Apple Continues their work on a new Medical Component and App for Apple Watch that Alerts users to UV Overexposure
In July Patently Apple posted a patent application report titled "Apple Invents the Ultimate Sunscreen Detector for Apple Watch that will integrate a UV-IR Scanner." The patent related to integrating a UV-IR scanner into a future Apple Watch and/or Apple Watch band to allow users to measure sufficient sunscreen protection when at the beach, boating or tanning in the back yard.
Today, The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a granted patent for the same theme titled "UV dosimetry and exposure alert." Today's granted patent generally covers integrating light sensors into a future Apple Watch that will be able to monitor and measure one or more signals using a UV dosimeter and methods for determining cumulative UV exposure.
Apple notes that overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation can be associated with a variety of health conditions such as sunburn, premature skin aging, skin damage, elastosis (i.e., the destruction of the elastic and collagen tissue) and skin cancer. The effects from the health conditions can range from sun spots, freckles, discolored areas of the skin (mottled pigmentation), sallowness (a yellow discoloration of the skin), telangiectasias (the dilation of small blood vessels under the skin), and benign tumors, to skin cancers (e.g., squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, and melanoma). In addition, exposure to UV radiation can be a risk factor for the development of cataracts and growths of the conjunctiva of the eye (i.e., pterygiums).
Given the risks and possible associated health conditions, devices and methods to detect the user's presence outdoors and to determine the cumulative UV exposure time, Apple's invention will be able to assist users and advance another medical app for Apple Watch.
Apple notes that the technology could also be integrated into future iPads, MacBooks and other wearables like smartglasses or smart clothing.
Apple further notes that the UV dosimeter can include a UV sensor, which can be used to identify time periods when the user is located outdoors. In some examples, the UV spectrum of natural sunlight may be detected by the UV sensor, even when the UV sensor may be partially blocked (e.g., by clothing or in the presence of outdoor shade or cloudiness). The outdoor time periods and time-of-day information can be accumulated by a controller. Continuous, hourly and/or daily UV index information of the user's location for each outdoor time period can be determined, and the controller can calculate a dosage value for each time period and the cumulative dosage total value. The controller may receive and send location information in order to receive location-dependent UV index information, and may also initiate or generate an alert or notification that informs the user of the calculated cumulative dosage total value.
Optionally, based on the UV index, recommendations of suggested protective measures and other exposure information may be provided to the user (e.g., at a specified time of day, based upon events in a calendar application, upon or before the user proceeding outdoors). For example, such recommendations may be provided to the user at the start of the day. In some variations, the UV sensor may be able to detect the presence of high intensity (e.g., UVI.gtoreq.8) UV radiation. Optionally, as the cumulative dosage total value reaches certain thresholds, the controller may generate additional user reminders and/or alerts relating to protective measures or other information.
Apple's patent FIG. 3B above illustrates an Apple Watch including a series of UV sensors. In some variations, the touch screen 304 (or the touch-sensitive surface) may have one or more intensity sensors for detecting intensity of contacts (force touch).
In patent FIG. 3 you can see that UV sensor would also be integrated into a future Apple Watch band.
In patent FIG. 4 above we're able to see an exemplary block diagram depicting the signal flow of a UV dosimeter system, which may be provided in the personal electronic device or portable multifunctional device.
Apple's patent FIG. 6A below illustrates a flow diagram of an exemplary method to compute the UV dose based on the UV measurement data and UV Index over time.
Apple's granted patent 10,132,680 was originally filed in Q3 2016 and published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office.
Serhan Isikman: Optical Sensing Architecture and Execution Manager, PhD. Design, architecture and mass-production of optical sensors in Apple products.
Brian Land: Senior Manager, DEST, Sensing Hardware
Erno Klaassen: Director Health Technologies