Apple Invents a new Differential Piezoelectric Sensor that Monitors Biological Vibrations for a future Beddit Sleep Monitoring system
Apple acquired Beddit who invented a sleep monitoring system in May 2017. Then two years later Patently Apple covered a new patent application revealing a plan to advance Beddit's sleep monitoring system. The report was titled "Apple's work with Smart Bedding Systems is ongoing and it may Lead to a Specific Sleep Tracking App for Apple Watch."
Below is an old news report on Apple's acquisition of Beddit.
Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that relates to Beddit's sleep monitoring system. Considering that the patent application was filed two years after Apple acquired the company, the new filing adds Apple specific additions to the original Beddit monitoring system.
For the record, four of the six inventors listed on the patent are on Apple's Health team.
Erno Klaassen: Director, Health Technologies (8-year veteran)
Yindar Chuo: Tech Lead | Health Technologies
Ali Amin: Senior R&D Engineer | Health Technologies
Timothy Weadon: R&D Scientist (worked on Beddit Sleep Monitor and Apple Watch 4). Weadon came to Apple from TE Connectivity where he was a Materials Scientist.
Two of the other inventors moved on. One health team member Zijing Zeng moved back to China to work with Oppo. One engineer from Beddit moved on to MuRata.
Patently Apple covered the original Beddit patent that we found in Europe and there's no mention of the monitoring of biological vibrations that is now being revealed in Apple's patent filing today.
Apple notes in their latest filing that the described patent embodiments relate generally to an on-bed differential piezoelectric sensor, or to a sensor system including such a sensor. The sensor or sensor system can be used on a bed or elsewhere to sense vibrations, including sounds. The sensed vibrations or sounds may include biological vibrations or sounds made by a user, such as heart vibrations or sounds, lung vibrations or sounds, nasal vibrations or sounds, or digestive vibrations or sounds.
In a first aspect, the present patent application describes a sensor system that includes a sensor stack, a differential amplifier, an analog-to-differential converter, and a processor.
The sensor stack may include a piezoelectric material having a first side opposing a second side, a first electrode connected to the first side, and a second electrode connected to the second side.
The differential amplifier may be coupled to the first and second electrodes and be configured to generate a differential output indicative of vibrations sensed by the piezoelectric material.
The analog-to-differential converter may be configured to digitize the differential output.
The processor may be configured to identify a type of biological vibration included in the digitized differential output.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 shows an example of a sensor system that may be used to sense biological vibrations; FIG. 2 shows an alternative embodiment of the vibration sensor described with reference to FIG. 1.
Apple's patent FIG. 5 shows an example embodiment of various components included in the sensor system; and FIG. 9 illustrates a method of monitoring biological vibrations of a user.
For finer details, review Apple's patent application number 20210041287. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of any advancement presented in the filing being added to the Beddit system is unknown at this time.