Apple Patent Reveals a Future iPhone being Able to scan your Finger and Measure a Series of Health Vitals
Apple has been working on making iOS devices a positive tool for health for some time now. Apple's Health App has been simple and yet convenient for millions of users. Apple Watch series 3 introduced the Heart Study App and last month the FDA approved a new EKG Reader in the form of an Apple Watch Band that detects abnormal heart rhythm and AFib.
Yesterday the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that shows us how they want to take the iPhone to the next level for health as it relates to allow users to measure their vitals.
Apple notes in their patent filing that it may be beneficial for a user to have information about their health data, including fitness data and wellness data. For example, health data may indicate emergency conditions or to enable the user to maximize fitness or wellness activities. Traditionally, health data is provided to users by health care professionals. However, it may be beneficial for users to have more access to health data.
To accomplish this goal, Apple invention covers systems, apparatuses, and methods related to an iPhone (iPad, Apple Watch etc) that computes health data. The device may include a camera, an ambient light sensor, and a proximity sensor. The electronic device may use one or more of the camera and the proximity sensor to emit light into a body part of a user (such as a finger, and ear, and so on) touching a surface of the electronic device.
The electronic device may use one or more of the camera, the ambient light sensor, and the proximity sensor to receive at least part of the emitted light reflected by the body part of the user. The electronic device may compute health data of the user based upon sensor data regarding the received light. In this way, the health data of the user may be detected utilizing an electronic device including a camera, ambient light sensor, and proximity sensor without making the user obtain access to a dedicated fitness and/or wellness device.
In various implementations, the camera, ambient light sensor, and proximity sensor may be positioned such that they are all at least partially covered (and/or contacted) by the user's body part at the same time, such as when the health data is computed. In one or more implementations, the electronic device may also include electrical contacts.
The health data of the user may also be computed using an electrical measurement obtained using from the electrical contacts. In some examples of such implementations, the electrical contacts may be positioned to contact the body part of the user and an additional body part such that electrical measurement represents the electrical properties of organs or portions of the body located between the two contacting body parts.
In some embodiments, the two body parts are the user's left and right hands and the electrical measurement corresponds to an electrical property that is measured across the user's chest.
In some implementations, the electronic device may utilize the camera to determine the user's body part is misaligned with the camera, the ambient light sensor, and the proximity sensor for purposes of detecting the information about the body part of the user. In such implementations, the electronic device may provide guidance (such as visual, audio, haptic, and/or other guidance) to correct the misalignment.
The information from the camera may be utilized to detect this misalignment even in implementations where the camera is configured with a focal distance greater than a distance between the camera and the user's body part when the user's body part is touching the surface of the electronic device.
The guidance system to ensure alignment can be seen in patent FIG. 3 below.
In various implementations, the proximity sensor may be a multiple light wavelength sensor (such as a sensor that utilizes infrared and visible light, infrared and red light, and so on). In some implementations, the ambient light sensor may be a silicon ambient light sensor, an indium gallium arsenide ambient light sensor, and/or other kind of ambient light sensor. In various implementations, the camera may be both an infrared and visible light camera.
The health data may include one or more of a variety of different wellness, fitness, and/or other parameters relating to the health of a user. For example, in patent FIG. 4 Apple notes that in various implementations the health data may include: a blood pressure index, a blood hydration, a body fat content, an oxygen saturation, a pulse rate, a perfusion index, an electrocardiogram, a photoplethysmogram, and/or any other such health data.
Apple's patent application #20170354332 was filed back in August 2017. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.
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