A patent filed by Apple suggests the tech giant is investigating integrate health monitoring technology into clothing. Last year Apple filed a patent for a stretchable fabric band that could include sensors to measure blood pressure, blood sugar, ECG and respiration rate. Additional fitness-orientated measurements may include activity and step count.
The patent application was published on October 3. It describes a soft, stretchable band potentially designed to be woven into fabric, and would be able to wirelessly communicate with external electronic equipment.
Since the patent indicates the band will connect wirelessly to another device, it could mean a future iPhone or Apple Watch.
Evidence also points to the band’s touch-sensitive sections for user control, and also the potential for voice control through a microphone.
It’s not clear what this band would look like, but the potential use cases include a hat, a headband, pants, undergarments, socks, shorts and belt, according to the patent. The band would also be washable, noted the authors of the patent.
As Apple is trying to establish foothold in the healthcare space, so far, the company’s biggest achievement in this arena has been receiving FDA clearance for detecting atrial fibrillation and ECG in Apple Watch Series 4. Now all eyes are on the company to see where it is looking next, reports MobiHealthNews.
A number of patents from Apple are continually emerging. In April, Apple filed a patent that indicated that the company might be working on smell sensors for a variety of uses within healthcare. One such patent points to a sensor that could monitor blood sugar levels by analyzing sweat particles in the air. According to that patent, two sensors would work together: One would use lights and photodetectors to see particles in the air and the other would be an array of ionic liquid sensors that could actually detect smells. The device could get help from machine learning algorithm to distinguish between different smells.