Apple wants your pillow to monitor your health while you are asleep

A new patent has highlighted Apple’s extensive journey into the smart health market.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer

Apple has acquired a new patent which describes technology able to monitor your health conditions while you are asleep outside of a standard mobile device or smart watch.

As spotted by Patently Apple, a patent registered by the European Patent Office (EPO) reveals the acquisition of a design from Tueo Health Inc.

The patent describes methods and means which can monitor an individual's chronic medical conditions which are non-invasive, such as through pillows or sensors placed underneath a mattress.  

Apple's patent focuses on ways to measure one or more physiological parameters. One or more sensors may be in use, and data collected from the sensors "is then transmitted to a processor for computing a risk or status signal that is based on comparison from a baseline related to a patient or related population," according to the publication.

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If the information generated suggests there is a problem, alerts or alarms can then sound or be used to make medical professionals aware of a patient's physiological changes.

It is also suggested in the patent that sensors can be modified to take into account other people in the bed at the time of monitoring to prevent confused, inaccurate readings or the wrong individual being monitored.

Apple acquired Beddit, a sleep tracker firm, in 2017. The device slots between your sheets and mattress to measure activity such as the total time you are asleep or your resting heart rate.

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It is possible that in the same way that the Apple Watch was improved over time with electrocardiogram (ECG) functionality to give users the option to keep an eye on their heart rate that the Beddit sleep tracker may, one day, also be bolstered with other health-related functions due to the acquisition of this patent.

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The new patent application was published this month by EPO. As with many other patents, there is no definite time in which technologies built upon this IP will enter the market. 

However, given Apple's dedicated push into the smart health arena, it does not seem implausible that the iPad and iPhone maker will decide to create health monitoring products or services beyond mobile devices or apps.

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