Apple files patent for electronic health device

Apple have continued its push into the medical device sector by filing for a patent for a new electronic health device.

The device is intended to monitor users’ health information and consists of a number of sensors that use light to assess the person’s health data.

Information that the device intends to monitor includes blood hydration, oxygen saturation, pulse rate, perfusion index, body fat, heart activity and columetric measurements of organs.

The patent also states that the device may communicate with a healthcare professional who will maintain a database of health information.

As the device requires users coming into contact with light, the patent accounts for differences in the pigmentation of hair. It states: “dark and light hairs may have different light absorption due to their different pigmentation regardless of their other physical characteristics. By averaging light absorption detected utilizing both infrared and red light, a more accurate light absorption that accounts for such color difference may be possible such that detecting light absorption of different colored hairs does not result in inaccurate measurements.”

Judging by the images of the patent filing, the device will utilise sensors built into mobile devices to assess users’ health metrics. It’s interesting then how Apple will navigate the FDA approval process as the company has previously stated it wishes to avoid FDA regulation.

In regards to the company’s Apple Watch for example, Tim Cook said: “We don’t want to put the watch through the FDA process. I wouldn’t mind putting something adjacent to the watch through it, but not the watch, because it would hold us back from innovating too much, the cycles are too long. But you can begin to envision other things that might be adjacent to it — maybe an app, maybe something else.”

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