Watch gets healthier
Apple files patent for technology that can detect heart defects and other related issues
Apple patents sensorbased pressure monitor.
Apple Watch may one day include technology that will enable it to measure your blood pressure and detect heart defects, according to a patent filed with the US Patent & Trade Office (USPTO).
Normally when having your blood pressure measured, you or your doctor use a gauge that inflates a cuff to temporarily cut off circulation through an artery, before monitoring the rate at which blood flow resumes when the cuff is slowly deflated. The technology described by Apple’s patent does away with that.
The patent for a “Wrist Worn Accelerometer for Pulse Transmit Time (PTT) Measurements of Blood Pressure” describes how a device, such as Apple Watch, could be fitted with an accelerometer, a photoplethysmogram (PPG), or a pulse pressure sensor to detect that blood flow, and so enable you and your physician to routinely monitor your heart using data gathered by the device. To take your blood pressure you’ll simply hold a Watch containing the accelerometer against your chest to detect your heartbeat, and the existing heart rate sensor in the Watch will detect the pulse in your wrist. The difference between the two – the Pulse Transmit Time (PTT) – is then used to calculate your blood pressure and whether you have, or are at risk of, developing heart problems now or in the future.
The patent application has been made possible thanks to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is working on a pilot program with Apple and nine other tech companies to fast-track mobile innovations like this one.
Interestingly, the illustrations that accompany Apple’s patent filing show the accelerometer and the PPG sensor as being located in the Watch’s strap rather than the main housing, which points to all kinds of exciting possibilities for smart straps making Apple Watch even more capable than it is now.
Apple Watch already measures your pulse.
Apple Watch is already popular for monitoring fitness.