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September 28, 2019

Apple patents Apple Watch bands for skin texture ID & more

We have been keeping an eye on Apple patents and sharing with all of you since a long time now. In the beginning of this month, as per ‘Patently Apple’ Apple has submitted details to the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) about its new patent for the Apple Watch. An interesting trio of patents were registered including LED progress indicator, customised band width and the most exciting is the skin texture authentication method.

  1. Skin texture authentication feature-

This patent speaks about a kind of ‘Wrist ID’ in the form of a biometric sensor constructed in the band of the Apple Smart Watch, which would identify you without any PIN or lock but through your skin texture.

‘’A wearable electronic device may include a device body and a device band coupled to the device body for securing the device to a wrist of a user. The wearable electronic device may also include a wrist biometric sensor carried by one of the device body and the device band. The wrist biometric sensor may include biometric sensing pixels. The wearable electronic device may also include a processor coupled to the wrist biometric sensor and configured to cooperate with the biometric sensing pixels to acquire skin texture pattern images from adjacent portions of the user’s wrist, and perform at least one authentication function based upon the skin texture pattern images.’’

It further talks about how thermal sensors would in the band would identify skin patterns and hair patterns of the wrist as well-

‘’More particularly, skin texture cracks are generally warmer than the surrounding skin, and hair is cooler than the surrounding skin. By using an IR thermal image sensor as the wrist biometric sensor, hair can be distinguished, thermally, from skin texture cracks by temperature.’’

  1. LED Progress Indicator-

‘’An electronic device can include an indicator to convey information to a user. Example indicators include an analog display, a digital display, or a status light. An indicator is typically viewable from a top side or a front face of the electronic device. However, in many cases, the information conveyed to a user by an indicator is confidential or private information that the user may not prefer to be readily viewable or understandable to persons nearby. Further, certain electronic devices such as wearable electronic devices may be generally more readily viewable to persons nearby while also incorporating indicators intended to convey especially private health, medical, or fitness information.’’

With this second patent, the wearer’s activity being tracked by the watch would be displayed on the band itself. For instance. If your goal to complete X number of steps in a day is yet to be completed, it will be indicated on the watch band. It doesn’t sound too useful to us though but it paves a way for future Apple Watches to potentially indicate sensitive or alarming health situations.

  1. Customised tightening bands

The third really helpful patent granted to Apple provide wearers a customized band fit using a dynamic fit adjustment system. It’s a self – tightening band which adjusts its size depending on wearer’s location or activity.

‘’In many cases, watch bands may have limited fit adjustment increments available. For example, some bands have an incrementally user-adjustable size (e.g., a buckling clasp, pin and eyelet, etc.) whereas other bands have a substantially fixed size, adjustable only with specialized tools and/or expertise (e.g., folding clasp, deployment clasp, snap-fit clasp, etc.). Still other bands may be elasticated expansion-type bands that stretch to fit around a user’s wrist. In many cases, conventional watch bands may catch, pinch, or pull a user’s hair or skin during use if the band is overly tight. In other cases, watch bands may slide along a user’s wrist, turn about a user’s wrist, or may be otherwise uncomfortable or bothersome to a user if the band is overly loose. These problems can be exacerbated during periods of heightened activity, such as while running or playing sports. Systems and methods for dynamically adjusting the fit of a wearable electronic device are disclosed. In many embodiments, a tensioner associated with a wearable electronic device can control one or more actuators that are mechanically coupled to either the housing or to a band attached to the wearable electronic device. In one example, in response to a signal to increase the tightness of the band, the tensioner can cause the actuator(s) to increase the tension within the band.’’

So finally, we might have with us a snug fit watch band, reliable for monitoring heart rate. The Apple Watch band is not merely elasticated but motorized.

No one knows the development stage of these patents. We just hope all three of them get through to reach us in the end.


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