Back in June 2015, Patently Apple discovered an Apple patent filing covering a 'Wearable Multi-Modal Physiological Sensing System." Today, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office finally published Apple's U.S. version of the patent filing with a few tweaks. The patent generally covers advancing the Apple Watch Heart Rate Monitor so that it will compensate for motion like jogging that could naturally throw off a proper reading of a user's heart rate as the watch continually moves on the user's wrist.
Getting to the heart of the invention, we're able to see in Apple's patent FIG. 1 noted below an electronic device (Apple Watch) having light sensors for determining a heart rate signal. A first light sensor #110 may be co-located with a contacting light guide #102 and a first light emitter. The contacting light guide may be configured so as to be in contact with tissue #114 of a user, such as skin.
For example, the contacting light guide may be curved such that the surface is configured to the contact tissue of the user. In some examples, the contacting light guide may jut out from the body of the electronic device (Apple Watch) such that it is configured to contact the tissue of the user.
A second light sensor #112 may be co-located with a non-contacting light guide #104 and a second light emitter #108. The non-contacting light guide may be configured so as to not be in contact with the tissue of the user. In some examples, the non-contacting light guide may be recessed with respect to the body of the electronic device such that it is configured not to contact the tissue of the user.
The electronic device (Apple Watch) may be situated such that the sensors #110 and #112, the emitters #106 and #108, and the light guides and are proximate the tissue of the user, so that light from a light emitter may be directed through a light guide and be incident on the tissue. For example, the electronic device 100 may be held in a user's hand or strapped to a user's wrist, among other possibilities.
A portion of the light from a light emitter may be absorbed by the skin, vasculature, and/or blood, among other possibilities, and a portion may be reflected back to a light sensor co-located with the light emitter. In some examples, light guides may direct light to tissue and/or back to a light sensor, and some emitters and sensors may direct light to and from tissue without a light guide.
You could review our original report for finer details and background of Apple's invention here.
In today's U.S. filing, Apple is shown to have tweaked their original patent claims; claims which legally define an invention. You could review and compare the specific patent claims to see the changes. The initial patent claims could be found here while the current patent claims could be found here.
For instance, Apple adds this new method in patent claim #5: "The method of claim 1, wherein computing the heart rate signal based on the first and second light information includes performing cross-correlation on the first and second light information." Another change duly noted is that Apple has killed the original patent claims 9 through 16.
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