Today the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) published 3 continuation patents from Apple that relate to the Apple Watch hard fall detection. The fall detection feature has been highlighted in a number of testimonials on the news (01, 02 and 03) in the last year. It's a feature that Apple wants to continue advancing.
In April 2019 Patently Apple posted a report titled "Apple's Patent behind the Apple Watch Series 4 Feature known as 'Fall Detection.'" A year later we briefly reported that Apple was granted a patent for Fall Detection. This single patent had 104 patent claims.
Today the U.S. Patent Office published 3 continuation patents covering the single topic of "Fall Detection." The patent claims were unevenly split between them with 46, 32 and 20 respectfully, totaling 98 or six claims shy of the original patent. Even though there were less patent claims in total, Apple added some new trends.
Apple has now added patent claims relating to a term called "K-means Clustering," which is actually an algorithm. According to the blog called "towards data science," K-means clustering is one of the simplest and popular unsupervised machine learning algorithms.
Apple references it twice in continuation patent number 20200342735. It's mentioned in patent claim #5 and 28. One of the examples is presented below where patent claim #5 is clarifying what "one or more clusters" is actually referring to in claim #4 as follows:
Patent Claim #4. The method of claim 1, further comprising: generating, by the mobile device, one or more clusters of the plurality of data records based on similarities between the plurality of data records.
Patent Claim #5. The method of claim 4, wherein the one or more clusters are generated using k-means clustering.
A more popular addition is the new phrase "additional sensor data" mentioned some 24 times in Apple's patent claims of patent #20200342735 alone that wasn't mentioned at all in Apple's original 104 patent claims.
There could be other trends to be found but trying to juggle 3 new continuation patents with a very large original patent base of patent claims is a painfully time-consuming process.
We've pointed out the two trends that stood out the clearest. You could always check out Apple's 3 continuation patents 20200342737, 20200342735 and 20200342736 against their original patent here to find other trends and new additions.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 below is a diagram of an example system for determining whether a user has fallen and/or may be in need of assistance.