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Apple's future iPhones could recognize a user by their heartbeat

post #1 of 44
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A new embedded security method in a future iPhone could lock out unauthorized users who do not have an identified "cardiac signal," measured through a heart sensor in the hardware.

A new Apple patent application, entitled "Seamlessly Embedded Heart Rate Monitor," was revealed by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office this week. It describes a hidden, built-in iPhone sensor that would detect a user's heartbeat when the phone is picked up. That biometric data can be used to identify an individual.

"For example, the durations of particular portions of a user's heart rhythm, or the relative size of peaks of a user's electrocardiogram (EKG) can be processed and compared to a stored profile to authenticate a user of the device," the application reads.

The sensor would provide the phone with heart rate data, which would be analyzed for unique characteristics that could only belong to one person. The system could then allow only the owner of the phone to use it, and block out those who do not match the unique biometric data.

The heart rate sensor would be able to track the electrical activity of a heart during a heartbeat. This could include a series of waves that represent specific actions of the heart. For example, a "P wave" signals normal atrial depolarization, where the main electrical vector spreads from the right atrium to the left atrium.

"The shape and duration of the P wave can be related to the size of the user's atrium (e.g., indicating atrial enlargement) and can be a first source of heartbeat characteristics unique to a user," the application reads.



The heart rate would be obtained through one or more sensors embedded in the device, found in the form of leads. Those leads would be coupled to an electrically conductive portion of the device, such as a metallic bezel or housing on the sides of the iPhone.

The patent application also describes external methods to obtain a user's heart rate, though that would be used for other purposes such as during exercise. The application said one or more leads could also be included in a headset plugged into the iPhone.

The described system would sample several of the users' heartbeats at multiple times to get a sampled variety. The application notes that a user's heart rate can vary slightly based on their activity or mood, and the device could potentially identify a range for a person's heart rate.



The application also references another patent from Apple, revealed in January, that would sense a user's mood and choose media based on their emotional state. That application described software that could select music in response to a user's mood, through a system that would determine whether they are happy, sad, angry, or something else.

The latest heart rate monitor application notes that the included leads and corresponding data could also be used to sense the user's mood or specific heart rate, and choose a playlist of media based on it, as described in the previous application.

"For example, the electronic device can identify media having beats per minute or other characteristics that are associated with or related to a user's cardiac signal or heart rate, and play back the identified media," the application reads. "As another example, the media provided can have beats per minute faster or slower than the user's current heart rate to direct the user to work harder (e.g., during a workout) or to cool or calm the user down (e.g., at the end of a workout)."



The invention is credited to Gloria Lin, Taido Nakajimi, Pareet Rahul, and Andrew Hodge. It was originally filed for on Jan. 23, 2009.
post #2 of 44
iPhone monitors user's heartbeat. Continues search for Sarah Connor.
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post #3 of 44
Great. So when I'm having a heart attack I can't call 911.
post #4 of 44
What a waste.
post #5 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

Great. So when I'm having a heart attack I can't call 911.

lol or maybe it senses you are having a heart attack and phones for you...
post #6 of 44
LOL @BDKennedy...You took the words right out of my mouth.
post #7 of 44
This would have been handy when I was trying to capture an arrhythmia. There's never an EKG around when you need one...

Maybe the next innovation will be pairing two iPhones via bluetooth to administer a synchronized electric shock, for those occasions when a defibrillator is needed.
post #8 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

Great. So when I'm having a heart attack I can't call 911.

Post of the decade!
post #9 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

Great. So when I'm having a heart attack I can't call 911.

So, I am a paramedic and I will be the first to say that your P waves, T waves, and QRS segments will change due to so many factors. If you are dehydrated, , excited, atrial-fib, V-tach, the list goes on and on, your phone won't know it's you? Come on, this is crazy talk!

Now, if you are having chest pain or not feeling well and it analyzes your heart (the best that it can) and tells you what's "kind of" going on...that would interesting.

I can see it now, "iPhone saves man's life!" "There's an app for that"
post #10 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by iancass79 View Post

So, I am a paramedic and I will be the first to say that your P waves, T waves, and QRS segments will change due to so many factors. If you are dehydrated, , excited, atrial-fib, V-tach, the list goes on and on, your phone won't know it's you? Come on, this is crazy talk!

