Forget the iWatch, Apple is researching iHuman – a wearable computer

Nike FuelBand with iPhone

Have you followed the talk of a possible iWatch from Apple, an all-glass iOS device supposedly putting a smartphone on your wrist? That would be small potatoes compared to a whole network of sensors turning your body into a walking, talking Apple device.

In an 84-page filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the iPhone and iPad maker describes what it calls a “Personal items network.” Covering you head-to-toe, sensors would detect movement, temperature – even track how fast your heart beat when watching certain television shows, according to a Tuesday report…

At the heart of the network of wireless sensors is a movement monitoring device.

“These tiny transmitters can take the form of an adhesive strip similar to a bandage and include a processor, a detector, communications port, and battery,” AppleInsider cites Apple’s application.

Apple wearable patent 001

The tech news site says the application refers to dozens of previous patent applications, some a dozen years old.

Along with taking the form of a bandage, the sensor package could also become a credit card or even attach to meta objects, all the while recording when certain “events” occur – or do not.

Potential uses range from assessing athletic performance to monitoring sensitive components or ensuring medical components are not damaged by storage in a cold warehouse.

According to Apple, the so-called MMD could attach to a football player’s helmet, registering the impact of a hit and sending the data to a remote site – perhaps a TV network displaying the results to viewers.

Apple wearable patent 002

As the company said: “Other advantages should be apparent in the description within.”


While an MMD is used for checking your movements, an event monitoring device – or EMD – would track events. Those events could range from simple data like atmospheric conditions that could detect whether a package is sitting on your front porch or hidden in a bush during a rainstorm.

However, the device could also watch your heart rate, take your pulse – and then contact someone should any of those factors elevate beyond a certain point.

iPhone Wrist (Yrving Torrealba 001)

Apple suggests such monitoring has commercial uses.

Forget the Nielsen boxes, slap on an EMD. If you watch a particular show that causes your heart rate to increase, dial-up the network and renew the show.

As before, “other advantages should be apparent.”

Now this isn’t the first time we’ve heard about wearable monitors, such as the Nike FuelBand, a wristban that tracks your daily exercise.

However, previous attempts at wearable computing have been more of a ‘proof-of-concept’ showing a person can walk around with a PC and webcam – an arrangement only a geek would love.

Apple, with both its design skills and its marketing genius, could finally commercialize wearable computing, turning tech into a modern jewelry.

To peruse the entire 84-page patent application, check out the USPTO web site.