use of the bio-sensor with a MacBook and list other devices that the invention could apply to such as an iMac, iPad, iPhone, wearable device, a kitchen appliance and more.
This is Apple's second patent on this invention. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.