Apple Invents Packaging Technologies for Temperature Sensing in Health Care Devices like future AirPods & Apple Watch Bands
Yesterday Patently Apple posted a report titled "Apple's VP of Technology talked about Health Sensors on Apple Watch and possibly AirPods in the future in new interview." In that report we pointed to several patents describing health related sensors for future AirPods. Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published yet another patent application from Apple on this subject matter of health sensor for future AirPods titled "Packaging Technologies for Temperature Sensing in Health Care Products."
In Apple's patent background they note that wearable health devices are increasingly integrating a broad variety of sensors to better monitor heath status of users. With the development of packaging technologies such as system in package, embedded die, semiconductor very-large-scale integration (VLSI) technologies and so on it has become possible to develop miniaturized systems and devices. Skin temperature is one of the vital signs for patient's health.
Apple's invention covers temperature sensor packages, methods of fabrication, and products incorporating such packages. For example, the temperature sensor packages may be secured within (e.g., within a housing) of a portable electronic device like AirPods, or secured to a fabric of a wearable device.
The temperature sensor packages may be characterized as suitable for touch or non-contact temperature sensing. In some embodiments, touch sensing configurations may be characterized as having a back side electrically conductive sensor pattern, where the electrically conductive sensor pattern is over a back side of a chip (e.g. controller chip for the package).
In some embodiments, the touch sensing configurations may be characterized as having a front side electrically conductive sensor pattern, where the where the electrically conductive sensor pattern on a front side of the chip. In some embodiments, a non-contact temperature sensor package may include an embedded transducer.
Apple's patent FIGS. 24-26 below illustrate various wearable health devices in which the various embodiments can be implemented. These illustrations are intended to be exemplary and non-exhaustive implementations. FIGS. 24-25 are schematic side view illustrations of portable electronic devices such as AirPods (#2400) in accordance with embodiments that include a housing (#2402) and one or more temperature sensor packages (#100).
For example, an IR temperature sensor package (#100) can be aligned with an opening (#2410) in the housing for non-contact temperature sensing. Specifically, an optical window may be aligned with opening (#2410).
Apple's patent FIG. 26 above is a rough schematic side view illustration of a wearable device (#2600) in which a temperature sensor package (#100) is secured within a fabric (#2602). For example, the fabric can be integrated into a piece of clothing such as shirt, headband, glove, strap, Apple Watch band etc.
Apple's patent application number 20210181039 is highly technical and one that engineers and super-geeks will better appreciate.
Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.