or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › General › General Discussion › Future Apple devices may boast environmental sensor suite with built-in thermometer
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Future Apple devices may boast environmental sensor suite with built-in thermometer

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
A pair of documents unearthed on Thursday detail Apple's ambitions to make the iPhone -- or rumored iWatch -- a one-stop-shop for gathering all kinds of data, including information about a user's surrounding environment.

iWatch
iWatch concept by Todd Hamilton


In two patent applications published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Apple describes environmental sensor suites that can be embedded into portable electronics like an iPhone, iPad and "wrist-watch" devices. With the so-called "iWatch" rumored to be on the horizon, Apple could conceivably incorporate one or more of the following inventions into the smartwatch to gather humidity, pressure and temperature data.

Apple's "Electronic devices with environmental sensors" filing covers a component that sports multiple sensors. Attached to an electrical interface like a flexible printed circuit, the environmental sensor could include separate sensors for temperature, pressure, humidity and sound.


Source: USPTO


The printed circuit is mounted within a device chassis in such a way that the component is at least partially enclosed save for an opening that allows sound, air and other environmental materials to interact with system sensors.

While somewhat open to the elements, the sensor package is protected from damage through use of an integrated rigid support structure. As noted in the filing, adding these extra sensing packages to a mobile device would normally require more ports, which could lead to the collection of unwanted debris or harmful material. To solve this problem, Apple suggests the sensor array include a microphone or speaker so that it can be installed into an existing audio port.

As for data, the information gathered by the proposed sensor package can be processed by the device's on-board CPU and displayed onscreen for user consumption.



In a second patent filing entitled "Electronic devices with temperature sensors," Apple describes a separate type of sensor that can be incorporated into a device button.

The invention calls for a thermal sensor to be mounted operatively onto a button component that moves within a device's chassis. For example, the current iPhone 5s volume control actuator would be a good candidate for installation. Switches, slides and other operable parts are also mentioned as possible placement locations.




Apple notes that a thermally conductive metal or other material can be used in the fabrication of said button, which then transfers temperature data to the sensor mounted beneath the surface.

The system can measure any material that comes into contact with the button, including air and a user's finger. The data can be used to inform the device when it's too hot or too cold to operate or, more interestingly, display the temperature of a user's skin onscreen. The latter application could be configured to serve as a wrist-worn health monitor's thermometer.

Apple's sensor package patent applications were first filed for in 2012. Henry H. Yang and Matthew E. Last are credited as inventors of the thermal button property, while the two are joined by Romain A. Teil on the environmental sensor filing.
post #2 of 26
Well, that is actually what I am waiting for since some time! Good to hear. But it sounds non-trivial. Taking the thermometer. You want to make sure it doesn't measure your body temperature. Otherwise this is just great. Simply consider what kind of crowd sourced data you get from this. Netatmo made a very good start into this with its home appliances.
post #3 of 26
Lets make a Start Trek tricorder.
post #4 of 26
People that are likely addicted to checking their phones every 30 seconds to see if they are missing something, a text, email, Facebook update, whatever.... Will most likely carry that obsession over to the rumored "iWatch" device by checking the pulse rate, how many steps and calories they have burnt so far and any other non-critical nonsense this device serves up. Why so cranky? Look how a generation has lost the ability to live without an electronic device in hand at all times. Almost no moment of the average day is used for reflection and deep thought. Where will this generations great thinkers come from when the distraction of listening to music, texting, web surfing, taking pictures of your breakfast, lunch and dinner completely occupy your day?
post #5 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by kerryb View Post

People that are likely addicted to checking their phones every 30 seconds to see if they are missing something, a text, email, Facebook update, whatever.... Will most likely carry that obsession over to the rumored "iWatch" device by checking the pulse rate, how many steps and calories they have burnt so far and any other non-critical nonsense this device serves up. Why so cranky? Look how a generation has lost the ability to live without an electronic device in hand at all times. Almost no moment of the average day is used for reflection and deep thought. Where will this generations great thinkers come from when the distraction of listening to music, texting, web surfing, taking pictures of your breakfast, lunch and dinner completely occupy your day?

