Apple updates their 'Smart' Watch Band invention that's monitors specific health metrics depending on the band Chosen
Yesterday the US Patent & Trademark Office published a continuation patent from Apple that relates to possible future Apple Watch Band features on a day wherein Amazon stepped into the fitness band arena to challenge the Apple Watch with their new 'Halo' band and pay-for membership service.
Apple's invention relates to the identification of specific Apple Watch bands that automatically triggers added functionality to Apple Watch once the invisible band ID has been scanned into the system by using the PPG sensor of the watch.
For instance, some users will want to check their blood pressure specifically on an on going basis. A special Apple Watch Band once scanned in by the biosensor at the bottom of the Apple Watch will trigger a custom interface for the user to track their blood pressure on demand.
There will be several specialty bands made available for Apple Watch catering to those wanting or needing to measure specific health metrics that serve both athletes and the general public. Apple notes that "a user's experience with the electronic device can be enhanced based on the user's selection of a particular band."
In Apple's patent FIG. 2 illustrated below, we're able to see the band #110 including an identification element (#190) that is detectable by one or more components of the Apple Watch; For FIGS. 3 and 4, the Apple Watch may also include one or more biosensors (#124) positioned substantially anywhere on Apple Watch, though shown at the bottom of the watch. Biosensors may be configured to sense substantially any type of characteristic such as, but not limited to, images, pressure, light, touch, force, temperature, position, motion, and so on.
Further, the optical (e.g., PPG) sensor or sensors may be used to compute various health metrics including, without limitation, a heart rate, a respiration rate, blood oxygenation level, a blood volume estimate, blood pressure, or a combination thereof.
In patent FIG. 5 shown above, Apple watch can detect an identification element (#190) of a band by using a sensor that applies a communication protocol. Apple Watch can employ NFC, RFID, Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, WiGig and more.
Apple's patent published yesterday is not a new invention application but rather a continuation patent wherein Apple is updating and/or adding specific technology, features and/or methods that they want to legally extend into their current granted patent. Any change and/or addition to this invention is restricted to Apple's patent claims.
So, What's New for this Invention?
Patently Apple covered this invention as a granted patent in a report published on June 23rd. If you missed this report or want to review more details you could check it out here.
Apple's original granted patent in June focused its patent claims, the heart of the invention, toward (1) "a wearable device" and what it comprised of, in the first 4 claims, followed by (2) six claims about "the method" of the device, and finally, (3) 5 claims pertaining to what the "watch is comprised of."
In yesterday's update to this invention we noted the additions included the following: (1) the first 6 claims are focused on "A system comprising of" followed by, (2) 6 claims about "a Watch comprising of", followed by (3) 8 claims relating to "A method comprising of."
Newly Added Apple Watch 'System' Claims
Specifics relating to the all-new segment of Apple Watch claims "A System comprising of" are the following claims in full:
- A system comprising: a watch comprising: a housing defining a channel; and a detector; and a band comprising: a lug; and an identification element positioned on the lug to be aligned with the detector of the watch as the lug is inserted into the channel of the housing, wherein the identification element corresponds to a characteristic of the band and is distinct from a different identification element of a different band.
- The system of claim 1, wherein the identification element comprises magnets, and the detector is a magnetic field sensor configured to detect each of the magnets as the lug of the band is inserted into the channel.
- The system of claim 2, wherein the magnets are arranged across the lug such that insertion of the lug into the channel allows each of the magnets to pass across the detector.
- The system of claim 2, wherein the magnets are provided with an arrangement of magnetic field orientations that is distinct from an arrangement of magnetic field orientations of the different band.
- The system of claim 1, wherein the detector comprises: a light source for emitting light onto the identification element; and a photodetector for capturing light reflected by the identification element.
- The system of claim 5, wherein the identification element is a marking on a surface of the lug, and the marking reflects light that is outside the visible spectrum.
Newly added Apple Watch 'Method' Claims
The next important additions were found in the "method" segment which included the following 8 claims beginning with claim #13:
- A method comprising: activating a detector of a watch in response to insertion of a lug of a band into a channel of a housing of the watch; detecting, with the detector, an identification element of the band while the lug is within the channel; and determining whether to execute an action based on the identification element.
- The method of claim 13, wherein detecting the identification element comprises detecting each of multiple magnets of the identification element as the lug is inserted into the channel.
- The method of claim 13, wherein detecting the identification element comprises: emitting light from the watch, wherein the identification element reflects the light; and capturing, with the watch, the light reflected from the identification element.
- The method of claim 13, wherein the identification element corresponds to a color of the band, and wherein the action based on the identification element is changing a feature on a display of the watch to include the color.
- The method of claim 13, wherein determining the action based on the identification element comprises: transmitting, from the watch, the identification element to an external device; and receiving, at the watch, the action from the external device.
- The method of claim 13, further comprising: transmitting, from the watch, the identification element to an external device; and receiving, at the watch, an authorization from the external device, wherein executing the action is after receiving the authorization.
- The method of claim 13, wherein executing the action comprises changing a setting of the watch.
- The method of claim 13, wherein executing the action comprises launching an application from a memory of the watch.
If you're interested to read the 6 claims relating to "The Watch" segment, review the claims in full here.
Apple's continuation patent that was published yesterday by the U.S. Patent Office was originally filed back in May 2020. Considering that this is a continuation patent, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.