It’s no secret that Apple is very interested in the health applications of its technology. The Apple Watch is capable of giving EKGs and detecting irregular heartbeats from the Apple Watch Series 4, and other health checks are said to be in progress in the Apple Watch 8.
Now a new patent, discovered by Appleinsider, shows how a future Apple Watch could measure blood pressure, without needing to attach one of those inflatable cuffs.
While wearable devices on the wrist are never mentioned, the Apple Watch would seem like the smarter destination. The patent, titled “Stretchable Blood Pressure Cuff”, discusses how a stretch band could secure an inflatable bladder against the body, “compress one or more blood vessels in the limb and restrict and / or stop blood flow through the vessels.” The resulting data could be “used to determine one or more physiological parameters of a user such as the user’s blood pressure”.
It would work via “a bladder assembly configured to retain fluid in an internal chamber”.
It sounds a little uncomfortable, but using a blood pressure cuff is at best as well. The advantage here is that you would not need any additional equipment, and as the patent explains “in some cases it may be desirable to wear the monitoring device for longer periods so that physiological measurements can be carried out periodically or continuously “.
Notably, Apple wouldn’t be the first company to introduce blood pressure monitoring, but this is the first time the device has looked like one found in a doctor’s office. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 introduced a feature to measure this, but when I tested it I was informed that I had to recalibrate it with a regular blood pressure cuff once a month to ensure its accuracy, which is invasive. in its own way.
Wrist blood pressure monitors exist, but not everyone is convinced that they are as accurate as an arm cuff. âTo get an accurate reading when taking your blood pressure with a wrist monitor, your arm and wrist should be at heart level,â writes Sheldon G. Sheps, MD on the Mayo Clinic website, as one AppleInsider commenter noted. âEven then, blood pressure readings taken at the wrist are generally higher and less accurate than those taken at the arm. This is because the arteries in the wrist are narrower and shallower under the skin than those in the upper arm.
There’s also the question of how Apple can build a strap that is both stretchy enough to compensate for a blood pressure bladder and appear unobtrusive, which could make or break functionality. But, as AppleInsider noted, patent details don’t seem millions of miles away from the Apple Watch 7 on a Leather Link bracelet:
A patent is only a patent, and there is no guarantee that it will ever be produced in a commercial product. But it’s still an interesting look at Apple’s possible solutions to make the Apple Watch a surrogate doctor on your wrist.