Apple wins a Major Apple Watch Patent that supports Face ID and Sports Performance Analysis via in-band Sensors
Today the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially granted Apple a patent that relates to a possible future Apple Watch supporting Face ID and specialty embedded sensors integrated into an all-new watch band that supports sport performance analysis like gripping sports equipment such as a baseball bat, football, golf club and weights and more. Earlier this month Bloomberg posted a rumor report pointing to Apple considering an Apple Watch for extreme sports. While today's patent isn't necessarily for "extreme" sports, it does relate to Apple's focus on bringing features to assist sports enthusiasts.
Apple's granted patent covers systems and methods that can include analysis and feedback to a user regarding the user's performance (e.g., sports performance), noise reduction and/or cancellation, hydration detection for prolonged EMG sensor longevity, and user identification such as Face ID with FIG. 3 below illustrating the integration of a camera for Apple Watch.
In the big picture, Apple's newly published invention relates to systems and methods for determining the axial orientation and location of the user's wrist. The axial orientation and location can be determined using one or more sensors located on the band, the device underbody, or both.
For example, the band can include a plurality of elastic sections and a plurality of rigid sections. Each elastic section can include one or more flex sensors. The flex sensors can be sensors configured to generate one or more signals indicative of the expansion or contractions of the user's wrist due to extension or tension, for example.
In some examples, on or more electromyography (EMG) sensors can be included to measure the user's electrical signals, and the user's muscle activity can be determined. Measurements from the EMG sensors can be used in conjunction with one or more other sensor measurements, such as PPG sensor measurements, to determine one or more user characteristics.
Apple's patent FIG. 4B presented below illustrates a perspective view of an Apple Watch having a band including one or more electrodes embedded at least partially within one or more elastic sections; Apple's patent FIG. 4C presented below illustrates a perspective view of an Apple Watch having a band that can include strain gauge sensors according to examples of the disclosure.
Apple's patent FIG. 5 above presents an exemplary method for providing analysis and feedback to a user regarding the user's sports performance
Apple Watch Band with Embedded Sensors
Apple's patent FIG. 7A presented below illustrates a perspective view of an Apple Watch having a band that can include capacitive and EMG sensors; FIG. 7B illustrates an Apple Watch band that can include capacitive and sensors and a plurality of elastic sections.
On Hydration detection, Apple notes that in some examples, capacitance sensors #718 (FIGS. 7A/B) can be used for hydration (e.g., water and/or sweat) detection for prolonged EMG sensor longevity. When the capacitance sensors detect the hydration, the Apple Watch can disable or deactivate EMG sensors #738 to prevent from corrosion of the EMG sensors when subject to hydration.
The device can optionally inform the user of the hydration conditions and can ask the user to dry the EMG sensors. When the capacitance sensors detect a level of hydration less than a predetermined level, the controller or processor can allow activation of EMG sensors.
For more details, check out granted patent 11,045,117.