Apple, like many tech companies, applies for a countless number of patents each week. The vast majority of the time, these don’t amount to anything. Sometimes, though, the inventions they present are at least interesting to consider, if only to get a sense of the ideas that’ve been considered within the company.
One of its most recent applications, published Thursday, is a good example. Titled “Method of detecting the wearing limb of a wearable electronic device,” the application (not grant) details a wearable device that could acquire and process a person’s electrocardiographic (or, EKG) signals, and uses “enrollment procedure” that could help it measure potential differences in those signals if it’s worn at different points on the body.
The application dates back to April 15, and was spotted by Patently Apple earlier Thursday. It lists Sorin Dusan as its inventor. According to
his LinkedIn profile, Dusan has been a senior digital signal processing engineer at Apple since 2011.
Apple’s existing wearable, the Apple Watch, already has a built-in heart rate monitor, but its readings are more basic than the kind of medical-grade measurements you can receive from EKG devices.
Business Insider has previously reported on the
Kardia Band, a pending Apple Watch accessory that would allow users to take EKG measurements from their Watch band. That device is still awaiting clearance from the FDA, a process Apple has generally avoided with the Watch, but would have to go through if the tech described in this application were to ever become reality.
The spotting of the application comes a couple days after a report from Taiwan’s Economic Daily News claimed that Apple is working on a health-centric wearable that’s separate from the Apple Watch.
Again, though, you shouldn’t make any direct correlations between this application and speculation like that. Whether or not we actually see an Apple wearable with advanced heart-monitoring tech is still very much unclear. Instead, look at it as another reminder of Apple’s continued interest in the health space.