Now, if you are having chest pain or not feeling well and it analyzes your heart (the best that it can) and tells you what's "kind of" going on...that would interesting.

I agree. I can see it now. You call tech support on another line because your iPhone won't work.

"Have you walked up any stairs recently?"
"Did you just finish a large meal?"
"Did you and your wife just have a fight?"
"Your heart rate is too fast, you need to lose 30 pounds and start working at the gym regularly"

I can see some value as a monitoring device, but as identification? No way.
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Gatorguy 5/31/13
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"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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post #11 of 44
My old Blackberry had a screen lock overide for calling 911, so imagine this could be built in.


I wonder if they build it so when picked up by a stranger it will start saying "Turn me into the bartender" over and over.
post #12 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

Great. So when I'm having a heart attack I can't call 911.

Obviously the new iPhone will have a dispenser for beta blockers and spill one out before the heart attack strikes!
post #13 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

Great. So when I'm having a heart attack I can't call 911.

Maybe the iPhone would be able to do that for you ... Think of the possibilities. On a lighter vein it could alert you to the fact you find who ever you are looking at very attractive lol.
Enjoying the new Mac Pro ... it's smokin'
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini.
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Enjoying the new Mac Pro ... it's smokin'
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini.
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post #14 of 44
I tend to think that the part of identifying you is to cover over the real purpose of being able to capture the users heartbeat.

If this is done then data can be sent to a Doc's office or hospital as needed. There can even be red flags built in, such as "Call 911 Now".

The other potential benefit is the ability to tie it into an app on your Mac, building a database for docs to review. And, of course, guidance on what to do depending on what patterns are delivered.

And, of course, the feature can be shifted to the iPad.

Toss in a BP cuff that works with the iPhone/touch/iPad and the devices become far more powerful in the medical fiend.
Ken
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Ken
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post #15 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

Great. So when I'm having a heart attack I can't call 911.



Thanks for the laugh
post #16 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by iancass79 View Post

So, I am a paramedic and I will be the first to say that your P waves, T waves, and QRS segments will change due to so many factors. If you are dehydrated, , excited, atrial-fib, V-tach, the list goes on and on, your phone won't know it's you? Come on, this is crazy talk!

Now, if you are having chest pain or not feeling well and it analyzes your heart (the best that it can) and tells you what's "kind of" going on...that would interesting.

I can see it now, "iPhone saves man's life!" "There's an app for that"

You made some good points, but I don't agree that it's crazy talk. I'm skeptical though. My question is whether your ECG still identifiably yours under typical conditions of variation. I'm thinking of conditions that lead to an increase in heart rate. I think you would agree that atrial fib and v tach are not exactly typical conditions. So potentially, this method could work reliably. I imagine that the inventors have consulted heart rhythm experts in order to figure out how to think about this. I think that this technique will never be used in a device unless the validation process demonstrates its reliability. That is the Apple approach. That's why there is no handwriting recognition on the iPad. It's just not reliable.
Your thought about analyzing the ECG when there's chest pain is interesting. There could be an app for that. However, I expect that the app would be used to feed data to a medical professional. Any other use would expose Apple to legal risk. I'm sure that you can imagine the scenario that I have in mind.
post #17 of 44
Brundle-fly does not like this any more than voice recognition.
post #18 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

Great. So when I'm having a heart attack I can't call 911.

or when it detects a sudden change in your heart rate that is recognized as a potential heart attack (where you might not be able to speak anyway) a screen flashes up asking if you need emergency assistance, contacts 911, giving your location via GPS assist etc.

and remember folks, companies patent stuff they don't always have solid plans to use, but with the patent they can make money if anyone else wants to try. and anything they are releasing now started as much as 10 years ago so the weird patents of today could be 2020's "Amazing"

that is if the world doesn't end in 2012 after all

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(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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post #19 of 44
Great theory but intervals and durations can change dramatically with exercise, rest state, caffeine consumption, and pharmacological therapy. I can see it now. You need to make a final phone call to close the deal and you develop left bundle branch block and are locked out or you develop an SVT and can't call 911.
post #20 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

that is if the world doesn't end in 2012 after all

I bet you £100 the world does not end in 2012.

I'm serious, if you win I will happily hand over my money. Up for the bet?
post #21 of 44
It can also tell you whether the person is excited or aroused.

