Apple Patent Reveals a Vital Signs Monitoring System Integrated into a Bedding Mat that's not from Beddit
During Apple's shareholder meeting Apple's CEO stated that "We can make a 'significant contribution' in health care." Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that relates to health care titled "Vital Signs Monitoring System." Apple acquired Beddit in early 2017 and I thought today's patent could have derived from them. But that proved not to be the case as the inventors have been long standing Apple engineers.
The two inventors include Health Technologies / Bio-Medical Engineer Erno Klaasen and Shahrooz Shahparnia, a hardware architect with no history leading back to Beddit. That would suggest that Apple may have had their own project in the works and they acquired Beddit to advance the project or to save a legal battle in the future.
Traditionally, monitoring a person's sleep or vital signs has required expensive and bulky equipment. Some systems require that the monitoring be performed away from home in a medical facility and/or require the equipment to attach to or directly contact the person, which can lead to discomfort and can lead to inaccurate analysis due to disruption of the person's sleep. Furthermore, these systems are configured to determine the vital signs based on one type of measurement or mode of operation. Moreover, these systems are configured for monitoring only a single person; these systems lack the capability of not only monitoring multiple users, but also incorporating the analysis of a first user into the analysis of a second user, whose sleep may be affected by the first user.
Apple's invention relates to a monitoring system capable of measuring a plurality of vital signs for one or more users. The monitoring system can include a plurality of sensors including, but not limited to, electrodes, piezoelectric sensors, temperature sensors, and accelerometers.
The monitoring system can be capable of operating in one or more operation modes such as, for example: capacitance measurement mode, electrical measurement mode, piezoelectric measurement mode, temperature measurement mode, acceleration measurement mode, impedance measurement mode, and standby mode.
Based on the measured values, the monitoring system can perform functions such as analyze the user's sleep, provide feedback and suggestions to the user, and/or can adjust or control the environmental conditions to improve the user's sleep. The monitoring system can be further capable of dynamically partitioning the system into multiple sections to account for multiple users. Each section can be tailored to the corresponding user with independent control and independent measurements to provide separate sleep analysis unique to the user.
The monitoring system can utilize the information from one user in its assessment of the sleep of another user. The monitoring system can be utilized at home or can be portable, giving the user flexibility with locations where the monitoring system can be used.
The monitoring system can further be capable of analyzing the sleep of the user(s) without directly contacting or attaching uncomfortable probes to the user(s) and without having to analyze the sleep in an unknown environment (e.g., a medical facility).
Apple's patent FIG. 1 below illustrates an exemplary block diagram of the monitoring system #199 that can include a mat #102, power source #103, camera #108, and control system #140. The mat can be resting on, attached to, or in contact with a bed (not shown) or any type of apparatus configured to support one or more human users, one or more pets, or the like.
The mat can be configured to cover all or a portion of a mattress, for example, that can be resting, attached to, or supported by one or more frames of the bed. In some examples, the mat can be flexible. In some examples, the mat can be at least partially rigid. The mat can also include one or more of a sheet, blanket, duvet, pillow or pillowcase, or insert. The mat can be a stand-alone unit that can be placed on a bed or can be incorporated into the fabric or textile used as part of a sleeping/resting arrangement.
Apple's patent FIG. 5C presented below illustrates a top view of an exemplary monitoring system including multiple sections. You could see the outline of two people lying in bed on top of a mat with electrodes. .
Apple's FIG. 8C illustrates a top view of the monitoring system including temperature sensors while FIG. 8D illustrates an exemplary process flow for temperature measurements.
Apple's patent application was originally filed back in Q3 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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