Apple has recently introduced the Apple Watch 8 and Apple Watch Ultra. They both come full to the brim with fitness and health features, but no blood pressure measurement ability. However, a new patent provides a hint as to how such a sensor for future Apple Watches could work.
The Apple blood pressure sensor is located inside the watch strap
The information was recently made public by the U.S. Trademark Office and first spotted by Patently Apple. The filing describes a non-invasive device that can be attached to the bracelet of an Apple smartwatch or worn as a separate cuff.
This device uses a series of non-inflatable sensor units to measure changes in a person’s blood pressure based on sound waves. These are then superimposed with the main pressure wave to obtain a final value.
This method is different from an older patent from Apple, which used an inflatable component. It is actually more akin to the pulse wave analysis used in Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 5 and Watch 5 Pro. Presumably the measurements will be on-demand, rather then continuous.
Much more convenient than a traditional blood pressure monitor
The inclusion of a blood pressure tracking system in future Apple Watches would be a significant step forward. Blood pressure is an important health indicator and regularly monitoring it can help individuals assess their risk of heart disease and stroke. Taking measurements is vital in the early detection, prevention and treatment of such conditions.
With a blood pressure measurement system built into their smartwatch, users would have an easy way of tracking their blood pressure on a daily basis. This would be many times more convenient than an upper arm blood pressure cuff.
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It is worth noting that Apple is not the only company working on incorporating a blood pressure measurement system into a smartwatch. Other major technology companies, such as Fitbit, are also rumoured to be developing similar capabilities for their wearable devices. And then there’s Rockley Photonics which is hard at work developing a miniature spectrometer-on-a-chip platform. It will reportedly be able to track blood pressure along with a host of other advanced metrics.
Then, of course, there’s Samsung. Some of their devices can take blood pressure readings but this doesn’t yet feel like a slick and polished solution.
As the market for smartwatches and wearable technology continues to grow, it is likely that we will see more and more devices with advanced health monitoring features. Blood pressure tracking from the wrist seems to be next to hit the masses.
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