The Apple Watch is already one of the best smartwatches out there, featuring all the health and safety-related features, including heart rate monitoring and irregular heart rate alerts, fall detection, and more. But Apple wants to do more, and one of its patents reveals that the company wants to detect when a user is drowning and alert authorities in such cases.
Apple has filed a new patent with the USPTO [United States Patent and Trademark Office] which explains the idea of determining whether a user wearing a smart wearable device is drowning. The company plans to use a new sensor in the Apple Watch which could detect the volume of water. It could potentially detect if you are standing outside in rain or if you’ve fallen overboard from a ship into the water.
The patent talks about a sensor that could detect the difference between the volume of water reaching the watch. It could also take the information fro your calendar to see if you’re going for a swim or scuba diving through “anticipated context of use.” The sensor could also determine the properties of water such as its density or toxicity. The iPhone maker also claims that the device would be able to check maps to see if a user is inside a body of water such as a river, pond, lake or sea, and determine the next steps.
Once the user’s location, the body of water, and the context are identified, the Apple Watch could determine if the user is safe or not. Following these measurements, it could also use the watch’s cellular data to alert emergency services nearby and send them the user’s location. The sensor could also determine the presence of dangerous chemicals and pathogens in the water and warn the user and advise them to leave the water body.
The patent explains in detail as to how the company plans to use data such as water falling on the display as opposed to water underneath the watch. This way, the information could be used in a lot of ways for a lot of use cases. The company already packs an accelerometer, a compass, an ECG, a gyro, GPS, and a heart-rate monitor into the Apple Watch, and adding a water volume and toxicity sensor would only make it even better.
Apple’s patent shows that the company isn’t done improving its smartwatches yet. Although its watches are already one of the best in the industry, it wants to do more and equip them with as many sensors as possible, offering the Apple Watch as not only a fitness and activity measuring tool but also a safety measuring device.
With features such as irregular heart rate rhythm, fall detection, drown detection, panic attack detection, sleep tracking, and high noise detection, it could be a great device for the elderly and the kids. The company will reportedly introduce new features for kids such as Kids Mode and School Time with watchOS 7 in WWDC 2020.[Source: USPTO]