Apple has filed a patent for a seamlessly embedded heart monitor in what looks like an iPhone or iPod touch. The main purpose of the integration appears to be for authorization purposes. Using specific algorithms an EKG tracing can be used to identify individuals. The patent also states that the embedded monitor can be used to predict a user’s mood, a feature of which we’re a bit skeptical.
From the patent:
This is directed to an electronic device having an integrated sensor for detecting a user’s cardiac activity and cardiac electrical signals. The electronic device can include a heart sensor having several leads for detecting a user’s cardiac signals. The leads can be coupled to interior surfaces of the electronic device housing to hide the sensor from view, such that electrical signals generated by the user can be transmitted from the user’s skin through the electronic device housing to the leads. In some embodiments, the leads can be coupled to pads placed on the exterior of the housing. The pads and housing can be finished to ensure that the pads are not visibly or haptically distinguishable on the device, thus improving the aesthetic qualities of the device. Using the detected signals, the electronic device can identify or authenticate the user and perform an operation based on the identity of the user. In some embodiments, the electronic device can determine the user’s mood from the cardiac signals and provide data related to the user’s mood.
Mood ring features aside, having a heart rate monitor could be an interesting addition to Apple’s devices. Exercise enthusiasts can use it to effortlessly monitor their heart rate. Biofeedback apps would most likely proliferate like wildfire. Apps could possibly become available that could diagnose more straightforward arrhythmia’s like atrial fibrillation, heart block, premature ventricular contractions (PVCs), and ventricular tachycardia. The legal liabilities for applications like these would be an interesting discussion.
At this rate, Apple may not be too far off from developing the iTricorder.
Link to the patent…
(Hat tip: Engadget)