While Apple hasn't updated their Beddit Sleep Tracking System in some time, they've just updated the Original Patent
In 2017 Apple acquired Beddit, a company that developed a Sleep Tracking device back in 2017. Since that time Apple's engineers have advanced the technology that may be used in future versions of the monitoring system (patents 01, 02 and 03). Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that updates the original 2017 patent that was never covered by Patently Apple.
The original patent states that the invention covers monitoring systems and sensors for physiological measurements. The sensors can be multi-element piezo sensors capable of generating multiple electrical signals, whereby the monitoring systems can receive the multiple electrical signals to analyze the user's vital signs along multiple regions of the user's body. In some examples, the piezo sensor can include one or more corrugations, such as peaks and valleys, to create localized regions with increased mechanical response (e.g., sensitivity) to force.
The sensitivity and resolution of the piezo sensor can be enhanced by further locating electrode sections at the corrugations, where the electrode sections can be electrically isolated and independently operable from other electrode sections. Traces electrically connecting an electrode section to, e.g., an off-panel controller can be routed over and/or around other electrode sections by including an insulator to electrically insulate from the other electrode sections or by using vias to route through one or more layers. The multi-element piezo sensor can include multiple piezo films and multiple pairs of electrodes (and/or electrode sections).
Examples in the patent include piezo sensors having multiple piezo film elements, where the force (e.g., stress) can be concentrated onto the piezo film elements. Each piezo film element can be structurally and electrically isolated from other piezo film elements.
Force concentration can be performed by configuring one or more intermediate layers to have a tapered profile, including one or more structures to transfer the force to the piezo film elements, configuring one or more intermediate layers to have regions of different force concentration, or a combination thereof. Examples of the disclosure further include piezo sensors configured for converting one type of force into another type of force by Poisson conversion.
Apple's patent FIG. 2C below illustrates an exemplary method for configuring the piezo sensors included in the mat; FIG. 6A illustrates a cross-sectional view of an exemplary piezo sensor including multiple piezo film elements, the piezo sensor configured for force concentration.
Apple's patent FIG. 6D above illustrates an exemplary piezo sensor including intermediate layers having regions of differing force concentration; FIG. 6F illustrates an exemplary method for operating a piezo sensor including a plurality of piezo film elements.
For more details, review Apple's patent application number 20220254984 which includes Apple adding 8 new patent claims to better protect their invention against competitors and patent trolls.
At times you have to wonder what Apple wants to do with Beddit, considering that the product has yet to really advance like their patents have presented. Further, the last detailed review of the product that I found was written by MacRumors way back in 2019.
In 2020, Apple introduced watchOS 7 which added Sleep Tracking. Apple noted at the time:
"With watchOS 7, Apple Watch introduces sleep tracking, taking a holistic approach to sleep by providing valuable tools to help users get the desired amount of sleep, get to bed on time, and create a pre-bedtime routine to meet their sleep goals. Through the detection of micro-movements from the watch’s accelerometer, which signals respiration during sleep, Apple Watch intelligently captures when the wearer is sleeping and how much sleep they get each night. In the morning, the wearer will see a visualization of their previous night’s sleep, including periods of wake and sleep. They will also see a chart showing their weekly sleep trend."
Exactly where Apple is headed with Sleep Tracking is unknown at this time. Will they continue to advance their Apple Watch feature and fade out Beddit or will they advanced their Beddit system and tie it in better with Apple Watch over time? Only time will tell.