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Barclays: Apple's 'iWatch' could include UV light exposure sensor

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Apple might be looking to lend a helping hand to those who are particularly prone to sunburns or are otherwise sensitive to harmful UV rays, as one analyst believes that the company will include new UV exposure sensors in its so-called "iWatch."

iWatch
iWatch concept by Todd Hamilton


The sensors would likely come from Austin, Texas-based Silicon Labs, according to a Monday note from Barclays analyst Blayne Curtis. Silicon Labs announced the new sensors in February, claiming that they are the industry's first single-chip digital UV index sensors.

"These chips measure UV exposure to aid those with elevated risk of sunburn or just a general concern about excessive sun exposure, and we believe they may be of appealing [sic] to OEMs looking to differentiate in a crowded market," Curtis wrote.

Notably, tracking ultraviolet sun exposure is not the sensors' only ability. According to Silicon Labs, they can also aid in analyzing heart rate, pulse, blood oximetry, and provide proximity and gesture control sensing using both infrared and ambient light methods.

Such a compact, multi-purpose chip -- Silicon Labs' sensors are just 2 millimeters square -- could come in handy for an iWatch, and Apple has been seen exploring each of those features in the past. Industry analysts have previously speculated that Apple would turn to similar optoelectronic devices, and the company has brought several former executives from pulse oximetry company Masimo Corporation on board in recent months.

Apple's business could be worth as much as $4 million in additional revenue for Silicon Labs this year, Curtis believes. He predicts that Apple may sell as many as 10 million iWatches before the end of 2014 if the product debuts later this year as rumored.
post #2 of 17
Sounds about right, they've been in talks with the FDA
Edited by emerica - 4/7/14 at 8:54pm
post #3 of 17
The FDA deals with Food and Drugs...
post #4 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Derek Bolander View Post

The FDA deals with Food and Drugs...

Yes! And if you add fitness trackers (i.e.: electronics designed to measure your health) the FDA needs to approve it.

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post #5 of 17
Well Measuring UV exposure would be totally useless to anyone spending anytime in the sun. The risk aversion inherent in anyone manufacturing such sensors would mean they would start issuing warnings after 30 seconds.

Just as well it does other things that are more useful than the headline feature.
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post #6 of 17
actually i would love that feature - i have poor sense of determining if i am getting too much UV or not.
post #7 of 17

Just stay indoors, sonny boy.

 

These sort of measurement tools are designed to address the average user. Even if they had better sensitivity, they would still be geared toward indicating maximum safe exposure for a wide sample of people, not a "safe" exposure level for a given individual.

 

If you can't figure out what reasonably safe exposure is for you right now, don't rely on a smartphone to provide the answer. These sort of "solutions" are a false security blanket.

post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"These chips measure UV exposure to aid those with elevated risk of sunburn or just a general concern about excessive sun exposure, and we believe they may be of appealing [sic] to OEMs looking to differentiate in a crowded market," Curtis wrote.

Notably, tracking ultraviolet sun exposure is not the sensors' only ability. According to Silicon Labs, they can also aid in analyzing heart rate, pulse, blood oximetry, and provide proximity and gesture control sensing using both infrared and ambient light methods.

I think it would be of greatest benefit if the chip an differentiate between the three kids of UV exposure a person wearing the watch may be exposed to UVA I, UVA II, and UVB. Our poor ozone layer is not equally thin, with different latitudes exposing people to a different levels of all three on a daily as well as seasonal basis. Additionally ones exposure also varies by altitude.
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post #9 of 17

A UV exposure sensor is a good idea here in Australia, where skin cancer is the highest-killing cancer in the nation.

So, a nice idea.

post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Entropys View Post

Well Measuring UV exposure would be totally useless to anyone spending anytime in the sun. The risk aversion inherent in anyone manufacturing such sensors would mean they would start issuing warnings after 30 seconds.

Just as well it does other things that are more useful than the headline feature.

That's what I thought too, at first. But what if it's not for warning about too much, but too little sunlight? Sunlight is essential for proper vitamin D3 synthesis, which in turn plays a vital role in various ways for physical and mental health. Lack of sunlight exposure is not an uncommon "1st world" problem.

   

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post #11 of 17
I think that a really great thing to have included would be some sort of sensor when you have been exposed to the sun long enough to get the Vitamin D3 that you need. For someone like me, I cannot be out in the sun due to health issues. This causes me to have a severe Vitamin D deficiency. That is something that would be a benefit to so many.
post #12 of 17

It's too gimmicky. If they want to do something with sensors they should make an iPad with a whole bunch of pro sensors (a "Tricorder") for all those Life on iPad people to use.

post #13 of 17
Originally Posted by Derek Bolander View Post
The FDA deals with Food and Drugs...

 

Yes, but not very well.

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post #14 of 17

I read the headline and wonder whether I could simply suggest that the iWatch could include pixie dust?

 

Sure it could include a UV sensor, but at this point there doesn't seem any credible evidence and sound more like a way of temporarily boosting the stock value of the Texas based company mentioned in the article.

post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by netrox View Post

actually i would love that feature - i have poor sense of determining if i am getting too much UV or not.

Burned skin is a excellent indicator if you spent too much time in the sun, then adjust accordingly. lol.gif
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post #16 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Yes, but not very well.

Food and drugs? Probably helmed by a pothead.
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post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post


Burned skin is a excellent indicator if you spent too much time in the sun, then adjust accordingly. lol.gif

The problem is that by the time your skin is burnt, the damage is done (this is especially important when considering the various types of skin cancer).

 

Also, UV levels are not directly related to the lighting levels that we see around us.  Even on very overcast days, UV ratings can be extremely high.

Given these factors, I can see some use for this kind of technology.

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