Your last sentence is a leap. The same could be said about Walkmans in the 80s or transistor radios in the 70s or TVs in the 60s or movies in the 50s. Each generation has new technology that comes in the form of entertainment. I can't predict the future so who knows what will happen but so far I've seen no evidence that smartphones will make us dumber.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply
post #6 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by kerryb View Post

People that are likely addicted to checking their phones every 30 seconds to see if they are missing something, a text, email, Facebook update, whatever.... Will most likely carry that obsession over to the rumored "iWatch" device by checking the pulse rate, how many steps and calories they have burnt so far and any other non-critical nonsense this device serves up. Why so cranky? Look how a generation has lost the ability to live without an electronic device in hand at all times. Almost no moment of the average day is used for reflection and deep thought. Where will this generations great thinkers come from when the distraction of listening to music, texting, web surfing, taking pictures of your breakfast, lunch and dinner completely occupy your day?

 

Where this will lead? Well, sit back and enjoy the show.

post #7 of 26
Combine that with the Prime Sense sensors and you have great hardware that's only limited to the imagination of developers! As a programmer myself, I've imagined a day when apps could condition to a user's environment.
post #8 of 26

These many sesnsors on a device that you carry - will bring you OBSESSIVE COMPULSION DISORDER.

You keep checking the body temperature. You keep checking the heart beat.

NOT GOOD HONEY.

post #9 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chandra69 View Post

These many sesnsors on a device that you carry - will bring you OBSESSIVE COMPULSION DISORDER.
You keep checking the body temperature. You keep checking the heart beat.
NOT GOOD HONEY.

Why do these needs need to be checked to be useful? Why can't biometrics be monitoring your body constantly or periodically to compile data that can then be analyzed after extended use to see positive and negative patterns? I'd think this sort of information would be in value to medical professionals as you can never trust the patient to tell you accurate information.


PS: OCD isn't created by technology. It can manifest with technology but it's not the cause of, and if technology didn't exist it would manifest itself in other ways.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply
post #10 of 26
Let's add these to the list of things that are not worthy of a patent. What is novel about either of these? Mobile devices (not just smart devices) capable of measuring these things have existed for years. Instruments that measure these things have been taken to every corner of the Earth and into space. Am I missing something?
post #11 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chandra69 View Post
 

These many sesnsors on a device that you carry - will bring you OBSESSIVE COMPULSION DISORDER.

You keep checking the body temperature. You keep checking the heart beat.

NOT GOOD HONEY.

 

I'd love to have a temperature sensor when I'm biking or hiking because it's sometimes difficult to plan what clothes to wear in different weather and knowing the temperature during my current ride or hike lets me plan better for the next one. I currently carry an analog thermometer on my keychain, but it's so small I have to stop and squint at it to read it. A temperature display integrated into one of the fitness apps I'm already using would be a nice improvement for those specific activities.

 

However, saying that this will lead to obsessive checking of the temperature throughout the day is like saying that getting a new toaster will lead to compulsively making toast all day long.

post #12 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chandra69 View Post

These many sesnsors on a device that you carry - will bring you OBSESSIVE COMPULSION DISORDER.
You keep checking the body temperature. You keep checking the heart beat.
NOT GOOD HONEY.
 
Why do these needs need to be checked to be useful? Why can't biometrics be monitoring your body constantly or periodically to compile data that can then be analyzed after extended use to see positive and negative patterns? I'd think this sort of information would be in value to medical professionals as you can never trust the patient to tell you accurate information.


PS: OCD isn't created by technology. It can manifest with technology but it's not the cause of, and if technology didn't exist it would manifest itself in other ways.

 

I am not saying it is not useful. It is useful. But OCD is a by-product of using these health trackers.  When they are available in your plam, you tend to check.  Its like nothing new in Facebook feed, but dont we check it every now and then?   

OCD might get manifested in other ways. Yes.  But these health trackers will become one of the ways. When ti comes through these beautiful Apple products - the probability is more. 

post #13 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chandra69 View Post

But OCD is a by-product of using these health trackers.

