Apple Advances the Accuracy of their Fall and Crash Detection Systems when a user has 2 or 3 Apple devices on their person
Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that relates to advancing both Fall and Crash Detection features. Apple notes that a processor of an Apple Watch can determine that the AirPods motion has risen to a potentially injurious level of acceleration or motion. This may occur, for example, when the user falls, is in an automobile accident, or hits a tree while skiing or biking. In this patent, Apple makes the case that a person having multiple Apple devices on their person, such as an Apple Watch, AirPods and iPhone in combination, could provide a more accurate reading of an injurious impact event.
In Apple's patent background they note that an Apple watch, for example, can detect motion at the user’s wrist, but is generally limited to information at that location on the user’s body. The user can experience detrimental injuries resulting from falls or impacts, including injuries to the head or neck. Electronic devices that are normally worn by users lack the necessary components and functionalities necessary to accurately and confidently detect these falls and impact events.
In this way, what is needed in the art are systems, methods, and devices for accurately and confidently detecting when a user experiences an impact exceeding a threshold acceleration, event, or motion in a known, specific location.
Impact Detection Devices and Systems
In one patent example, a portable impact detection device can include a first motion sensor to gather first motion data associated with the portable impact detection device, a processor electrically coupled to the first motion sensor, and a receiver configured to receive second motion data from a head-mountable device. The processor determines that a threshold motion of the head-mountable device has occurred based on the first motion data and the second motion data.
In one example of the portable impact detection device, the head-mountable device can include AirPods that can include a second motion sensor, an antenna, and a second processor electrically connected to the second motion sensor and the antenna. The second processor can identify a threshold motion detected by the second motion sensor and cause the antenna to send a signal that includes the second motion data. In one example, the signal is sent to the portable concussion detection device. In one example, the portable concussion detection device can include a wearable electronic device.
In one example, the wearable electronic device comprises an Apple Watch. In one example, the wearable electronic device can include a smartphone.
In one example of the present disclosure, an impact detection system can include AirPods having a first motion sensor and a wearable electronic device in electrical communication with the AirPods. The wearable electronic device can include a second motion sensor electrically connected to a processor. The processor can determine if a threshold event has occurred based on a first motion detected by the first motion sensor and a second motion detected by the second motion sensor.
In one example of the impact detection system, the earbud can further include an antenna electrically connected to the first motion sensor, the antenna configured to transmit data associated with the first motion to the wearable electronic device.
In one example, the AirPods further include an optical sensor configured to detect when the earbud is mounted to a user. In one example, the processor causes the antenna to transmit the data if the optical sensor detects the earbud mounted to the user. In one example, the data indicates an acceleration of a head of a user to which the earbud is mounted. In one example, the wearable electronic device includes an electronic watch.
In one example, the wearable electronic device comprises a smartphone. In one example of the impact detection system, the head-mountable device is a first head-mountable device and the impact detection system further includes a second head-mountable device having a third motion sensor. In such an example, the processor determines if a threshold event has occurred based on a first motion detected by the first motion sensor, a second motion detected by the second motion sensor, and a third motion detected by the third motion sensor.
In one example of the present disclosure, a method of detecting a threshold motion can include detecting a motion of a head-mountable device, sending a signal from the head-mountable device to an external device, and determining that a head to which the head-mountable device is mounted has experienced a threshold motion. The signal can indicate the motion and the determination can be based on the motion.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 below illustrates an example of an impact detection system; FIG. 4 and 5 shows examples of an impact detection system including AirPods and an Apple Watch worn by a user.
Apple's patent FIGS. 6 and 9 above present flowcharts of a method of detecting an impact.
In general, patent FIGS. 4 and 5 illustrate two scenarios in which separate electronic devices of a system may experience different motions, including different acceleration magnitudes during use.
In some examples, both devices of the systems shown in FIGS. 4 and 5 can experience threshold exceeding forces or accelerations that may be indicative of injurious events or motions exceeding an injurious threshold motion. In such a case, one or more processors of the devices in the system can determine that the user has potentially experienced an injury or at least an injurious event or motion has occurred.
Apple's patent FIG. 4 illustrates an example scenario where a user may experience motions including accelerations above an injurious threshold at one body part but not the other.
In such a scenario as shown and described with reference to FIG. 4, while the Apple Watch may experience or detect threshold exceeding forces or accelerations that may be indicative of an injurious event, this doesn’t always mean that the user’s head has also experienced an injurious event.
Apple's AirPods may not detect threshold exceeding forces or accelerations that may be indicative of an injurious event at the user’s head. This may be the case, for example, if the user’s hand hits a tree while skiing down a hill but the user’s head does not. This may also be the case, for example, when the user is striking a punching bag during a workout. The hand of the user may repeatedly experience threshold exceeding forces or accelerations that may be indicative of an injurious event while the user’s head remains safe.
Many other scenarios can be conceived in which the wearable device of the system, whether it be worn on the user’s wrist, in the user’s pocket, or elsewhere, detects a potentially injurious motion but the user has not experienced an injurious event at the head.
Accordingly, the multiple devices of impact detection systems described can increase the accuracy of concussive event detection by providing multiple points of reference from which motion data can be detected and communicated to accurately assess a potentially injurious event. Any one of the devices of impact detection systems can instigate or initiate an injury detection protocol or alert depending on which device detects a potentially injurious event.
To review its full details, review patent application 20230277129.