Apple is reportedly working to include “smell recognition capabilities” in some of its future iPhones and/or Apple Watch devices, according to a patent filing submitted by the Cupertino-based giant.
Specifically, Apple has been researching ways to detect air pollution and other dangerous chemicals with tiny sensors that could be integrated into its products. This in turn would enable owners of future iPhones and Apple Watches to detect things like spoiled food, body odor and perhaps even blood sugar levels.
The patent, entitled “Systems and Methods for Environment Sensing,” explains how the use of sensors could be coupled with an AI software to recognize smells associated with certain chemicals. It envision ionic liquid sensors being tuned to particular ranges and enclosed into a system on chip. It would work in tandem with an air-permeable layer to allow chemicals in the air to enter the system which would then gauge how much of a particular chemical is present in the air. The system would also have a heater to raise temperatures on the ionic liquid sensors to reverse any chemical reactions.
What could make this tech really cool is its ability to detect blood sugar levels by “sniffing the blood.” Doing this without drawing blood would be a game changer for diabetics, but it’s not an easy task and also something other researchers have tried for years — so far, we haven’t seen a single viable product enabling this capability.
For what it’s worth, this isn’t the first gas sensor Apple has considered so far. Earlier this year, the company filed for a patent for the technology that could be used for detecting carbon monoxide, ozone and other harmful chemicals.
But, as usual, the fact that there is a patent filing for some technology doesn’t mean we’ll actually see it appearing in a real-life product. So we’ll have to wait…