The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 59 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover Apple's patent covering an advanced Apple Watch with Touch ID and a specialty arm band accessory for this health oriented application.
Apple's Patent Background
Wearable devices, such as heart rate or other fitness monitors, may be operable in connected and disconnected states. The connected state may be for operation when the wearable device is worn by a user. Similarly, the disconnected state may be for operation when the wearable device is not worn by a user. The disconnected state may permit download or display of data, user input and the like, but may not provide active monitoring functions that are provided while being worn, as one example.
In the connected state, a wearable device such as heart rate monitor based on photoplethysmographic sensors or electrocardiographic sensors may be operable to detect and monitor the user's heart rate and/or similar operations that require the user to be wearing the wearable device. In the disconnected state, such a wearable device may be configured by the user and/or perform other operations that do not require the user to be wearing the wearable device.
In order for such a wearable device to operate properly in either the connected or disconnected state, the wearable device may need to be aware which state it should be operating in. This may require the wearable device to be aware or sense whether or not the user is currently wearing the wearable device.
In some cases, a user may enter input (such as via a touch screen, one or more buttons, and/or one or more other input/output mechanisms) to indicate to the wearable device whether the user is currently wearing the wearable device or not. However, requiring the user to enter input to change the state of the wearable device may be inconvenient and/or burdensome.
Advanced Apple Watch and Arm Band Accessory
Apple's invention relates to systems, apparatuses, and methods for operating a wearable device dependent on whether or not the wearable device is worn. A wearable device (such as a heart rate monitor, blood pressure monitor, fitness monitor, or other wearable device) that attaches to a body part of a user (such as a bicep, an arm, a wrist, a neck, a leg, a torso, and so on) via an attachment member (such as a strap, band, or other attachment member) may operate in at least a connected and a disconnected state.
One or more sensors (such as one or more photoplethysmographic sensors, sensorselectrocardiographic sensors, galvanic skin conduction sensors, and so on) located in the wearable device and/or the attachment member may detect the user's body part when present, or may detect that a band or other attachment member is closed or otherwise placed in a connected state.
Such detection may be used, in some cases with other data, to switch the wearable device between the connected and disconnected states. In this way, the wearable device may operate in the connected state when worn by a user and in the disconnected state when not worn by the user.
One or more sensors located in the wearable device and/or the attachment member may detect when the device is attached to or in a close proximity of an object. One or more sensors located in the wearable device and/or the attachment member may detect that the object attached to is the user's body part when present. Such combined/double detection may be used, in some cases with other data, to switch the wearable device between the connected and disconnected states.
In various implementations, the wearable device may authenticate the user while operating in the connected state. Such authentication may include receiving one or more biometrics (such as one or more fingerprints received via a touch sensor, photoplethysmographic information received via a photoplethysmographic sensor, electrocardiographic (ECG) information received via ECG electrodes, and/or other such biometrics), user identifiers, passwords, personal identification numbers, or other such authentication mechanisms received via one or more input/output components.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 below is an isometric view of a system (#100) for operating a wearable device (#103) dependent on whether or not the wearable device is worn. As illustrated in FIG. 1, the wearable device is a heart rate monitor including a touch screen display 104 that is wearable by a user by connecting an attachment member strap 102 to the user's bicep 101.
The wearable device may be one of any of a variety of devices. For example, the wearable device may be a health monitor, exercise or other activity monitor, device capable of telling time (= Apple Watch), device capable of measuring a biometric parameter of a wearer or user, and so on.
In some ways, biometrics aside, Apple's granted patent is like Twelve South ActionSleeve Armband for Apple Watch.
Patently Apple covered this as a patent application back in January 2017. Today the U.S. Patent Office granted Apple granted patent 10,492,726.