A newly disclosed Apple patent shows that Apple has been looking for alternatives, especially those that do not require any physical contact with people sleeping.
Currently, there are already a number of tracker devices, including Apple’s own Beddit sleep monitor, which Apple acquired when it bought Beddit and then discontinued in January 2022.
However, Apple’s patent, titled “physiological monitoring methods and systems,” proposes a system that lacks even this link. apple said in the patent description: “physiological monitoring does not need to be performed with uncomfortable electrodes to measure ECG, EEG or other electrophysiological signals, but is based on comfortable motion and audio measurements.”
The measurements required for apple’s unobtrusive monitoring are made using systems such as microphones for measuring motion sounds, breath sounds and snoring, motion sensors, and even radar. the same part of the patent also mentions “bed-mounted force sensors, wearable motion sensors”. so the Apple doesn’t rule out sensors on the body or in the bed, but much of the patent is about how to track sleep without any such devices.
What’s more, Apple plans to have a system that can be used to track the sleep of two people in the same bed. apple says uninterrupted monitoring becomes more difficult when it’s necessary to monitor physiological parameters for two or more people, such as two people sleeping in the same bed. Apple said that in a typical measurement scenario, each person being monitored will have its own non-invasive sensor.
At the heart of the patent is the use of multiple sensors, possibly including wearable sensors, in order to collect data and then distinguish them. It’s mostly about what it calls unobtrusive devices, which may include a smartphone. Apple’s list of devices includes smartphones, tablets, TVs, or desktop computers. In other words, the iPhone you’re charging at the bedside could be part of a sleep tracking system.