Two new Health related patents from Apple cover analyzing the Gait and detecting the Aerobic Capacity of athletically minded users
Yesterday the US Patent & Trademark Office published two patent applications relating to Apple's work on features for monitoring a user's health. Our report focuses on one of the patents relating to systems, methods and techniques for electronically monitoring a user's health by analyzing their gait. Apple's invention is more applicable to those that are athletically minded.
Human gaits are the various ways in which a human can move, either naturally or as a result of specialized training. Human gait is defined as bipedal, biphasic forward propulsion of the center of gravity of the human body, in which there are alternate sinuous movements of different segments of the body with least expenditure of energy. Different gait patterns are characterized by differences in limb-movement patterns, overall velocity, forces, kinetic and potential energy cycles, and changes in the contact with the ground.
According to Apple, benefits of this invention is to assist users determine the characteristics of their gait more accurately. Based on this information, computing devices can determine the physical health of a patient and monitor the patient's health over time. In some implementations, this also enables computing devices to identity health conditions associated with a user, and in response, take appropriate actions to address those conditions.
In one aspect, Apple's invention covers a method which includes obtaining, at a computing device, sensor data generated by one or more accelerometers and one or more gyroscopes over a time period. The sensor data includes an acceleration signal indicative of an acceleration measured by the one or more accelerometers over a time period, and an orientation signal indicative of an orientation measured by the one or more gyroscopes over the time period.
The one or more accelerometers and the one or more gyroscopes are physically coupled to a user walking along a surface. The method also includes identifying, by the computing device, one or more portions of the sensor data based on one or more criteria; and determining, by the computing device, characteristics regarding a gait of the user based on the one or more portions of the sensor data, where the characteristics include a walking speed of the user and an asymmetry of the gait of the user.
Apple's patent FIG. 2A below is a diagram showing example positions of a mobile device on a user's body. More specifically, the User (#200) can position a mobile device (#100, an iPad) at a location (#202a) along their thigh. This could correspond, for example, to the user placing the mobile device (an iPhone) in an in the pocket of a pair of pants, dress, skirt, shorts, jacket, coat, shirt, or other article of clothing.
As a second example, a user can position a mobile device at location (#202b) along their hip. This could correspond, for example, to the user placing the mobile device on a hip-secured support structure, such as a belt clip or hip holster; Orientations 204a and 204b can refer, for example, to a vector projecting from a top of the device (e.g., the y-axis shown in FIG. 2B).
In some implementations, the mobile device can be positioned asymmetrically on the user's body with respect to the user's left and right directions (e.g., with respect to a center plane, such as a sagittal plane). For example, the mobile device can be positioned closer to a right side of his body than his left side, or vice versa.
Apple's patent FIG. 3 above is a diagram showing an example acceleration signal with respect to example phases of walking; FIG. 5 below is a diagram showing an example process for estimating an acceleration experienced by a mobile device with respect to a fixed frame of reference.
Apple's patent FIG. 11 above is a diagram of another example process for estimating the walking speed of a user and/or other metrics regarding a gait of the user.
For athletes or those in fields related to athletic medical clinics that want to explore more of the details behind Apple's patent application 20210393166, click here.
Electronic Devices with Improved Aerobic Capacity Detection
Apple's second health-related patent application published yesterday is titled "Electronic Devices with Improved Aerobic Capacity Detection."
Apple's patent abstract: "One or more electronic device may use motion and/or activity sensors to estimate a user's maximum volumetric flow of oxygen, or VO.sub.2 max. In particular, although a correlation between heart rate and VO.sub.2 max may be linear at high heart rate levels, there is not a linear correlation at lower heart rate levels. Therefore, for users without extensive workout data, the motion sensors and activity sensors may be used to determine maximum calories burned by the user, workout data, including heart rate data, and body metric data. Based on these parameters, a personalized relationship between the user's heart rate and oxygen pulse (which is a function of VO.sub.2) may be determined, even with a lack of high intensity workout data. In this way, a maximum heart rate and therefore a VO.sub.2 max value may be approximated for the user."
Click here to review patent application 20210393162.