Apple's fifth patent on integrating gas detecting sensors in iDevices focuses on adding Specialized Pressure Sensors
In 2019 Apple patents began to surface about future iDevices being able to detect dangerous gases at home, at work or in your environment. In mid-February Apple patent application surfaced that detailed their work on integrating different kinds of environmental based sensors into iDevices that could detect ozone, propane, nitric oxide, benzene, carbon dioxide and many other gases. In April another invention covered miniature gas sensors for measuring gas levels in different rooms in a home. In August Apple's work continued in the area of using metal oxide gas sensors as a promising technology. And finally in September Apple's invention covered the use of a new 'ozone' sensor.
Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published Apple's fifth patent application relating to their gas sensor project titled "Telescopic analog front-end for Pressure Sensors."
Portable communication devices (e.g., smart phones and smart watches) are becoming increasingly equipped with environmental sensors such a pressure, temperature and humidity sensors, gas sensors and particulate matter (PM) sensors.
For example, a pressure sensor enables a smart watch or a smart phone to measure pressure as well as other parameters related to pressure, for example, elevation, motion, flow or other parameters. Pressure sensors are used to measure pressure in a gas or liquid environment.
Pressure sensors can vary drastically in technology, design, performance and application. In terms of technologies employed, pressure sensors can be categorized as, for example, piezoelectric, capacitive, electromagnetic, and optical or potentioffsetric pressure sensors.
The micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) type pressure sensors used in smartphones or smart watches are generally capacitive-type pressure sensors, and are employed along with an interface that enables proper measurement of the sensed pressure by a suitable electronic circuit.
Apple's patent FIG. 2 below is a schematic diagram illustrating an example of a pressure-sensing device. The pressure-sensing device #200 includes a MEMS pressure sensor #202 and a telescopic front-end circuit #220 which includes, a variable offset capacitance #215, a gain stage #224 (e.g., an amplifier or a buffer), an analog-to-digital converter (ADC) #230 and a controller #240.
Apple's patent FIG. 8 above is a block diagram illustrating an example wireless communication device, within which one or more environmental sensing devices of the subject technology can be integrated. The wireless communication device #800 may represent and iPhone or an Apple Watch.
In various embodiments of the subject technology, one or more of the blocks represented in FIG. 8 may be integrated on one or more semiconductor substrates. For example, the blocks 820-870 may be realized in a single chip or a single system on a chip, or may be realized in a multi-chip chipset.
Apple's patent application 20190360882 that was published today by the U.S. Patent Office was filed back in Q2, 2018. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.
Sole Inventor - Gregory Arndt, PhD: Motion Sensing System Engineer; leading novel pressure and IMU sensors architecture into mass products for consumer products market.