A rumor pointed to a skin temperature sensor coming to Apple Watch and an Apple patent aims the sensor at AirPods & Watch Bands
Back in January Bloomberg's Mark Gurman tweeted that he believed that a temperature sensor would likely be the next sensor coming to Apple Watch.
Today, the U.S. Patent Office granted Apple a patent titled "Packaging technologies for temperature sensing in health care products," which oddly points to AirPods and another wearable device described as one in which a temperature sensor package is secured within a fabric. For example, the fabric can be integrated into a piece of clothing such as shirt, headband, glove, strap, etc. That's likely to translate to a sensor package secured within an Apple Watch Band.
Apple's patent FIGS. 24-26 below illustrate AirPods and a fabric-based Apple Watch band that incorporates a temperature sensor package; FIG. 4 s a flow diagram of a method of fabricating the skin temperature sensor package.
Apple states that wearable health devices are increasingly integrating a broad variety of sensors to better monitor heath status of users. With the development of packaging technologies such as system in package, embedded die, semiconductor very-large-scale integration (VLSI) technologies and so on it has become possible to develop miniaturized systems and devices. Skin temperature is one of the vital signs for patient's health.
Embodiments in Apple's granted patent describe temperature sensor packages, methods of fabrication, and products incorporating such packages. In particular, embodiments describe temperature sensor packaging solutions that can be embedded into wearable heath devices for sensing temperature, such as skin temperature.
In an embodiment, a temperature sensor package includes a routing layer, a chip (such as a digital controller) mounted face down on the routing layer, an insulating layer that encapsulates the chip on the routing layer, and a plurality of through vias through the insulating layer. An electrically conductive sensor pattern such as a resistance temperature detector (RTD) pattern or thermocouple is located over the insulating layer and is coupled to the plurality of through vias.
In an embodiment, a temperature sensor package includes a routing layer that includes a chip contact area and a touch area adjacent the chip contact area. The touch area may include an electrically conductive sensor pattern electrically connected to the chip contact area, while a chip is bonded to the routing layer in the chip contact area.
In another aspect, an infrared (IR) temperature sensor package is described. Such a packaging solution may allow for space savings due to an embedded thermal sensor (e.g. transducer) and provide short and flexible routing. In an embodiment, a temperature sensor package includes a routing layer (e.g. circuit board) including a top side and a bottom side. A cavity is formed in the bottom side of the routing layer, and a transducer is mounted is within the cavity. A chip is mounted on a top side of the routing layer and in electrical connection with the transducer.
For more details, review Apple's granted patent 11,313,741.