A recent patent application from Apple reveals that the company may see a future where your heart attack tells the Apple Watch to tell your phone that you need help.
No specific device mentioned
While the patent itself doesn’t single out a device, it’s pretty clear what Apple is working on and it involves the Apple Watch and iPhone working in conjunction with one another, according to 9to5Mac.
According to the patent:
An occurrence of one or more “care events” is detected by an electronic device monitoring environmental data and/or user data from one or more sensors. The electronic device transmits one or more alerts regarding the detected occurrence to at least one other electronic device. In some cases, the electronic device may cooperate with at least one other electronic device in monitoring, detecting, and/or transmitting.
Apple says that the system could take a range of different actions depending on the severity of the situation. It could send an email to a family member in less urgent cases, or call 911 if it detects a serious emergency.
FDA approvals could be necessary if Apple Watch has too many medical functions
The patent continues:
Care events may include a car crash, a bike accident, a medical emergency such as a heart attack or an aneurysm, separation of a child from the child’s caregiver, a dementia patient becoming lost, an avalanche, a fall, a mugging, a fire, and/or any other event for which a user may require medical, police, family, fire rescue, and/or other kind of assistance.
For example if the system detected a sudden movement at the same time as a loss of heartbeat reading, it would suspect that the wearer had had a heart attack. There is an obvious danger of false alarms, which Apple says that it will mitigate using user responses or geographical information.
The electronic device may utilize location information from a GPS device to determine that the electronic device is present [at] a bungee jumping facility. Based on such a determined location, the electronic device may determine that a care event has not occurred unless the acceleration data indicates that a bungee accident has occurred.
The tech giant has to be careful with medical applications for the Apple Watch due to the potential need for FDA approvals. The regulatory body says that it has “an almost hands-off approach” to fitness-oriented wearable technology, Apple CEO Tim Cook has said that is why Apple didn’t put too many sensors into the Watch.