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Apple secretly developing entire platform for wearable, attachable computing

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
As rumors swirl over the potential for a so-called iWatch from Apple in the not-too-distant future, the company is secretly developing an entire wearable/attachable computing platform and ecosystem comprised of wireless sensing systems for monitoring not only sports activity, athletic training, medicine, fitness, and wellness in humans, but also for tracking packages and industrial production.

MMDs


AppleInsider first touched on the subject nearly three years ago when it discovered a sprawling 83-page patent filing granted to the company that covered a series of wireless sensing systems aimed at quantifying actions or events that can currently be measured only qualitatively, such as the effectiveness of a karate kick or what exactly happened to a package from FedEx that arrived with its contents broken. Industry watchers could think of the technology as a series of Nike FuelBands for nearly all aspects of motion. (See: Apple exploring wireless system for quantifying the unquantifiable).

Since then, Apple has continued to refine the provisional filing, and on Tuesday was awarded the rights to a continuation of the now divisional patent application under the title "Personal items network, and associated methods." It makes references to dozens of earlier filings, including several from the company itself dating back to 2001.

Movement Monitoring Devices



A couple of wireless monitoring devices are critical to Apple's concept, the first of which is called a movement monitor device, or "MMD." The company says these tiny transmitters can take the form of an adhesive strip similar to a bandage and include a processor, a detector, communications port, and battery. Alternatively, they could assume the form of a credit card and/or include a magnetic element for adhering to metal objects. In any of the cases, they'd ideally also include a real time clock so that the transmitter can tag "events" with time and date information.

MMDs

MMDs


In one aspect, the MMD continuously relays a movement metric by continuous transmission of data from the detector to a RR. In this way, a MMD attached to a person may beneficially track movement, in real time, of that person by recombination of the movement metrics at a remote computer. In one aspect, multiple MMDs attached to a person quantify movement of a plurality of body parts or movements, for example to assist in athletic training (e.g., for boxing or karate).

"In another aspect, multiple MMDs attached to an object quantify movement of a plurality of object parts or movements, for example to monitor or assess different components or sensitive parts of an object. For example, multiple MMDs can be attached to an expensive medical device to monitor various critical components during shipment; when the device arrives at the customer, these MMDs are interrogated to determine whether any of the critical components experienced undesirable conditions--e.g., a high impact or temperature or humidity."



MMDs


MMDs could also be capable of measuring temperature, humidity, moisture, altitude and pressure. These environmental metrics would be combined into an MMD with a detector that facilitates the monitoring of movement metrics. And they "can practically attach to almost anything to obtain movement information," the filing claims.

By way of example, an MMD can be mounted to the helmet or body armor of each football player or motocross competitor to monitor movement and jerk of the athlete. In such applications, data from the MMD preferably transmits event data in real time to a RR in the form of a network, so that MMD data associated with each competitor is available for broadcast to a scoreboard, TV or the Internet. Other advantages should be apparent in the description within."



Event Monitoring Devices

The second kind wireless monitoring device Apple describes in its filing is called an Event Monitoring Device, or "EMD," which can be used to monitor and report humidity, chemicals, heart rate, pulse, pressure, stress, weight, environmental factors and hazardous conditions. Nearly identical in structure, composition, and operation to MMDs, EMDs monitor one or more metrics for "events," where data is acquired that exceeds some predetermined threshold or value.

MMDs


In [one] example, the detector and processor collectively monitor stress events, where for example it is determined that the EMD attached to a human senses increased heart rate of over 180 beats per minute (an exemplary "event" threshold). In still another aspect, the detector is a chemical (or pH) detector and the processor and detector collectively determine a change of chemical composition of an object connected with the EMD over some preselected time period.



Apple goes on in the filing to describe how MMDs and EMDs can monitor and enhance activities and live broadcasts of Nascar races, marathons, rodeos, bike races, and extreme sports. They could also be applied to body armor and used for weight monitoring. Readers can check out the full, now 84-page filing, here.
post #2 of 26
This sounds similar to (or may be an evolution) of the dust concept developed in academia about 10 years ago. That turned into the Zigbee standard currently used in the Philips Hue lightbulb control system (available on iOS).
post #3 of 26

Secretly?

