Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a continuation patent from Apple that relates to systems and methods for monitoring and detecting head gestures performed by a user wearing smartglasses or a head mounted display device that is equipped with multiple light-sensing assemblies. Today, the Apple Watch is pushing into the health arena, especially regarding the monitoring of a user's heart. In the future, Apple smartglasses will be able to provide biomedical data that is simply mind boggling in scope.
As a refresher, the vast majority of this invention is focused on a new sensor system that will provide biomedical data to the user. At one point it even describes monitoring jaw movements as noted in the patent figures below.
Apple notes that sensor data from the photodiodes can capture expansion, contraction, and/or any other suitable movement in the tissue of the user during a head gesture. Various different head gestures, including, but not limited to, chewing, blinking, winking, smiling, eyebrow raising, jaw motioning (e.g., jaw protrusion, jaw retrusion, lateral jaw excursion, jaw depression, jaw elevation, etc.), mouth opening, and/or the like, may be detected by recognizing patterns in sensor data that may be characteristic of each head gesture, as head tissue may expand and contract and anatomical features in the tissue may move during such user gestures."
As another example, a method for monitoring a user wearing a head-wearable electronic device (HWD) on the user's head using a head gesture model custodian system is provided that may include initially configuring, at the head gesture model custodian system, a learning engine, receiving, at the head gesture model custodian system from the HWD, HWD sensor category data for at least one HWD sensor category for a head gesture and a score for the head gesture, training, at the head gesture model custodian system, the learning engine using the received HWD sensor category data and the received score, accessing, at the head gesture model custodian system, HWD sensor category data for the at least one HWD sensor category for another head gesture, scoring the other head gesture, using the learning engine for the HWD at the head gesture model custodian system, with the accessed HWD sensor category data for the other head gesture, and, when the score for the other head gesture satisfies a condition, generating, with the head gesture model custodian system, control data associated with the satisfied condition.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 below is a schematic view of an illustrative system 1 that includes a head-wearable electronic device 100 for monitoring a user.
Apple's patent FIG. 2i below illustrates another illustrative embodiment of a VR HMD with one or more sensor assemblies.
The Sensor Assembly
The sensor assembly is a key part of this invention. Apple notes that the sensor assembly #114 may include any suitable sensor components or subassemblies for detecting any suitable biometric data and/or health data and/or sleep data and/or mindfulness data and/or the like of a user of the Head Wearable Device (HWD 100).
These sensors can generate data providing health-related information associated with the user. For example, PPG sensors can provide information regarding a user's respiratory rate, blood pressure, heart rate ("HR"), heart rate variability ("HRV"), and/or oxygen saturation. ECG sensors can provide information regarding a user's heartbeats. GSR sensors can provide information regarding a user's skin moisture, which may be indicative of sweating and can prioritize a thermostat application to determine a user's body temperature. In some examples, each sensor can be a separate device, while, in other examples, any combination of two or more of the sensors can be included within a single device.
For example, a gyroscope, accelerometer, photoplethysmogram, galvanic skin response sensor, and temperature sensor can be included within a wearable electronic device, such as an HWD, while a scale, blood pressure cuff, blood glucose monitor, SpO2 sensor, respiration sensor, posture sensor, stress sensor, and asthma inhaler can each be separate devices.
Today's patent report isn't about a new invention application but rather a continuation patent wherein Apple is updating and/or adding specific technologies, features and/or methods that they want to legally extend, protect and fold into their granted patent which is legally permitted. Any change and/or addition to their invention is restricted to their patent claims that are legally binding.
In today's continuation patent, Apple has cancelled all original 30 patent claims and replaces them with 20 new claims that better protects various key parts of the invention. Below are just a few of the key patent claims Apple has added.
Patent Claim #31: "A method for monitoring a user with a system that comprises a structure operative to be worn by a head of the user, a sensor assembly comprising a first subassembly coupled to the structure adjacent a first head portion of the head of the user when the structure is worn by the head of the user and a second subassembly coupled to the structure adjacent a second head portion of the head of the user that is different than the first head portion when the structure is worn by the head of the user, and a processor communicatively coupled to the sensor assembly, the method comprising: transmitting light from the sensor assembly towards the head of the user when the structure is worn by the head of the user; in response to the transmitting, detecting first light from the first head portion with the first subassembly when the structure is worn by the head of the user; in response to the transmitting, detecting second light from the second head portion with the second subassembly when the structure is worn by the head of the user; and identifying a gesture of the user with the processor based on both the detected first light and the detected second light."
Patent Claim #36: "The method of claim 31, wherein the identified gesture comprises one of the following: chewing; blinking; winking; smiling; frowning; grimacing; gasping; mouth opening; mouth closing; removing the structure from the head of the user; adorning the head of the user with the structure; humming; vocalization gesture; or eyebrow raising."
Patent Claim #39 (in part): "A method for monitoring a user with a system that comprises a structure operative to be worn by a head of the user, a sensor assembly comprising a first subassembly coupled to the structure adjacent a first head portion of the head of the user when the structure is worn by the head of the user and a second subassembly coupled to the structure adjacent a second head portion of the head of the user that is different than the first head portion when the structure is worn by the head of the user.
Patent Claim #40: "The method of claim 39, wherein the identified characteristic of the user comprises at least one of the following: a gesture of the user; a biometric characteristic of the user; an emotion of the user; a thought of the user; or a brain function of the user.
To review the full 20 new patent claims, review Apple's patent application number 20210034145. You could review our original report Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.