I don't think that's correct. I think it's completely backwards. Certain actions we make exterior to us can be evidence of OCD in an individual but OCD is not a result of technology, useful or not. It's like doors at fault for Sheldon, from The Big Bang Theory, needing to knock 3 times and say someones name.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply
post #14 of 26
@solipsismx 04/24/2014 10:09 AM

I am old enough to remember the introduction of the Walkman which never had the popularity or the distraction power of today's mobile devices. You listened to music on a Walkman, your only interaction was to press stop and play. TV is and always has been a passive distraction and until recently people didn't watch TV while walking down the street, eating in a good restaurant or behind the wheel of a car. Mobile devices which promise us a way to connect to others only has the opposite affect. There is not social moment today that is not interrupted by someone answering a call, text or an impromptu photo session. I've seen people in mid conversation turn away to text something on their phones. As for my comment about great thinkers. Would Newton have had his revelation about gravity if he was distracted updating his Facebook status? Would the kind of concentration needed to create the theory of relativity come from Einstein tweeting his friends? To create something, quiet and deep thought is absolutely necessary despite Apple's ads suggesting pointing your phone at something and you are a genius.
post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by arlomedia View Post
 

 

I'd love to have a temperature sensor when I'm biking or hiking because it's sometimes difficult to plan what clothes to wear in different weather and knowing the temperature during my current ride or hike lets me plan better for the next one. I currently carry an analog thermometer on my keychain, but it's so small I have to stop and squint at it to read it. A temperature display integrated into one of the fitness apps I'm already using would be a nice improvement for those specific activities.

 

However, saying that this will lead to obsessive checking of the temperature throughout the day is like saying that getting a new toaster will lead to compulsively making toast all day long.

Come on!  This is not good comparision brother! Come on! That is not what I meant.

post #16 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by kerryb View Post

@solipsismx 04/24/2014 10:09 AM

I am old enough to remember the introduction of the Walkman which never had the popularity or the distraction power of today's mobile devices. You listened to music on a Walkman, your only interaction was to press stop and play. TV is and always has been a passive distraction and until recently people didn't watch TV while walking down the street, eating in a good restaurant or behind the wheel of a car. Mobile devices which promise us a way to connect to others only has the opposite affect. There is not social moment today that is not interrupted by someone answering a call, text or an impromptu photo session. I've seen people in mid conversation turn away to text something on their phones. As for my comment about great thinkers. Would Newton have had his revelation about gravity if he was distracted updating his Facebook status? Would the kind of concentration needed to create the theory of relativity come from Einstein tweeting his friends? To create something, quiet and deep thought is absolutely necessary despite Apple's ads suggesting pointing your phone at something and you are a genius.

That has to do with focus, not with technology generating CDO* in society. There is definitely more "noise" in society than every better but it's not OCD. This is something that happens with each generation and yet we still people making breakthroughs in science. We learn to adapt and most of find our passions; which can be an obsession in and of itself but one that is typically seen as passive. I like to use Fraunhofer as example of an unhealthy obsession that can lead lead to massive ethnological breakthroughs later on. I think it comes down to teaching our children how to manage their time properly which means the onus fails on the parental units, not a convenient technology.


* CDO** is like OCD except the letters are in the proper, alphabetical order¡
** That is not the original author.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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

People that are likely addicted to checking their phones every 30 seconds to see if they are missing something, a text, email, Facebook update, whatever.... Will most likely carry that obsession over to the rumored "iWatch" device by checking the pulse rate, how many steps and calories they have burnt so far and any other non-critical nonsense this device serves up. Why so cranky? Look how a generation has lost the ability to live without an electronic device in hand at all times. Almost no moment of the average day is used for reflection and deep thought. Where will this generations great thinkers come from when the distraction of listening to music, texting, web surfing, taking pictures of your breakfast, lunch and dinner completely occupy your day?

The great thinkers are always going to be present. They're predisposed against the kind of trivia you're worried about causing their extinction.

As for complaining about people not being able to live without an electronic device in their hands... My iPhone is an assistive technology device. Before it, I used a Tapwave Zodiac, before that, a Palm Pilot Professional. Before that, I had difficulty scheduling myself and remembering timed events. Paper notes didn't do crap (I bought my first PDA from my employer, a company that manufactures day planner books and binders, so it's kind of funny). Before the iPhone's GPS navigation assistance, I had great anxiety over travel and now I don't. These devices have improved the quality of my life. They have balanced out my deficits, not created dependency.

There are many like me. I just spoke to a quite notable one at a party last weekend; he was talking about his ADHD distractibility (not my particular problem) and his face lit up when I mentioned that a Palm Pilot made me functional in the professional employment world, since his experience was the same.