 

As opposed to openly, like every other product they produce?

Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #4 of 26

Sounds like a new direction for Apple and it has a huge scope of application.  The examples given here are small potatoes.  Think bigger and you can see a standardized platform for large scale data acquisition that, with the proper UX, will be useful for everyone from the home owner to the corporations to science.  And science is the big one.

 

This is Big Data.

post #5 of 26

If they can pair up with someone like Nike, or do what Nike has done for running, I'd be very interested in this. With daily intense workouts that don't involve running, I still wonder how many calories i burned, how I compared to the day / week / month / year before. Why I love Nike+.

 

 

Quote:
The reason why they are analysts is because they failed at running businesses.

 

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Quote:
The reason why they are analysts is because they failed at running businesses.

 

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post #6 of 26

I just hope that whatever the part of this is that will live on your wrist ... isn't called anything as dumb as "iWatch."  

post #7 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

I just hope that whatever the part of this is that will live on your wrist ... isn't called anything as dumb as "iWatch."  

iPad sounded pretty dumb at the beginning too.
post #8 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by jakeb View Post


iPad sounded pretty dumb at the beginning too.

Yes, but this alleged wearable device is not a watch. Unless iWatch will stand for 'I watch over my digital life from my wrist'. 

post #9 of 26
Who's going to do Tae Kwon Do with bandaids on? Headline should read "Apple not-so-secretly making new iDevice running iOS with new sensors, mostly not useful. Apple no longer can WOW users so they are designing no-cohesive parts."
post #10 of 26
A mind for the bicycle?
post #11 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by brutus009 View Post

Sounds like a new direction for Apple and it has a huge scope of application.  The examples given here are small potatoes.  Think bigger and you can see a standardized platform for large scale data acquisition that, with the proper UX, will be useful for everyone from the home owner to the corporations to science.  And science is the big one.

This is Big Data.

Big 3-D Dynamic Data.
post #12 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by bernleckie View Post

A mind for the bicycle?

That's good, very good. Top pick for post of the year, IMO.
post #13 of 26

Potentially interesting in certain applications, depending on where this research leads. As long as it's not glasses.

post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

And we care whether you're interested because?

Add 72 + 24 + 77 + 69 + 69. What do you get?
Zero.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by elmsley View Post

Who's going to do Tae Kwon Do with bandaids on? Headline should read "Apple not-so-secretly making new iDevice running iOS with new sensors, mostly not useful. Apple no longer can WOW users so they are designing no-cohesive parts."

No-cohesive? What does that mean? Oh, I get it - you don't think the sensors would stick well on the human body?
post #16 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by ankleskater View Post


No-cohesive? What does that mean? Oh, I get it - you don't think the sensors would stick well on the human body?

 

That would be adhesive, unless the sensors are created from a person's own cells.

post #17 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by jakeb View Post


iPad sounded pretty dumb at the beginning too.

 

as a name

and as a computing device.   but a sub $500 'full function' (for 90% of non-programmer public) computer was astute.   As Tim Cook said today, the iPad was the response to not being able to build a non-crap $500 mac.

 

With it,  it extended the computing market place from 50->90 and from 16->2 (and lower... I've seen more strollers with iPads than I care to imagine).

With it, it got a 'information worker' mobilet tool at a mass market price especially with tax-advantaged markets  (ipads in schools usually tax free... ipads in business <= business expense). 

 

The health and wellness about this is an astounding marketplace.  Extending Apple's place to places where people aren't using computers (think iPod) but want/need to be connected.  multiply by oh, a Billion people who exercise (want to be monitored), and a Billion People who would benefit from 7x24 monitoring (need to be monitored).  And if the latter shows any sort of best practice/lower cost of care, national and private insurance will pay for it.   