That should be a fun/weird conversation starter. Add heartbeat data to your social networking profile.

"My eyes may not be looking at you but my heart tells me you're hot!"

Maybe we'll get an iPhone app lie detector

BJ
post #22 of 44
Umm... The iPhone already lets you call emergency numbers if a phone is locked. You can even call an emergency number if your AT&T contract is no longer working.

Haven't you guys ever seen the locked screen?

post #23 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brometheus View Post

You made some good points, but I don't agree that it's crazy talk. I'm skeptical though. My question is whether your ECG still identifiably yours under typical conditions of variation. I'm thinking of conditions that lead to an increase in heart rate. I think you would agree that atrial fib and v tach are not exactly typical conditions. So potentially, this method could work reliably. I imagine that the inventors have consulted heart rhythm experts in order to figure out how to think about this. I think that this technique will never be used in a device unless the validation process demonstrates its reliability. That is the Apple approach. That's why there is no handwriting recognition on the iPad. It's just not reliable.
Your thought about analyzing the ECG when there's chest pain is interesting. There could be an app for that. However, I expect that the app would be used to feed data to a medical professional. Any other use would expose Apple to legal risk. I'm sure that you can imagine the scenario that I have in mind.

You have very good points. But, I would like to point this out on the thought of info being sent to medical professionals. Our 12 lead ECG in the ambulance sends the information to the ER physician or Cardiologist (if he is near) so they can analyze it and prepare for treatment. In theory, this is what is supposed to happen. 9 times out of 10, that fax never leaves the fax machine sitting next to them until after all is said and done and the patient has been there for a while.

I guess my point is, just because technology improves, our doctor's unfortunately don't. *in most cases* Sad, but true.
post #24 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post

I bet you £100 the world does not end in 2012.

I'm serious, if you win I will happily hand over my money. Up for the bet?

I'll take you up on that - I'll bet all my worldly possessions.

Just let me get this right - if the world does end - then you get ALL my stuff and if the world does
NOT end - then you send me $100, right?

The only way I see the "world " ending in 2010 is if some dumb arse gets a hold of a nuclear weapon and decides he is "fated" to use it.

Still - even in that case - the planet will go on even if humans and or anything resembling human civilization does not.

The whole Mayan calendar predicting the end of the world is something that the Mayans do not believe - their calendars were all about finding the cycles of life - not the end of anything. And the galactic alignment etc - big freakin deal - not going to have any effect whatsoever.
post #25 of 44
[QUOTE=lilgto64;1627368]I'll take you up on that - I'll bet all my worldly possessions.

Just let me get this right - if the world does end - then you get ALL my stuff and if the world does
NOT end - then you send me $100, right?



Bwahahahahahah! Guess he doesn't realize it is a lose/lose situation for him huh?
post #26 of 44
Why not just skip the formalities and go ahead and implant the RFID chips in our arms. Slap a few 6's on our foreheads while we're at it.
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post #27 of 44
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Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

A new embedded security method in a future iPhone could lock out unauthorized users who do not have an identified "cardiac signal," measured through a heart sensor in the hardware.

Dead men tell no tales or use iPhones...

Ten years ago, we had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash.  Today we have no Jobs, no Hope and no Cash.

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Ten years ago, we had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash.  Today we have no Jobs, no Hope and no Cash.

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post #28 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

Great. So when I'm having a heart attack I can't call 911.

That was my first thought as well!
post #29 of 44
There's a lot of hope resting on the word 'could' in this article's headline.

You guys get way too 'hard' reading patents.
post #30 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

Great. So when I'm having a heart attack I can't call 911.

I am glad that many of the posters understood how crazy this approach is to identify a person.

There are better, less costly and far easier ways to identify a person, if need be. Face recognition in combination with finger prints would be more foolproof.

More than likely, the average smartphone user may not even take such precautions, much like many would not even use a password, as a simple precautionary measure for many computing devices.

One last thing, what happens if you consent for someone else to use your phone?

CGC
post #31 of 44
I could think of 100 cheaper ways to id the right user. This makes little sense, in this day and age.
post #32 of 44
[QUOTE=iancass79;1627372]
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilgto64 View Post

I'll take you up on that - I'll bet all my worldly possessions.

