Future Apple Watches could detect if you're drowning and call for help

Posted:
in General Discussion
Proposed new sensors in an Apple Watch, or other wearable device, could determine the presence, volume, and even toxicity, of water they are exposed to.

Future Apple Watches could detect water and if necessary, tell the authorities which sea you've just fallen in
Future Apple Watches could detect water and if necessary, tell the authorities which sea you've just fallen in


Among the myriad health features either currently in the Apple Watch or expected to be coming, there is a new one where the device may be able to detect water. If you're standing outside in the rain, it's likely that you'll notice you're wet just about as quickly as your Watch can, but this is about much more than whether you need an umbrella.

Apple's technology, should it come to fruition, could be used as a trigger, such as automatically launching Dark Sky or using that app's data to tell you when the rain will be over. However, the purpose here is to determine safety, not dampness.

"Portable electronic device as health companion," US Patent No 10,617,358, has future Apple Watches being able to detect water and also test it.

Initially, that test involves the amount of water involved -- so the Watch will spot the difference between a light shower and you having fallen overboard from a ship. Next it could also check your calendar to see if you were going scuba diving today, among other information that could give the Watch "an anticipated context of use." Then it could analyze the water it detects, in order to determine whether it is safe to be exposed to.

"A particularly beneficial, but by no means only, use of the electronic device is one in which the electronic device determines that a body of water is nearby," says the patent, "and based upon an anticipated context of use, the electronic device can determine which properties of the water and/or surrounding environment would be relevant to the user and in particular the health of the user."

The patent is concerned with what could be used as a trigger. For instance, if the watch determines that the wearer has been exposed to "a significant body of water," it could trigger "a sensing element... [to] be used to detect properties of the water deemed to be of interest."

For instance, the Watch could tell the difference between fresh and salt water, then depending on the answer, it might deploy further tests. "For example, if the type of water is determined to be salt, a geo-location sensor can be used to determine a geo-location of the user that can be used to identify the body of water associated with the water sample," continues the patent.

So once water has been detected, an Apple Watch app could make the determination that the user is in trouble. Following that identification, it could notify emergency services of the wearer's location in the sea.

That's not a little fishy swimming under the Watch face. It's an example of an icon saying what activity the user is doing, in this case swimming
An fish as an example of an icon saying what activity the user is doing, in this case swimming


"Another sensor can be designed to detect bio-matter such as dangerous pathogens that if detected can trigger a warning to avoid entering the body of water or leave the body of water if already entered," it continues. "Another sensor could be used to detect chemicals in the water, and so on."

The patent takes some pains to detail how water on the top of the watch, such as rain, could be distinguished from water underneath it, specifically sweat. It also belabors how this patent application could apply to any number of devices, however its descriptions and drawings all refer to a Watch-like wearable device.

The patent is credited to four inventors, Steven P. Cardinali, William C. Lukens, Katharine E. Tong, and Trevor J. Ness. Cardinali was previously credited on another Apple Watch patent, this time regarding a Digital Crown that recognizes gestures. Tong's many patents include a recent one to do with using the Apple Pencil to trace 3D objects. And Ness was most recently listed as an inventor on a fingertip and face mapping system for VR and AR.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 15
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    I want future Apple Watches to detect when the wearer is drunk and lock him out of his car. 
    beowulfschmidtmacxpressJinTechcornchiplolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 15
    Just imagine if this turned out to be a feature to automatically send a notification to Apple to invalidate the warranty due to water damage. 
    caladanian
  • Reply 3 of 15
    I have found Apple products are very water resistant. Last week I was on the dock and fell head first into the water. (No alcohol involved)  Had to swim to the shore, about 3 min distance. I had my AirPods Pro in my ears, Apple Watch 4 on, and an iPhone XS in my pocket. Got to shore, took out the AirPods and rinsed everything. The watch and phone were fine, but I was sure the AirPods would be toast. Waited about an hour, put them back in my ears and they worked perfectly. Oh, did I mention it was saltwater? 
    SpamSandwichcornchiplolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 15
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,532member
    I remember Apple haters arguing that Apple was "not innovative" because Google was "extending life". I guess one of Google's moonshot projects that never saw the light of day claimed this. Google always getting recognition for concepts while Apple always being ignored for shipped products. Or new features not being a big deal and ignored.

    I wonder how many lives Apple Watch will save this year?


    mr lizard said:
    Just imagine if this turned out to be a feature to automatically send a notification to Apple to invalidate the warranty due to water damage. 

