Apple working on cuffless blood pressure monitoring technology

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware
Apple is working on technology that could detect a user's blood pressure by using neutral networks and seismocardiogram data, negating the need for a blood pressure cuff.

Credit: Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider
Credit: Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider


According to a patent application published Thursday, a wearable device, potentially paired with Apple Watch, might one day be capable of monitoring a user's blood pressure without the need for any additional peripherals.

The patent application, titled "Interpretable neural networks for cuffless blood pressure estimation," explores the use of neural networks to estimate blood pressure using seismocardiogram data. Unlike an electrocardiogram, which relies on electrical signals to monitor a heart rate, a seismocardiogram measures the micro-vibrations produced by the heart beating.

There exists seismocardiogram devices small enough to be considered wearable, though these sensitive systems are typically placed over a user's sternum to measure minute vibrations in or near the heart. How Apple intends to deploy such a device was not discussed in today's filing.

According to Apple's patent, the system would work by leveraging an individually pruned neutral network accepting a seismocardiogram as input. That neural network would then use the data to estimate blood pressure.

As an example, Apple could create a baseline model by training the neural networks with seismocardiogram data and blood pressure measurements from a group of subjects. Using that a baseline, the system could then prune the model for subsequent users. The initial dataset would be collected from users performing different sedentary activities.

From there, Apple contends that the neural network could be used to accurately estimate a user's blood pressure without a cuff. As the patent points out, the system could use the neutral network "to determine blood pressure based on accelerometer and/or gyroscope data," which are already present in Apple devices.

Current versions of the Apple Watch can be used to monitor and analyze different types of health data, including heart rates with an optical sensing system, heart rhythms via a built-in electrocardiogram or blood oxygen sensing on the Apple Watch Series 6. Since the release of the Apple Watch, Apple has been continually expanding the device's health toolkit and it is possible that Apple is looking to build out a set of health-minded accessories.

The patent lists Siddharth Khullar, Nicholas E. Apostoloff, and Amruta Pai as its inventors. Among them, Apostoloff has been named on a previous patent dedicated to facial analysis and emotion detection.

This isn't Apple's first patent focused on blood pressure monitoring. Back in 2020, the company filed a patent application for an Apple Watch-supported system that could use pulse transit time to measure blood pressure. Another system could use pressure sensor data, and Apple has explored how to monitor blood pressure without a cuff in the past.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 16
    JapheyJaphey Posts: 617member
     How Apple intends to deploy such a device was not discussed in today's filing.”

    I imagine the easiest way to do it would be via a new watchband. Similar to the Modern Buckle band, but with the buckle actually being a seismocardiogram sensor that the user holds over their sternum for readings. Haptic feedback could guide the user as to the beginning and ending of the readings, as well as to warn of false readings. Of course, half the people would complain that they have to pay extra for the feature that not everyone needs or even wants. But, those that do, would happily pay the premium for it. 
  • Reply 2 of 16
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,342member
    My doctor told me last year that there is a medical study that says too much measuring of blood pressure can increase your blood pressure (but I couldn't confirm this with a web search.) So if a future Apple Watch takes too many measurements (and if you look at the measurements) it could actually make your health worse.
    Peza
  • Reply 3 of 16
    swat671swat671 Posts: 78member
    My doctor told me last year that there is a medical study that says too much measuring of blood pressure can increase your blood pressure (but I couldn't confirm this with a web search.) So if a future Apple Watch takes too many measurements (and if you look at the measurements) it could actually make your health worse.
    Well, that’s why drug trials have to use placebo controlled blinding… The placebo effect can affect the way your body responds to what you think is a drug, while it is actually just a sugar pill. Thinking about your blood pressure can affect your BP in the same way. 
    twokatmew
  • Reply 4 of 16
    mike1mike1 Posts: 2,635member
    My doctor told me last year that there is a medical study that says too much measuring of blood pressure can increase your blood pressure (but I couldn't confirm this with a web search.) So if a future Apple Watch takes too many measurements (and if you look at the measurements) it could actually make your health worse.

