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Apple is Developing Watch Technology to Detect Heart Abnormalities and now blood Pressure



On September 26, 2017 Patently Apple posted a report titled "The FDA Selects Apple and 9 other Tech Companies for Pilot Program Designed to Fast Track Mobile Device Innovations." The program is meant to let the companies get products pre-cleared rather than going through the agency's standard application and approval process that can take months. Apple is now working on making Apple Watch detect heart abnormalities.


Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple titled "Wrist Worn Accelerometer for Pulse Transmit Time (PTT) Measurements of Blood Pressure" that relates to the Apple Watch being used to measure blood pressure in a very sophisticated manner.


In describing their invention, Apple notes in their patent filing that "Wrist-worn devices and related methods measure a pulse transit time non-invasively and calculate a blood pressure value using the pulse transit time. A wrist-worn device includes an accelerometer, a photo-plethysmogram (PPG) or a pulse pressure sensor, and a controller. The PPG or the pulse pressure sensor coupled to the wrist-worn device for detecting an arrival of a blood pressure pulse at the user's wrist. The controller is configured to process output signals from the accelerometer to detect when the blood pressure pulse is propagated from the left ventricle of the user's heart, process a signal from the PPG or the pulse pressure sensor to detect when the blood pressure pulse arrives at the wrist, calculate a pulse transit time (PTT) for propagation of the blood pressure pulse from the left ventricle to the wrist, and generate one or more blood pressure values for the user based on the PTT.


Apple's patent FIG. 1 noted below illustrates a propagation path of a blood pressure pulse from the left ventricle to a wrist on which a wrist-worn blood pressure measurement device is worn, in accordance with many embodiments; FIG. 2 illustrates accelerometer and PPG signals relative to a pulse transit time (PIT) for a blood pressure pulse propagating from the left ventricle to a wrist on which a blood pressure measurement device is worn; and FIG. 3 is a schematic side view of a wrist-worn blood pressure measurement device held in contact with a user's chest.



Apple's patent FIG. 9 presented below is a schematic diagram of a wrist-worn blood-pressure measurement device; FIG. 11 illustrates subsurface layers of a subject; FIGS. 12 illustrates detection of different mean penetration depths of light emitted by a PPG sensor having returning light detectors disposed at different distances from each of two light sources of the PPG sensor.



Towards the end of the patent filing Apple notes that "It will be appreciated that personal information data may be utilized in a number of ways to provide benefits to a user of a device. For example, personal information such as health or biometric data may be utilized for convenient authentication and/or access to the device without the need of a user having to enter a password.


Still further, collection of user health or biometric data (e.g., blood pressure measurements) may be used to provide feedback about the user's health and/or fitness levels.


It will further be appreciated that entities responsible for collecting, analyzing, storing, transferring, disclosing, and/or otherwise utilizing personal information data are in compliance with established privacy and security policies and/or practices that meet or exceed industry and/or government standards, such as data encryption. For example, personal information data should be collected only after receiving user informed consent and for legitimate and reasonable uses of the entity and not shared or sold outside those legitimate and reasonable uses.


Still further, such entities would take the necessary measures for safeguarding and securing access to collected personal information data and for ensuring that those with access to personal information data adhere to established privacy and security policies and/or practices. In addition, such entities may be audited by a third party to certify adherence to established privacy and security policies and/or practices.


It is also contemplated that a user may selectively prevent or block the use of or access to personal information data. Hardware and/or software elements or features may be configured to block use or access. For instance, a user may select to remove, disable, or restrict access to certain health related applications that collect personal information, such as health or fitness data. Alternatively, a user may optionally bypass biometric authentication methods by providing other secure information such as passwords, personal identification numbers, touch gestures, or other authentication methods known to those skilled in the art.


Apple's patent application 20170281024 was filed back in Q1 2017. Apple's patent is fairly complicated for mere mortals, but you can check it out here for details. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.


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