Apple has invented an advanced version of AirTags in the form of Wearable Health-Tags with varying Health Sensors+
Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that relates to an iDevice that communicates with one or more wearable tags to monitor health-related functions such as physical therapy, running assistance, fall detection and much, much more.
Apple's invention covers a system that may include an electronic device that communicates with one or more wearable tags. The wearable tags may be placed on different parts of a user's body or clothing and may be used for one or more health-related functions such as posture monitoring, sun exposure monitoring, physical therapy, running assistance, fall detection, and other functions.
The wearable tag may have different types of sensors that gather different types of sensor data depending on the health-related function that the wearable tag is being used for.
Additionally, different types of output may be provided from the wearable tag and/or from the electronic device depending on the health-related function that the wearable tag is being used for. Multiple tags may be used together to obtain relative motion or position information for different parts of the user's body.
A user may configure, control, and receive data from a wearable tag using an electronic device. The electronic device may be used to determine the location of the wearable tag on the user's body and to determine the desired health-related function for the wearable tag based on user input or based on sensor data gathered from the wearable tag.
The user may selectively change or update the health-related function that the wearable tags are used for by selecting a different function on a display in the electronic device and/or by placing the wearable tag on a different location on the user's body.
In the patent figures below, we see an iPhone (FIG. 3) in communication with a wearable health tag in FIG. 2.
- Apple's patent FIG. 4 above is a front view of an illustrative electronic device like an iPhone displaying an image when a wearable tag is detected
- FIG. 5 is an iPhone displaying an image of wearable tag locations.
- FIG. 6 is an iPhone displaying an image of different wearable tag functions; and
- FIG. 7 is an iPhone displaying an image with tag-related data.
Apple's patent FIGS. 8-11 below illustrate new health tags fit on different parts of the body and FIG. 12 presents a flow chart of illustrative steps involved in using an iPhone (or Apple Watch) that communicates with one or more wearable tags.
The tag may include attachment structure #60, as seen in FIGS. 8 & 10 for coupling the tag to a user's body or clothing. The attachment structure may include adhesive (e.g., a semi-permanent adhesive, a skin-safe adhesive, etc.), magnets, clips, hooks, a strap or other band, and/or other structures for attaching the tag to the user's body or clothing.
Types of Health Monitoring
Example of the types of health monitoring that Apple has in mind includes analyzing a user's activity (e.g., running, walking, cycling, stair climbing, hiking etc.); may use blood pressure sensors to gather blood pressure information; may use heart rate sensors to gather heart rate information; may include blood sugar sensors for gathering blood sugar levels; may use blood oxygen sensors to measure a user's blood oxygen level; may use location tracking circuitry to track the location of one part of the user's body relative to another and/or to track the user's location (e.g., location relative to another electronic device such as electronic device 40 or geographic location such as geographic coordinates), etc.
If desired, accelerometers and/or other sensors may gather information on a user's respiration rate (e.g., by extracting respiration rate information from accelerometer readings).
Health data, intentional user input (e.g., button press input, user input on force sensors, touch sensors, and/or other input devices, voice commands gathered with a microphone, gesture input, tap input, squeeze input, etc.), environmental readings, and/or other information on the user and the user's surroundings may be gathered by devices and processed by the control circuitry 12.
Control circuitry 12 may also use the output devices of input-output devices 14 to provide haptic output, audio output, visual output (e.g., status light indicator output, display output such as displayed images of text, graphics, and/or video, etc.), and/or other output may be provided.
Types of Sensors
A wide variety of sensors could be incorporated into the tags that are used in gathering health-related measurements and/or user input and may include ambient light sensors (visible light sensors, color sensitive light sensors, ultraviolet light sensors, etc.), optical proximity sensors, capacitive proximity sensors, temperature sensors, force sensors (e.g., strain gauges, capacitive force sensors, resistive force sensors, force sensors for measuring biometric information, etc.), microphones for sensing audio and/or ultrasonic signals, magnetic sensors (e.g., Hall effect sensors, giant magnetoresistance sensors, or other sensors or magnetometers that measure magnetic fields), gas pressure sensors, heart rate sensors, blood oxygen level sensors (e.g., based on emitted and detected light), electrocardiogram sensors (e.g., sensors for measuring electrical signals on a user's body), humidity sensors, moisture sensors, particulate sensors (e.g., sensors that use light measurements and/or other measurements to measure particulate concentration in the air), image sensors (cameras), gas pressure sensors, carbon dioxide sensors and/or sensors measuring other gas concentrations, motion sensors 20 for detecting position, orientation, and/or movement (e.g., accelerometers, magnetic sensors such as compass sensors, gyroscopes, barometers, and/or inertial measurement units that contain some or all of these sensors), radio-frequency sensors, depth sensors (e.g., structured infrared light sensors and/or depth sensors based on stereo imaging devices), optical sensors such as self-mixing sensors and light detection and ranging (lidar) sensors that gather time-of-flight measurements, accelerometers for gathering user tap input (e.g., single taps, double taps, triple taps, etc.), and/or other sensors.
In some arrangements, the tag may use sensors and/or other input-output devices to gather user input (e.g., buttons may be used to gather button press input, touch sensors may be used in gathering touch input, microphones may be used for gathering audio input, accelerometers may be used in monitoring when a finger taps a surface and may therefore be used to gather finger tap input, etc.). Sensors 18 may include sensing electrodes, which may be formed from conductive strands of material in fabric (e.g., sensor electrode pads may be formed from portions of fabric), may be formed from metal traces on printed circuits, and/or may be formed from other sense electrode structures.
For more details, review Apple's patent application number 20220079521.
Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.