The people you're complaining about are already predisposed to trivia and would find it anywhere it's accessible, tech gadgets or not. Frankly, the ability to look up information to answer most any question, casual or important, trains people to seek info, rather than make assumptions or stay unknowing. I think that's a good thing.

There are many problems with modern human society that I think are making us into unhealthy nutcases, but these devices aren't part of that problem.
post #18 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I don't think that's correct. I think it's completely backwards. Certain actions we make exterior to us can be evidence of OCD in an individual but OCD is not a result of technology, useful or not. It's like doors at fault for Sheldon, from The Big Bang Theory, needing to knock 3 times and say someones name.

Yeah the guy has it all wrong. Availability of devices has nothing to do with it any more than availability of thresholds cause people to need to count to 50 before crossing one.

The likely causes of OCD are varied: trauma, constant stress, a feeling of lack of control over life, etc. A person may be predisposed to it, too (not that everyone who is predisposed will become OCD, just that some are susceptible when others aren't).

Maybe this guy that's terrified of tech devices and blaming them for causing undesirable traits needs to turn his analysis inward...
post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by wakefinance View Post

Let's add these to the list of things that are not worthy of a patent. What is novel about either of these? Mobile devices (not just smart devices) capable of measuring these things have existed for years. Instruments that measure these things have been taken to every corner of the Earth and into space. Am I missing something?

You just keep using that anal thermometer. The rest of us are moving on...
"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
Reply
"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
Reply
post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by wakefinance View Post

Let's add these to the list of things that are not worthy of a patent. What is novel about either of these? Mobile devices (not just smart devices) capable of measuring these things have existed for years. Instruments that measure these things have been taken to every corner of the Earth and into space. Am I missing something?

Yes, the fact that these sensors could be available for programming is what's new. For example, an app may use the thermometer and have SIRI remind you to put a jacket on if it's a certain temperature. The air pressure sensor could be used to help calculate your exact elevation. For example, a GPS app would be able to tell you if you're on the correct floor and to go up or down if you're not. Combine that with iBeacon and an app could even direct you to an elevator and tell you what button to press. In the future, there could be smart elevators and your phone may simply send the elevator a signal to tell it what floor to take you to.
post #21 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterAlt View Post

Yes, the fact that these sensors could be available for programming is what's new. For example, an app may use the thermometer and have SIRI remind you to put a jacket on if it's a certain temperature. The air pressure sensor could be used to help calculate your exact elevation. For example, a GPS app would be able to tell you if you're on the correct floor and to go up or down if you're not. Combine that with iBeacon and an app could even direct you to an elevator and tell you what button to press. In the future, there could be smart elevators and your phone may simply send the elevator a signal to tell it what floor to take you to.

 

I need to know what the temperature may be BEFORE I go outside and need to be told to put my jacket on. That's the value of a weather app. If my phone needs to tell me after I go outside to put on my jacket, then I'm too dumb to have bought an iPhone to begin with.

"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
Reply
"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
Reply
post #22 of 26
This is pretty neat , especially when you consider all the sensors already not into an IPhone.

Somebody mentioned the Tricoders of Star Trek fame which is exactly what we are moving too. Obviously this is a ways off but I can see Apple steadily upgrading capabilities as technology advances.

Frankly iPhones camera is already light years ahead of what was imagined on Star Trek. Think about it, you van do movies, stills, bar code reading and other stuff that was never imagined back when thE show first aired. That is just with the camera we already have considerable real world input in the way of the accelerometers and other built in features. All of this without a shoulder slung device.

Now all of that being said I don't see a huge value in a simple air sensing temperature responding device. It would be better to start including remote sensing in the form of an infrared device. Often it is more desirable to know the temperature of a device not within arms reach. Maybe add a spectrometer to the camera too
post #23 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Macky the Macky View Post

I need to know what the temperature may be BEFORE I go outside and need to be told to put my jacket on. That's the value of a weather app. If my phone needs to tell me after I go outside to put on my jacket, then I'm too dumb to have bought an iPhone to begin with.

