Apple Invents a Smart Metal & Fabric Health and Communications Band for Apple Watch and a future Mixed Reality Headset
Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that relates to a future smart fabric band used as a health band that could integrate a group of sensors for measuring blood pressure, respiration rate, blood oxygen, and ECG.
You know when Apple engineer Daniel Podhajny is listed as one of the inventors, this is a serious fabric-related invention. Podhajny is listed on many Nike patents while working on Nike Flyknit breathable material runners.
Apple's invention covers a fabric-based item may be provide with a stretchable band. The stretchable band may be formed from a ring-shaped strip of stretchable fabric having an opening configured to fit around a body part of a user. Circuitry may be coupled to strands of material in the stretchable band. The circuitry may include sensor circuitry for making measurement on the body part such as electrocardiogram measurements, blood pressure measurements, respiration rate measurements, and other measurements.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 below is a schematic diagram of an illustrative fabric-based item; FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an illustrative item such as a band that is formed from elastic fabric.
While Apple began working on this in 2018, Apple engineers have now added 20 new key patent claims that clearly identify the invention as relating to its use as an Apple Watch band and for use with a future Apple HMD. Below are 16 of the 20 key new patent claim additions:
- A wristwatch device, comprising: a housing; and a fabric band coupled to the housing, wherein the fabric band comprises conductive strands that are coupled to the housing.
- The housing of the wristwatch device comprises of metal, the conductive strands form power receiving circuitry in the fabric band and convey power between the fabric band and the housing, the conductive strands convey communication signals between the fabric band and the housing, the wristwatch device further comprising: wireless transceiver circuitry coupled to the fabric band, wherein the conductive strands form first and second antennas coupled to the wireless transceiver circuitry, and wherein the first antenna is orthogonal to the second antenna.
- … wherein the conductive strands convey power between the fabric and the housing, and wherein the conductive strands form power receiving circuitry in the fabric band.
- … wherein at least one of the conductive strands is configured to form an inductive wireless power receiving coil that runs entirely around the fabric band.
- … wherein the housing is a metal housing.
- The wristwatch device further comprises: wireless transceiver circuitry coupled to the fabric band, wherein the conductive strands form an antenna coupled to the wireless transceiver circuitry.
- … wherein the conductive strands form a second antenna that is orthogonal to the first antenna.
- … wherein the fabric band comprises first fabric strands with a first elasticity and second fabric strands with a second elasticity, the second elasticity is less than the first elasticity, and the conductive strands are intertwined with the fabric strands through loops of the second fabric strands.
- The wristwatch device further comprises a display in the fabric band, wherein the display comprises an array of pixels.
- The invention also relates to a head-mounted device, comprising: a housing; a fabric band coupled to the housing, wherein the fabric band includes circuitry that comprises: wireless power receiving circuitry configured to receive wireless power; and a conductive strand coupled to the housing, wherein the conductive strand is configured to convey the wireless power from the wireless power receiving circuitry to the housing.
- … wherein the conductive strand forms an inductive wireless power receiving coil that runs entirely around the fabric band.
- … wherein the circuitry further comprises: wireless communications circuitry configured to receive communications signals; and an additional conductive strand coupled to the housing, wherein the additional conductive strand is configured to convey the communications signals from the wireless communications circuitry to the housing.
- … wherein the wireless communications circuitry comprises: a first antenna; and a second antenna orthogonal to the first antenna.
- The conductive strand of the head-mounted device is one of a plurality of conductive strands and wherein the circuitry further comprises: sensors that include electrodes formed from the conductive strands.
- The sensors in the head-mounted device are selected from the group consisting of: a blood pressure sensor, a respiration rate sensor, a blood oxygen sensor, and an electrocardiogram sensor.
- The fabric band of the head-mounted device comprises first fabric strands with a first elasticity and second fabric strands of a second elasticity that is less than the first elasticity, and wherein the conductive strand is intertwined with the fabric strands through loops of the second fabric strands.
For more details, review Apple's patent application # US 20230000435 A1.
- Steven Keating: While there's no LinkedIn Profile available, CNBC reported back in 2017 that " Apple quietly made one of its coolest hires ever. The company recently brought on Steven Keating, the MIT doctoral student who made a 3D printout of his own brain after he was diagnosed with a tumor." While CNBC noted that they didn't know whether Keating would be working on one of Apple’s teams dedicated to health care, this patent clearly shows that Keating is in fact working on a health related project with this smart fabric band for the wrist or head.
- David Kindlon: Design Engineer-Special Projects Group
- Benjamin Grena: Hardware Design Engineer
- Daniel Podhajny: Product Designer (came to Apple via Nike's Knit Exploration Innovator)
- Jerzy Guterman: Antenna Engineer
- Jessica Lu: No LinkedIn Profile available.