Apple has had a new patent published at the US Patent & Trademark Office, which suggests the smartwatch maker is exploring ways it can monitor health data more reliably from the wrist.
The continuation patent, which relates to Apple updating or adding to a specific technology, outlines a watch band that features a tightness sensor. When that band and sensor is coupled with a processing unit it can provide a strain gauge that is able to indicate the tightness of the band.
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The idea is that if the band is not tight enough to take a biometric reading from the skin, the user will be prompted to adjust the band until a reliable reading can be taken. That strain gauge would be positioned in between where the band attaches to the casing and would be able to measure that strain in multiple directions.
Image credit: Patently Apple
It also suggests the feature would be able to determine the difference between the band bending as opposed to sitting around the wrist as to not pick up any false readings when band isn't trying to monitor data.
There's no indication in the patent of what type of health data the band would be most beneficial for. We already know that taking accurate heart rate data from the wrist using the optical sensor technology that Apple and others do is reliant on having the sensor in good contact with the skin.
Apple has already sought to make its heart rate tech on the Watch more reliable with the inclusion of ECG on the Series 4. But the idea of Watch band that can help identify whether a good reading is being taken would have its clear benefits for health and fitness purposes.
Now, we always say that patents pop up all the time, many of which never see the light of day. But there seems to be something more tangible about this particular idea, especially when Apple is make bigger moves into the serious health monitoring space. A feature like this could well open the door for Apple to offer even more advanced tracking that, crucially, users can rely on.
Source: Patently Apple