Apple is looking to turn its Watch into a real health companion for the elderly. The company’s patent application for “Care event detection and alerts” describes a software-hardware solution that uses the Apple Watch to monitor user’s surrounding environment for so-called “care events,” which would require assistance from medical personnel, police, fire rescue or other emergency technicians. For instance, the Watch could be programmed to monitor a user’s heart for an arrhythmia and send out an alert to family or emergency responders when deemed necessary.
Another “trigger for action” could involve iPhone’s accelerometer detecting a sudden change in acceleration, while at the same time Apple Watch no longer detects a heart rate. At this point, the system might determine that a user has had a heart attack and is incapacitated. Similar examples could include car accidents, muggings and other events that can be quantified by onboard sensors.
Once one of these care events is detected, the system sends out alerts to a predefined list of recipients.Once one of these care events is detected, the system sends out alerts to a predefined list of recipients, dubbed the “care list” or “care circle,” which include family members, doctors and general emergency services.
The invention also includes a method of triage that escalates notifications based on severity before sending them out to the care list. for instance, a user’s spouse or a family member might be the first one to receive the alert, and if they don’t react – emergency services would be contacted.
It is unclear when Apple will officially launch this new offering, though. We do know that it first filed for the patent in September 2015 crediting Martha E. Hankey and James Foster as its inventors.