A pair of patent applications filed with the United States Patent & Trademark Office earlier in the week have hinted that Apple’s iPhone could gain a new sensor letting the smartphone detect your cardiac signal when it’s picked up. The invention would permit your iPhone to identify you by your heartbeat.

Furthermore, the company appears to be researching hover sensing technology like that found on Samsung’s Galaxy S4, which is capable of detecting touch events even when a user’s finger is not really in contact with the touchscreen…

Apple’s detailed U.S. Patent No. 8,614,693 for ‘Touch and hover signal drift compensation’ outlines a system in which a touchscreen display can accurately determine both hover and touch events, reports AppleInsider. This would allow a future iPhone to detect touch events when your finger is near to the device’s touchscreen.


You may wonder about usability gains from not actually touching your iPhone’s screen. As you’d expect form Apple, the patent comes with a twist: hover touch sensing could be used to actually improve touch accuracy by dismissing random or false touch events.


This would presumable augment Apple’s existing implementation that ignores spray input and allows iPad mini and iPad Air users to scroll content even if they’re touching the screen with their thumb when holding the device.

Finally, this patent could allow Apple to tweak Multi-Touch performance when a marked change in weather and environment conditions – such as ambient temperature, humidity and pressure – is detected. Other changes like component shifts, expansion or contraction could also impact baseline readings, which is known as signal drift.

A compensation method proposed would reset the baseline capacitance of a touch sensor at periodic intervals to account for these changes. “When a new baseline is defined, the system can apply the change to capacitance measurement thresholds to correct for signal drift,” AppleInsider explains.

Another U.S. Patent No. 8,615,290 for a ‘Seamlessly embedded heart rate monitor’ – first publicized back in 2010 and now updated – describes a heart rate monitor sensor embedded in the device. One or more sensors would be provided in the form of leads coupled to electrically conductive parts like the iPhone’s metallic bezel.


These sensors could be also included in a headset plugged into the iPhone.

Detecting a user’s unique cardiac signal pattern would involve analyzing the durations of particular portions of a user’s heart rhythm. Alternatively, the “relative size of peaks of a user’s electrocardiogram (EKG) can be processed and compared to a stored profile to authenticate a user of the device,” the application reads.


Heart rate monitors are plentiful in the form of various fitness accessories which connect to iOS devices via Bluetooth. For instance, the popular fitness app Argus recently gained support for Bluetooth heart rate monitors for various activities. And Nike’s new FuelBand sports built-in heart rate monitoring, for instance.


Another Apple patent, a massive 84-page filing, describes a movement monitoring device (iWatch, much) laden with sensors that wouldn’t just detect your movement and body temperature, but also watch your heart rate and take your pulse – and then contact someone should any of those factors elevate beyond a certain point.

Bloomberg reported back in March that Apple’s rumored smartwatch device would focus on health and fitness functions. “It would also house a pedometer for counting steps and sensors for monitoring health-related data, such as heart rates,” sources told the news organization.

In any event, these patent filings do indicate that the iPhone maker has worked on wearable devices for tracking fitness in the past, but they obviously never made it to market.

  • ✪ aidan harris ✪

    I’ll say it before all the Fandroids say it. This sounds an awful lot like what the Samsung Galaxy devices already do although it sounds like a much more efficient way of doing it…

    • Matt

      Yes, I agree with you but the thing I’m really excited is that the display might be the finger print sensor. — if so, then that will be awesome.

  • Captain Canada

    Zibreg doesn’t even mention Samsung or Galaxy phones, next level denial right there.

    • ✪ aidan harris ✪

      “Furthermore, the company appears to be researching hover sensing technology like that found on Samsung’s Galaxy S4…”

      I guess you missed that?

      • Captain Canada

        I did, my apologies.

    • Seriously?

  • n0ahcruz3

    Apple is the greatest most innovative company ever. This will be a game changer. Samsung will copy this feature! Because samsung doesnt know how to innovate!

  • chumawumba

    Apple is now stealing Samsung ideas? Shocking!

    • Rowan09

      Stealing is taking someone’s property without permission. Nokia is also working on Air Gesture called 3D Touch, neither of them are the same. Apples patent is different than Nokia’s and Air Gesture on the S4 and Note 3.

      • Guest

        Different patent images offering the same function…it’s a typical patent troll king move. First they find a present ingredient, patent it, then sue the orignal inventors…this is currently the second step, expect a lawsuit suing Samsung for this sometime in the future…

      • Rowan09

        By the same function you mean any tech made by any company which involves hovering over the screen is now owned by Samsung? Come on now let’s stop this nonsense Samsung actually did infridge on Apple’s tech hence them losing the case, Apple won mainly because Samsung was trying to sue based on standard essential patents and wouldn’t offer them to Apple at a fair price. Google and Microsoft bought companies for patents because patents are for making money not litigation. Litigation can either go in a win or loss so if you really want to believe a lie go ahead, but don’t try to make it true.

  • OhSixTJ

    “False touch events”? Doesn’t happen on my iphone.