Apple Files Patent for Health-Tracking Band

October 13, 2019

The tech company is seeking to provide consumers with device that tracks blood pressure, respiration rate, ECG signals.

Apple’s next health move could be smart clothing, according to a report by MobiHealthNews.

Last year, the tech giant filed a patent for a stretchable fabric band that could include circuitry sensors to measure blood pressure, respiration rate and electrocardiography, or ECG, signals.  

According to MobiHealthNews, the patent application describes a fabric-based piece of clothing that would be able to wirelessly communicate with external electronic equipment.

It’s undecided what the stretchable band would look like, however, the patent gave examples of potential use cases including a headband, hat, undergarments, socks, pants, shorts, and belt.

The authors of the patent noted that the technology would be able to withstand being laundered. 

Apple has been positioning itself further into the healthcare arena in recent years, the report says.

Apple’s biggest move in the space came last year when the company announced that it received FDA clearance for both an atrial fibrillation-detecting algorithm and an ECG sensor built into the Series 4 Apple Watch.

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Now, Apple has a number of patents emerging.

In the spring the US Patent and Trademark Office published two new related patents from Apple that suggests the company might be working on chemical sensors, which could have a variety of uses within health.

One of the patents suggests that by analyzing sweat particles in the air, the sensor could check blood sugar levels

This most recent patent isn’t the first time Apple set its sights on blood pressure monitoring, as last year Apple filed a patent application for a wearable blood pressure monitor, the report by MobiHealthNews says.

Additionally, the company was granted a patent for a technique for detecting blood pressure index employing the front-facing camera, the ambient light sensor, the proximity sensor or a special electrode built into the device.

However, this interest dates back to 2015 when another patent application was filed, this one using wrist-worn accelerometer and photo-plethysmogram sensors to calculate a blood pressure value from the pulse transit time.