eHealth News, South Africa

Apple Hints at Wearable Heart Monitor

Tech giant, Apple, has filed a patent application for a wearable device that could be used to record electrocardiographic (ECG) signals.

Apple - EHN

Tech giant, Apple, has filed a patent application for a wearable device that could be used to record electrocardiographic (ECG) signals.

In the patent, Apple describes a wearable device that monitors a person’s ECG measurements, as well as an accompanying enrolment process in which the device would be calibrated and adjusted to suit an individual’s body, ensuring accuracy.

Two separate electrodes could be placed on different parts of the body, and their position would be determined (by the device) using the earlier calibrations. This process, according to the patent, ensures the accuracy of ECG readings, regardless of the position of the wearable device.

The patent comes after an article in the Economic Daily News which claims that Apple has been working with Taiwanese technology developers and manufacturers for two years developing a new product that would measure heart rate, blood sugar and other health-related data.

In addition, the report suggested that Apple’s pressure sensing 3D Touch technology, found in the iPhone 6s, will play a crucial role in the new health product.

The patent filing suggests that the device could take the form of a ring, brooch or watch, with the sole purpose of monitoring a person’s heart – regardless of where it is worn on the body.

Apple CEO, Tim Cook, recently spoke with Fast Company about Apple’s healthcare strategy. While Cook didn’t mention the ECG wearable, he noted that the company was looking at different areas of healthcare.

“We started looking at wellness, that took us to pulling a string to thinking about research, pulling that string a little further took us to some patient-care stuff, and that pulled a string that’s taking us into some other stuff,” said Cook.

In the last few years, Apple has made big splashes in the healthcare industry with the releases of ResearchKit, an open-source platform for medical professionals and researchers to gather anonymous data on users and most recently, CareKit, a framework designed to allow developers to create health apps that enable people to actively manage their medical conditions.

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