I never said my example was a practical one. As I said, that is an example of what a programmer could use this for in an app. Again, it's up to the imagination of the developer. A more practical example... You tell an app what temperature you are most comfortable with. If it detects that you are out of your comfort zone, it sends a signal to a future smart AC signal with your comfort zone temperature, and it automatically adjusts the temperature to your preference, or average comfort zone temperature if there are other people in the room.
post #24 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterAlt View Post


Yes, the fact that these sensors could be available for programming is what's new. For example, an app may use the thermometer and have SIRI remind you to put a jacket on if it's a certain temperature. The air pressure sensor could be used to help calculate your exact elevation. For example, a GPS app would be able to tell you if you're on the correct floor and to go up or down if you're not. Combine that with iBeacon and an app could even direct you to an elevator and tell you what button to press. In the future, there could be smart elevators and your phone may simply send the elevator a signal to tell it what floor to take you to.

 

But these sensors are already in use on other phones too.  Whether Siri wants to recommend a jacket is irrelevant.  Cool idea about using the barometer to determine what floor you're on though.

post #25 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by kerryb View Post

@solipsismx 04/24/2014 10:09 AM

I am old enough to remember the introduction of the Walkman which never had the popularity or the distraction power of today's mobile devices. You listened to music on a Walkman, your only interaction was to press stop and play. TV is and always has been a passive distraction and until recently people didn't watch TV while walking down the street, eating in a good restaurant or behind the wheel of a car. Mobile devices which promise us a way to connect to others only has the opposite affect. There is not social moment today that is not interrupted by someone answering a call, text or an impromptu photo session. I've seen people in mid conversation turn away to text something on their phones. As for my comment about great thinkers. Would Newton have had his revelation about gravity if he was distracted updating his Facebook status? Would the kind of concentration needed to create the theory of relativity come from Einstein tweeting his friends? To create something, quiet and deep thought is absolutely necessary despite Apple's ads suggesting pointing your phone at something and you are a genius.

I agree.

Post from mstone to Benjamin Frost - "Perhaps that explains your lack of mental capacity. If I was your brother, I probably would have repeatedly smashed the side of your head with a cricket bat."
Reply
Post from mstone to Benjamin Frost - "Perhaps that explains your lack of mental capacity. If I was your brother, I probably would have repeatedly smashed the side of your head with a cricket bat."
Reply
post #26 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


That has to do with focus, not with technology generating CDO* in society. There is definitely more "noise" in society than every better but it's not OCD. This is something that happens with each generation and yet we still people making breakthroughs in science. We learn to adapt and most of find our passions; which can be an obsession in and of itself but one that is typically seen as passive. I like to use Fraunhofer as example of an unhealthy obsession that can lead lead to massive ethnological breakthroughs later on. I think it comes down to teaching our children how to manage their time properly which means the onus fails on the parental units, not a convenient technology.


* CDO** is like OCD except the letters are in the proper, alphabetical order¡
** That is not the original author.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kerryb View Post

People that are likely addicted to checking their phones every 30 seconds to see if they are missing something, a text, email, Facebook update, whatever.... Will most likely carry that obsession over to the rumored "iWatch" device by checking the pulse rate, how many steps and calories they have burnt so far and any other non-critical nonsense this device serves up. Why so cranky? Look how a generation has lost the ability to live without an electronic device in hand at all times. Almost no moment of the average day is used for reflection and deep thought. Where will this generations great thinkers come from when the distraction of listening to music, texting, web surfing, taking pictures of your breakfast, lunch and dinner completely occupy your day?

This leads to a greater philosophical question: as we have explored most of the earth and recorded so much genius, where do we find the incentive to make something new or amazing? It becomes harder with each generation. 

 

Take music: there are only so many combinations of thirteen notes. Man has been weaving its magic on them for hundreds of years, but at what point do we run out of ideas? Maybe there's a natural timespan for its evolution and we're nearing the end. What then? Do we roll over and die? Does it matter? Or do we live perpetually on past glories?

Post from mstone to Benjamin Frost - "Perhaps that explains your lack of mental capacity. If I was your brother, I probably would have repeatedly smashed the side of your head with a cricket bat."
Reply
Post from mstone to Benjamin Frost - "Perhaps that explains your lack of mental capacity. If I was your brother, I probably would have repeatedly smashed the side of your head with a cricket bat."
Reply
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: General Discussion
AppleInsider › Forums › General › General Discussion › Future Apple devices may boast environmental sensor suite with built-in thermometer