    Apple products are pretty damn water resistant. Also they don't lie about their water resistant ratings (unlike Samsung). I doubt they'll void the warranty for an IP rated device.
    lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 15
    robin huberrobin huber Posts: 3,478member
    Drowning happens very quickly. Hard to imagine a situation where a call gets to someone who can help and they are able to locate and retrieve the victim. Could make finding the body easier. 
    macxpressrandominternetpersoncornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 15
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,175member
    mr lizard said:
    Just imagine if this turned out to be a feature to automatically send a notification to Apple to invalidate the warranty due to water damage. 
    Just imagine where nobody posts stupid shit like this....Why the fuck would Apple ever do this?
    cornchiplolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 15
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,333member
    macxpress said:
    mr lizard said:
    Just imagine if this turned out to be a feature to automatically send a notification to Apple to invalidate the warranty due to water damage. 
    Just imagine where nobody posts stupid shit like this....Why the fuck would Apple ever do this?
    What you mean like why the fuck would they have water ingress stickers in their phones? Oh wait.
  • Reply 8 of 15
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,333member

    Beats said:
    I remember Apple haters arguing that Apple was "not innovative" because Google was "extending life". I guess one of Google's moonshot projects that never saw the light of day claimed this. Google always getting recognition for concepts while Apple always being ignored for shipped products. Or new features not being a big deal and ignored.

    I wonder how many lives Apple Watch will save this year?


    mr lizard said:
    Just imagine if this turned out to be a feature to automatically send a notification to Apple to invalidate the warranty due to water damage. 

    Apple products are pretty damn water resistant. Also they don't lie about their water resistant ratings (unlike Samsung). I doubt they'll void the warranty for an IP rated device.
    Water damage isn't covered under warranty. However, not sure how they could really justify in court to using water resistance as a selling point, only to say in the small print "if it leaks that's your problem". That's like saying the phone will make calls but if it doesn't then tough luck.


    The phones and watches are impressively waterproof, not so sure about their other products.
    edited April 2020
  • Reply 9 of 15
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,175member
    elijahg said:
    macxpress said:
    mr lizard said:
    Just imagine if this turned out to be a feature to automatically send a notification to Apple to invalidate the warranty due to water damage. 
    Just imagine where nobody posts stupid shit like this....Why the fuck would Apple ever do this?
    What you mean like why the fuck would they have water ingress stickers in their phones? Oh wait.
    Except we're talking about a watch, not a phone. Try again! Apple advertises its own watch to be able to be worn while swimming and there's even swimming workout activities. So again, why the fuck would they ever do that on their watch? Such a pointless stupid post. 
    edited April 2020 cornchiplolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 15
    But will this invention protect people from quicksand?  Who knows when you might find yourself in a fire swamp.
  • Reply 11 of 15
    JinTechJinTech Posts: 775member
    Rayz2016 said:
    I want future Apple Watches to detect when the wearer is drunk and lock him out of his car. 
    And after three attempts, automatically save the location of your car and call you a Lyft to get home.
    cornchiplolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 15
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    elijahg said:

    Beats said:
    I remember Apple haters arguing that Apple was "not innovative" because Google was "extending life". I guess one of Google's moonshot projects that never saw the light of day claimed this. Google always getting recognition for concepts while Apple always being ignored for shipped products. Or new features not being a big deal and ignored.

    I wonder how many lives Apple Watch will save this year?


    mr lizard said:
    Just imagine if this turned out to be a feature to automatically send a notification to Apple to invalidate the warranty due to water damage. 

    Apple products are pretty damn water resistant. Also they don't lie about their water resistant ratings (unlike Samsung). I doubt they'll void the warranty for an IP rated device.
    Water damage isn't covered under warranty. However, not sure how they could really justify in court to using water resistance as a selling point, only to say in the small print "if it leaks that's your problem". That's like saying the phone will make calls but if it doesn't then tough luck.


    The phones and watches are impressively waterproof, not so sure about their other products.
    They were probably assuming no one was going to take the AppleTV to the swimming pool. Silly them. 
    lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 15
    The patent says nothing about drowning. The water stops most radio communications. As an example, when my watch goes under water, I no longer have WiFi or Bluetooth link. The usual frequencies needed to transmit under water are VLF and ELF. These require larger power and larger antennas than can fit on a watch. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 15
    kimberlykimberly Posts: 375member
    The patent says nothing about drowning. The water stops most radio communications. As an example, when my watch goes under water, I no longer have WiFi or Bluetooth link. The usual frequencies needed to transmit under water are VLF and ELF. These require larger power and larger antennas than can fit on a watch. 
    The whole article is end-to-end drivel.
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