Just let me get this right - if the world does end - then you get ALL my stuff and if the world does
NOT end - then you send me $100, right?



Bwahahahahahah! Guess he doesn't realize it is a lose/lose situation for him huh?

No quite the contrary. It's a win win. I'm betting the world does NOT end! If it ends, and I am wrong I will gladly hand over my wager !
post #33 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilgto64 View Post

I'll take you up on that - I'll bet all my worldly possessions.


Deal!

What have you got? This is like christmas but without the annoying family members.
post #34 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

Great. So when I'm having a heart attack I can't call 911.

That's why Flash won't make it into the iPhone... BECAUSE IT'S DEAD
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post #35 of 44
[QUOTE=monstrosity;1627415]
Quote:
Originally Posted by iancass79 View Post


No quite the contrary. It's a win win. I'm betting the world does NOT end! If it ends, and I am wrong I will gladly hand over my wager !

I guess I got it backwards - you are betting that the world does not end - if you win and the world does not end you keep your $100 and collect on the bet - if the world does end and you lose you would have to pay the $100 - provided someone could find a way to collect that $100 after the end of the world.

Or in other words - if someone says to you that they will bet $100 the world WILL end - you would cover that bet with your $100 that the world will NOT end. If the world does not end then you collect the winnings - if it does end then it wouldn't matter since the world has ended.

Never was a fan of double negatives.
post #36 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by iancass79 View Post

You have very good points. But, I would like to point this out on the thought of info being sent to medical professionals. Our 12 lead ECG in the ambulance sends the information to the ER physician or Cardiologist (if he is near) so they can analyze it and prepare for treatment. In theory, this is what is supposed to happen. 9 times out of 10, that fax never leaves the fax machine sitting next to them until after all is said and done and the patient has been there for a while.

I guess my point is, just because technology improves, our doctor's unfortunately don't. *in most cases* Sad, but true.


Exactly... In theory - everything that Doctor may see in those ECG's as 'issues' could (and should) be automated. If you can see it, reason it, make a conclusion, then that process/information can be programmed.
The 'Cardiologist Board'(if thats the proper group/term) should be putting out 'an app for that' for the parametics, GP/ER docs etc.

IMO the Doc's need to get into the tech world and start automating their knowledge...in a formal methodical(sp) manner. They can't automate everything, but they sure can do 95%.

What the tech world has learned is that for 'system knowledge' no one person can 'know it all'. And in medicine its getting harder each day with the Docs not being able to 'keep up'. Its just not possible, technology needs to step in.
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post #37 of 44
Yeah I hope the user doesn't develop an irregular heartbeat, especially in an emergency situation.
post #38 of 44
Why not a fingerprint reader??

"Apple people have no objectivity when it comes to criticism of Apple.." Lenovo X1 Carbon is out..bye bye MBAir

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"Apple people have no objectivity when it comes to criticism of Apple.." Lenovo X1 Carbon is out..bye bye MBAir

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post #39 of 44
Who would trust their personally-identifiable (in theory) biometric information to their portable computing device? Especially one that's usually connected to the internet, and (without adding extra 'firewall-ish' software) regularly communicates with various sites behind your back, including Apple.

If this were available today, and worked reasonably well as a personal identifier, how many of you would actually use it? I'll cast the first vote: Nope, never, no way.
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post #40 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by boeyc15 View Post

Exactly... In theory - everything that Doctor may see in those ECG's as 'issues' could (and should) be automated. If you can see it, reason it, make a conclusion, then that process/information can be programmed.
The 'Cardiologist Board'(if thats the proper group/term) should be putting out 'an app for that' for the parametics, GP/ER docs etc.

IMO the Doc's need to get into the tech world and start automating their knowledge...in a formal methodical(sp) manner. They can't automate everything, but they sure can do 95%.

What the tech world has learned is that for 'system knowledge' no one person can 'know it all'. And in medicine its getting harder each day with the Docs not being able to 'keep up'. Its just not possible, technology needs to step in.

Automated ECG interpretation has been around for a long time and it is great for routine screening but complex interpretation requires neural net processing. This requires a well trained MD who is acquainted with the entire clinical picture. Most physicians I know are well ahead of the technology wave and embrace new technologies early but the majority of good medicine still occurs between the ears and between a patient and doctor.
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