TECH

Apple is looking not only at health, but also at a large set of future Apple Watch sensors

Apple Watch already has a lot of health sensors, but now they may seek to measure more

Apple is exploring what other sensors can be installed in the Apple Watch, especially those not related to health.

It's an almost inevitable combination – Apple Watch sensors are health sensors. Since Apple shifted its Apple Watch marketing from fashion to health benefits, Apple has also doubled down on its focus on fitness and medical devices.

Maybe it's because he's done the best he can with modern technology, or maybe he's had enough of being sued by medical firms. Two recently published patent applications show that the Apple Watch could be equipped with sensors such as:

  • anemometer
  • bolometer
  • heat flow sensor
  • solar radiation
  • thermometer
  • water sensor

An anemometer measures air speed and wind direction, and a bolometer measures radiant heat. Both the heat flow sensor and thermometer measure heat levels.

One of the recently published patent applications, “Electronic devices with anemometers”, apparently focuses on the first of the possible sensors. And this provides an explanation for why someone would want their Apple Watch to know whether it's a windy day or not.

A lot can be determined by how long it takes metal to cool

For example, air speed may be used in conjunction with fitness applications (e.g., calculating a user's power output during wind training),” the patent application states, “[and] measuring and/or forecasting weather, measuring temperature, and/or other desired features.”

This patent application clearly states that the proposal may be applicable to any electronic device. But most of the example descriptions and all illustrations are for Apple Watch.

Another recently published patent application is broader. “Electronic devices with multifunctional environmental sensors” even indicates its essence in the name – it is about adding sensors to many different devices. However, again, the few illustrations are mostly of the Apple Watch.

Both also use the same language, implying that “it may be difficult to incorporate some environmental sensors into an electronic device where space is limited.” “such as the Apple Watch. Space constraints may be why Apple chooses these four types of sensors – because they all work the same.

With slight variations, each of the six sensors depends on the heating and cooling of the metal.

“To perform one or more of these measurements,” the multi-function patent application states, “a layer of metal may be attached to the body of the device, or a metal strand may be included in the mesh.” which covers one or more components, such as a speaker or microphone, within an electronic device.”

“A layer or strand of metal can be heated to a known temperature,” he continues, “and the temperature of the metal falling back to its equilibrium temperature can indicate the speed of the air.”

“A reference resistor may be used to measure the ambient temperature, and the decrease in metal temperature can be compared to the decrease in temperature of the reference resistor,” the patent states. “If desired, a layer or strands of metal can be used to detect solar radiation and/or the presence of water.”

The two patent applications belong to a total of four inventors, three of whom are named in both.

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