Apple may be looking to use the iPhone's camera to detect health data and measure physiological conditions.
The patent, entitled "Electronic Device That Computes Health Data," depicts an iPhone and its sensors being used to track blood hydration, body fat content, oxygen saturation, and many other health inputs. It says the new health-computing technology could be equipped to "a smart phone, tablet computer, mobile computer, digital media player, wearable device, or other electronic device" to detect health data "without making the user obtain access to a dedicated fitness and/or wellness device."
The filing also describes how a camera, an ambient light sensor, and a proximity sensor can work together to glean information on changes in blood from the user's touch. From there, the software would be able to analyze the blood data, specifically blood-volume, to compute health data on the user's pulse rate, "perfusion index," and more — enabling users to track information on areas such as heart function, body fat, and blood pressure.
Some of the technology may use "electrical contacts" for more advanced electrical measurements, with the filing mentioning health-detection capabilities ranging from electrocardiogram (ECG) readings to measuring a user's "emotional state."
Finally, we see that Apple plans to (obviously) integrate the data gathered into the HealthKit platform to turn iOS into a personal health record system.
Unfortunately though, we are clueless when any of this technology will be (or will it ever be) released to the general public, but are looking forward to learn more about it when the new iPhone launches later this year. Stay tuned in the meantime.