Apple Invents a MacBook with Biometric Sensors for Health & Presence Sensors to Auto Light Keyboard and Trackpad
Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple relating to systems and techniques for integrating a bio-sensor into the surface of a MacBook (Pro) that could monitor a user's heart rate or physiological state and double as a presence sensor that could light up the keys and trackpad automatically (as an option).
Apple's patent relates to body sensing via translucent layers with opaque layers. A MacBook includes an opaque layer positioned on a translucent layer that defines micro-perforations. A light source transmits light or other optical energy through the micro-perforations into a body part of a user.
A light receiver receives the light that is reflected back from the body part of the user through the micro-perforations. Information about the user's body is determined from the light that is reflected back.
In various examples, the bio-sensor is positioned along a side of the keyboard and the body part is a palm of a hand of the user. In numerous examples, the light source is a green LED, the bio-sensor is configured to detect blood perfusion in the body part of the user and the health metric is at least one of a heart rate, a respiration rate, a blood oxygenation level, a blood volume estimate, or a blood pressure. In some examples, the light source is an infrared LED and the bio-sensor is configured to detect water content of the body part of the user.
In numerous examples, the array of micro-perforations is configured to obscure the light source and the light receiver when the bio-sensor is not in operation. In some examples, each micro-perforation of the array of micro-perforations is approximately 30-70 microns in diameter and is spaced approximately 80-500 microns apart from an adjacent micro-perforation.
In various examples, determining the physiological condition of a user includes determining at least one of: a heart rate, a respiration rate, a blood oxygenation level, a blood volume estimate, or a blood pressure. In some examples, determining the physiological condition of a user includes determining a photoplethysmogram (PPG) for the user. At present Apple uses a PPG in their Apple Watch.
Apple's patent FIG. 3 below depicts a view of a sensing area of a MacBook where the opaque layer defines a micro-perforated transmission region and a micro-perforated receiving region; FIG. 7A illustrates a MacBook that transitions from a low power state to an operating state upon detecting a user.
Apple's patent FIG. 9 below depicts an example electronic device that is operable to detect and display health information about a user.
In Apple's FIG. 9 the MacBook (Pro) is operable to determine a heart rate for the user using a health or other bio-sensor corresponding to an area of a translucent layer noted in patent figures 3 and 7A in our first graphic.
In some implementations, the bio-sensor may be used to determine a health metric or physiological condition of the user while the user is typing.
Additionally, this future MacBook (Pro) may be able to record the heart rate of the user. In this way, the heart rate may be monitored over time. For example, the user's heart rate over time may be compared to heart rate data indicating health problems, such as hypertension. The MacBook may display such information, graphically or otherwise, to indicate changes in the user's health, steps the user may take to improve the user's health, comparisons to other people of a similar age and/or other background to indicate the user's relative health, and so on.
Apple's patent FIG. 8 above depicts an example MacBook that is operable to illuminate a keyboard upon detecting a user. The Biometric sensor's secondary function may be configured to detect the proximity of the user or an ambient light condition over an area and light up the keyboard and trackpad automatically if the user so chooses this as a desired option.
Apple's patent application that was published today by the U.S. Patent Office was originally filed back in Q1 2018. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.
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