According to recent reports, Apple has filed a patent for what seems to be a Bluetooth-connected blood pressure monitor.
What makes the patent application of interest is how bland it seems to be: although it’s quite broad, what it apparently describes is nothing more than a marginal twist on the conventional inflatable measuring cuff, fitted into a wearable that could possibly be connected, might be somewhat smaller, and may perhaps feature a touchscreen.
It’s always better to take patent applications like this with a good dose of scepticism, particularly for a firm with a vast R&D budget, such as Apple. Many such businesses are run on a better-safe-than-sorry mindset, and many of their patents are never released as commercial products.
The latest Apple patent is nevertheless interesting for a number of reasons. First, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook once said that he was not interested in FDA-approved devices – and now Apple is involved in the FDA Pre-Cert programme.
The option of fast-tracking certain gadgets might change the firm’s views on whether FDA hardware is worthwhile or not.
Also, Apple has now filed at least three patents that relate to blood pressure, so the area definitely interests them.
In August, it registered a patent for measuring someone’s blood pressure index using the ambient light sensor, front-facing camera or a special built-in electrode. Two months later, it registered a patent that suggests using photo-plethysmogram sensors and an accelerometer worn on the wrist to gauge blood pressure based on the pulse transit time.
Those two patents were originally filed in 2015. The new one was filed last year.
The news comes after a hectic week at the firm’s yearly WWDC developer’s meeting. Although healthcare did not feature prominently, there was nevertheless a fair amount of news on this topic coming out.