    It's always been recommended to wait a few minutes between readings of blood pressure. I think your doctor is alluding to the fact that someone stressing over their BP and measuring it often raises BP because of their stress.
    StrangeDaysbonobob
  • Reply 5 of 16
    Hank2.0Hank2.0 Posts: 111member
    The latest Apple Watch tracks your heart beats and activities, is an ECG and oximeter, and in the future may measure blood sugar and blood pressure. What's next, X-rays ;) ? Do most people need all that in a smart watch? Makes me wonder if the Apple Watch family might be split into a "standard" model and a "medical" model for people with serious health problems.
  • Reply 6 of 16
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,342member
    Hank2.0 said:
    The latest Apple Watch tracks your heart beats and activities, is an ECG and oximeter, and in the future may measure blood sugar and blood pressure. What's next, X-rays ;) ? Do most people need all that in a smart watch? Makes me wonder if the Apple Watch family might be split into a "standard" model and a "medical" model for people with serious health problems.
    They already do. It's called the Apple Watch SE. 
    bonobob
  • Reply 7 of 16
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,305member
    My doctor told me last year that there is a medical study that says too much measuring of blood pressure can increase your blood pressure (but I couldn't confirm this with a web search.) So if a future Apple Watch takes too many measurements (and if you look at the measurements) it could actually make your health worse.
    You have brought fear mongering and pearl clutching to a new level. Congrats, you get the FUD Award for the day.
    llama
  • Reply 8 of 16
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,305member
    Hank2.0 said:
    The latest Apple Watch tracks your heart beats and activities, is an ECG and oximeter, and in the future may measure blood sugar and blood pressure. What's next, X-rays ;) ? Do most people need all that in a smart watch? Makes me wonder if the Apple Watch family might be split into a "standard" model and a "medical" model for people with serious health problems.
    These measurements aren't for unusual circumstances or people. They contribute to your overall picture of health and performance. And at the rate of Americans developing adult onset diabetes, blood sugar readings can't come soon enough. I get my own blood work done and have seen the positive effects of increased exercise and training on my numbers, including blood sugar. Having the data empowers people to make corrective changes. Not having to pay $100 to a clinic to get it is a good thing.
    edited April 23 macplusplus
  • Reply 9 of 16
    dk49dk49 Posts: 94member
    This is the feature I am really waiting for. I can get heart rate tracking, sleep tracking, and blood oxygen measurement with good accuracy on a $50 fitness tracker. The day Apple watch has this (without needing any external device), I am going to buy one. 
  • Reply 10 of 16
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,342member
    My doctor told me last year that there is a medical study that says too much measuring of blood pressure can increase your blood pressure (but I couldn't confirm this with a web search.) So if a future Apple Watch takes too many measurements (and if you look at the measurements) it could actually make your health worse.
    You have brought fear mongering and pearl clutching to a new level. Congrats, you get the FUD Award for the day.
    I'm quoting my doctor regarding too many BP measurements. You hate doctors? Are you an anti-science person?
    Peza
  • Reply 11 of 16
    bonobobbonobob Posts: 297member
    Apple is working on technology that could detect a user's blood pressure by using neutral networks and seismocardiogram data, negating the need for a blood pressure cuff.

    ...

    According to Apple's patent, the system would work by leveraging an individually pruned neutral network accepting a seismocardiogram as input. That neural network would then use the data to estimate blood pressure.
    ...

    From there, Apple contends that the neural network could be used to accurately estimate a user's blood pressure without a cuff. As the patent points out, the system could use the neutral network "to determine blood pressure based on accelerometer and/or gyroscope data," which are already present in Apple devices.
    Well, I just have to say I'm glad they're not using biased networks.  What a shame, though, that they aren't bothering to use that fancy-pants neural network they have in their devices now.  Oh, wait… 
  • Reply 12 of 16
    bonobobbonobob Posts: 297member
    Hank2.0 said:
    The latest Apple Watch tracks your heart beats and activities, is an ECG and oximeter, and in the future may measure blood sugar and blood pressure. What's next, X-rays ;)
    Not x-rays.  They are ionizing radiation, so the FDA would never allow it.  Same with CT scans.  Expect an MRI soon, though--but you won't be able to use it with a Milanese loop due to the extreme magnetic fields.
    Hank2.0
  • Reply 13 of 16
    My doctor told me last year that there is a medical study that says too much measuring of blood pressure can increase your blood pressure (but I couldn't confirm this with a web search.) So if a future Apple Watch takes too many measurements (and if you look at the measurements) it could actually make your health worse.
    I experience what my doctor calls "white coat syndrome", where the first time someone takes my BP, it's elevated.  He, or his assistant, tend to take it three or four times during a visit now when the first sample is elevated.
    llamaPeza
  • Reply 14 of 16
    mknelsonmknelson Posts: 741member
    "Apple is working on technology that could detect a user's blood pressure by using neutral networks and seismocardiogram data, negating the need for a blood pressure cuff."

    I think I'd prefer a biased network to one that's just meh.
  • Reply 15 of 16
    larryjwlarryjw Posts: 782member
    My doctor told me last year that there is a medical study that says too much measuring of blood pressure can increase your blood pressure (but I couldn't confirm this with a web search.) So if a future Apple Watch takes too many measurements (and if you look at the measurements) it could actually make your health worse.
    I experience what my doctor calls "white coat syndrome", where the first time someone takes my BP, it's elevated.  He, or his assistant, tend to take it three or four times during a visit now when the first sample is elevated.
    The great thing about constant body function measurements is as it become passive, we can finally see the normal variations in these measurements. We really don't have that data now. We know our body functions fluctuate in circadian rhythms, but these are measurements in laboratory or hospital conditions with small samples. To see this under real conditions across millions of people will give researchers vast data to discover if not merely document how we work. 
    beowulfschmidt
  • Reply 16 of 16
    larryjw said:
    My doctor told me last year that there is a medical study that says too much measuring of blood pressure can increase your blood pressure (but I couldn't confirm this with a web search.) So if a future Apple Watch takes too many measurements (and if you look at the measurements) it could actually make your health worse.
    I experience what my doctor calls "white coat syndrome", where the first time someone takes my BP, it's elevated.  He, or his assistant, tend to take it three or four times during a visit now when the first sample is elevated.
    The great thing about constant body function measurements is as it become passive, we can finally see the normal variations in these measurements. We really don't have that data now. We know our body functions fluctuate in circadian rhythms, but these are measurements in laboratory or hospital conditions with small samples. To see this under real conditions across millions of people will give researchers vast data to discover if not merely document how we work. 
    Exactly right.
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