 

Printing Money.

post #18 of 26
iSuite. Or did Shamsunck already use that?
post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

By way of example, an MMD can be mounted to the helmet or body armor of each football player or motocross competitor to monitor movement and jerk of the athlete.

Can someone tell me what this means? I'm not into American football. Heck, I'm not American.
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How to enter the Apple logo  on iOS:
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post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post


Can someone tell me what this means? I'm not into American football. Heck, I'm not American.

 

"movement and jerk of the athleteare pretty much the same thing.  A "jerk" is simply a sudden, sharp movement.  Like "jerking his head around to look" or "kicking the ball with a jerk of his foot."

 

As for all the sensors, sounds like what some of the future Army soldier research is about (e.g. sensors in uniforms and equipment).


Edited by KDarling - 2/12/13 at 12:36pm
post #21 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

Yes, but this alleged wearable device is not a watch. Unless iWatch will stand for 'I watch over my digital life from my wrist'. 

 

"iWatch" actually stands for ... "I'm a tech journalist without any imagination and cannot conceive of anything on my wrist that isn't some kind of watch."

post #22 of 26
Well Ihat, Iglasses, I earring, I watch, I
, out of all the possibilities I think the Iglasses would be best for the suit of microphones and speakers to cameras best location(s) why not, they don't even need a clear display(which would be there successor to touchscreen) but for now a Bluetooth pair up to iphone( it would sell more than a bracelet
post #23 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by KDarling View Post

"movement and jerk of the athlete" are pretty much the same thing.  A "jerk" is simply a sudden, sharp movement.  Like "jerking his head around to look" or "kicking the ball with a jerk of his foot."

Ah, like that. Gotcha - thanks
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post #24 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by brutus009 View Post

Sounds like a new direction for Apple and it has a huge scope of application.  The examples given here are small potatoes.  Think bigger and you can see a standardized platform for large scale data acquisition that, with the proper UX, will be useful for everyone from the home owner to the corporations to science.  And science is the big one.

 

This is Big Data.

 

Not really that new. Apple often comes up with these wild ideas for using tech, patents them and then nothing. Well not fom Apple. Others pick up the idea and do the work with Apples blessing (via licensing). All Apple does is provide support in their software so there's a way to use the data. The Fuelband is an example. Started from a simple shoe sensor that was likely designed with Apple's help  and grew into a phase one of this patented idea. What Nike hasn't said is that the reason they are staying iOS only for now is probably not just because of the technical support but perhaps a deal to stay Apple only for a period of time in exchange for direct help in making the device happen. 

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(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 #25 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Potentially interesting in certain applications, depending on where this research leads. As long as it's not glasses.

 

Why not glasses. Google's idea isn't completely flawed. If Apple can do it better and more stylishly then why not. 

 

I think what will eventually happen is that these sensors and even perhaps their readouts will end up in our clothing. Particularly for medical applications. We snicker a little at shows like Continuum with her super suit but imagine a sports jersey that could monitor your body and the cuffs change color to tell you that your sweat rate, temp etc as  indicates you might be getting dehydrated. Or what if that same shirt could monitor your heart rate and warn you that you might be having an arrhythmia, monitor sugar levels and warn a diabetic of a possible glucose issue. 

 

A first step in that direction is this glasses/watch display. 


Edited by charlituna - 2/13/13 at 9:22am

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(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 #26 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOtherGeoff View Post

 

as a name

and as a computing device.   but a sub $500 'full function' (for 90% of non-programmer public) computer was astute.   As Tim Cook said today, the iPad was the response to not being able to build a non-crap $500 mac.

 

And it was a smart response. Rather than just asking how they could design a standard computer with cheaper parts and methods to have a cheaper price, they asked what folks would really be doing on such a device and designed around those base needs. It was a gamble given they could have been wrong about the uses, but it worked out in the end. Because lets face it, a vast majority of the world doesn't use their computer for major computing so they don't need a major machine. They email, online shop, play a few games (of the solitaire and mindsweeper level) etc. And ipads do those things just fine

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(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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