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Apple is working on an E-Bike Detector for Apple Watch that could Accurately calculate a user’s Energy Expenditure

1 cover - Apple Watch with special sensors when working out on an e-bike

Back in 2010, Patently Apple covered an Apple patent regarding a Smart Bike. Is today's patent application from Apple about advancing that project? I wish, but no. Instead, Apple's patent relates to new Apple Watch fitness monitoring in context with users that ride an E-Bike.

Electrical E-Bike Detector for Energy Expenditure Estimation

In Apple's patent background they note that modern wearable devices such as smartwatches and fitness bands are often used by individuals during fitness activities to determine their energy expenditure during the fitness activity.

Some wearable devices include inertial sensors (e.g., accelerometers, angular rate sensors) that are used to estimate a work rate (WR) based metabolic equivalent of task (MET) for the user wearing the device.

Some wearable devices also include a heart rate (HR) sensor that provides HR data that can be used with user estimated VO.sub.2 MAX (maximal oxygen consumption) and other data (e.g., users weight, age) to estimate the user’s HR based MET. The WR MET and HR MET are combined in some suitable manner (e.g., averaged) to determine the energy expenditure of the user.

An electrical bicycle (“e-bike”) is a bicycle with an integrated electric motor used to assist the rider’s pedal-power. Because of this propulsion assistance, the wearable device overestimates WR METs, resulting in an inaccurate calculation of the user’s energy expenditure.

Apple's invention relates to an e-bike detector for energy expenditure estimation. Further, the patent covers a method which comprises: determining a heart rate energy expenditure of a user wearing or holding the device; determining work rate energy expenditure of a user wearing or holding the device; determining a probability that the user is riding an electrical bike based on the heart rate energy expenditure and the work rate energy expenditure; determining whether or not the probability meets a condition corresponding to a threshold probability; and in accordance with the probability meeting the condition corresponding to the threshold probability: adjusting the work rate energy expenditure; and generating fitness data based at least on the adjusted work rate energy expenditure.

The invention provides one or more of the following advantages. The energy expenditure of a user is more accurately calculated by detecting whether or not the user is riding an e-bike. When an e-bike is detected by an e-bike detection model, a WR MET output by a WR energy expenditure model is compensated (e.g., scaled down by a weighting factor).

Apple's patent FIGS. 2A and 2B below illustrate e-bike models for flat and incline surfaces, respectively; FIGS. 3A-3C illustrate sensor the overestimation of WRMETs when the user is riding an e-bike.

2 Apple Watch patent figs 2ab  3abc

Apple's patent FIG. 4 below is a block diagram of a system for determining e-bike energy expenditure

3 patent fig. 4 Apple Watch patent figure  Patently Apple report Mar 2023

Our cover graphic includes patent FIG. 1 which illustrates a typical e-bike, the E-bike differs from a conventional road bike in that it includes an integrated electric motor that assists the user’s pedal-power. Because the e-bike requires less effort from the user it is ideal for users who want to get back into cycling and to cover more distance with less pedal-power.

The flow chart in our cover graphic is actually patent FIG. 5 which is a process of e-bike energy expenditure.

For finer details, review Apple's patent application number US 20230101619 A1.

10.51FX - Patent Application Bar


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