We know Apple has big plans in the healthcare space, sleep being one of the areas where it is looking for opportunities. To that end, the iPhone maker has scooped up Finland’s Beddit in 2017, but that apparently was just a start.
The company has recently filed a patent for a method to more accurately determine when someone is asleep, using multiple devices (rather than just one device) as sources of data. Specifically, Apple wants to leverage the existing smart devices the user has in his/her home to make better analysis, predictions and so on. For instance, when a smart fridge has been opened, it could signal to the system that the user is awake.
Furthermore, the patent envisions smart wearables transmitting user data to other smart devices to identify users, even if they don’t “use” that particular smart device. So if a user wears a smartwatch and walks into the kitchen, the watch could send identification information to the smart refrigerator, which would then report to a primary device that the user is in the kitchen. This, in turn, would imply that the user is “not likely to be sleeping in the kitchen near [the] smart refrigerator,” the patent says.
The patent goes on to describe how sensors on primary devices could be used to collect users’ unique sound data — like walking, breathing, talking, or snoring — to recognize who is performing a certain activity. The technology would be able to distinguish between conscious human sounds from the noise, such as “when a human brushes her teeth, turns on a water faucet, takes a shower, or flushes the toilet.”
From what we can tell, the technology Apple envisions in its patent is still some 3-5 years away, but the good thing is that Cook & Co. are thinking about it now. When most of us get smart appliances in our homes, they will be ready to offer us the solution that will not only bring all those devices into a unified system but will also add extra value by making them work together to the benefit of the user. In that sense, we like where this goes.