Apple is seeking to incorporate deeper fitness and health monitoring into its devices with two newly revealed patent applications.
Apple’s wearable devices may soon track every movement for improved fitness and health monitoring
The first, “Posture Transition Detection and Classification Using Linked Biomechanical Model,” filed in September 2021, seeks to detect a change in posture by using motion sensors in Apple’s mobile devices to determine whether users have stood up or sat down, to use the data in head pose tracking, fitness and health monitoring.
The second patent application, “Full Body Pose Estimation through Feature Extraction from Multiple Wearable Devices,” filed in 2022, aims to provide a more accurate full-body skeletal model that can track a user’s movements in detail. Apple plans to use multiple sensors, including cameras and inertial sensors, placed at different locations on a user’s body or clothing to create a distributed sensing system.
The two patents are concerned with creating a way to connect the data that already exists from the sensors in Apple’s mobile devices and wearables. With this technology, Apple aims to build a more accurate picture of users’ fitness levels and map their location in a room better. By knowing a user’s entire body position, Apple could alert users to real or virtual obstacles, helping visually impaired people navigate the real world.
Both patents describe a broad range of applications for fitness and health monitoring, including detecting if a person has fallen down or is sick, autonomous teaching of proper workout regimes, and even detecting full-body sign languages, such as airport runway signals or traffic policeman signals.
Apple’s push into fitness and health monitoring has been ongoing, with technology such as accelerometers in the Apple Watch that can detect when a user is walking or running. The company recently applied for a patent for a camera on the Apple Watch that could detect movement.
Apple’s goal is to provide a more comprehensive picture of a user’s physical activity, which could have health benefits for users. With the company’s focus on health and wellness, this technology could play a key role in future iterations of Apple’s devices. However, as with any technology that gathers personal data, there are concerns about privacy and security. Apple will need to be transparent with users about the data it is collecting and how it is being used to gain trust and ensure that the data is not misused.