Apple has been Granted a Patent for a Future Environmental Sensing Chip for the iPhone & Apple Watch that uses AI
In early 2019 Patently Apple posted a report titled "Apple granted their Fifth Patent on Integrating Gas and other Environmental Sensors into Future iDevices and Macs." Yesterday Apple was granted their sixth patent relating to systems and methods for environment sensing by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. In this latest patent Apple is shown to introduce an Artificial Intelligence (AI) engine to enhance smell recognition capabilities of the device.
Apple's granted patent covers technology directed to systems and methods for environmental sensing including identifying smells associated with gaseous species released from various substances.
The subject technology can be implemented as a stand-alone device or can be integrated with a portable communication device such as a smart phone (iPhone) or a smart watch (Apple Watch – collectively referred to as iDevices). Integration of environmental sensors with consumer electronic platforms is valuable as it could enable new features such as environmental and health monitoring and other various features.
In some implementations, an iDevice may include one or more sensors, a number of electrodes and a processing circuit. The processing circuit can apply a bias supply voltage (e.g., a DC voltage) and an AC voltage (e.g., a time-varying voltage having a periodic waveform such as a sinusoidal or a square waveform) to the pair of electrodes and can process output signals from the sensors. The sensors can be ionic liquid sensors tuned for sensing a smell associated with one or more chemical species.
More importantly, the processing circuit may further rely on artificial intelligence (AI), for example, use an artificial intelligence (AI) engine to enhance smell recognition capabilities of the device.
In some implementations, the ionic liquid sensors are contained in enclosures formed by micro electro-mechanical system (MEMS) structural elements and a surface of a semiconductor chip that includes the processing circuit.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 below is a high-level diagram illustrating examples of portable communication devices with environmental sensing capability; FIG. 7 is a flow diagram illustrating a method of providing a portable communication device with environmental sensing capability.
Apple's patent FIG. 4 above is a block diagram illustrating an example processing circuit for an environmental sensing device; and FIG. 5 is a diagram illustrating an example mechanism for dissolving of gases by an ionic liquid environmental sensing material.
Apple's granted patent 10,724,978 was originally filed in Q3 2018 and published yesterday by the US Patent and Trademark Office.