The Apple Watch started out as a watch that could do a few other things, but it has changed quite a bit over the years. That includes being jam-packed with a ton of sensors. But it looks like Apple may not be done finding new ways to put even more sensors into the small case.
As first reported today by Patently Apple, the company behind the mega-popular smartwatch is considering, at least as far as general research is concerned, a hydration sensor for the Apple Watch. Apple has filed a patent for what it describes as “Hydration measurement with a watch” and the United States Patent and Trademark Office recently granted it for the company. In the documentation, Apple says that “traditional techniques for tracking hydration” are typically “invasive, expensive, or unreliable” and so the company is looking for a way to change that.
Apple’s self-described “reliable and elegant” alternative to the current methods for tracking hydration include non-invasive electrodes that are pressed against the skin of the Apple Watch wearer. That’s familiar to how the already present sensors in the Apple Watch Series 6 do their jobs, so it would be more of the same for the smartwatch lineup. With those sensors, they will track “electrical properties, such as electrical conductance, can represent a concentration of electrolytes in the perspiration, which in turn represents a hydration level of the user.”
From today’s initial report, detailing the corresponding patent:
Apple’s patent FIG. 1 represents an Apple Watch; In FIG. 2 the watch (#10) can provide one or more electrodes (#140) for measuring and/or otherwise responding to perspiration. For example, as shown in FIG. 2, the electrodes can be provided on an inner surface of the Apple Watch band (#110).
Alternatively, or in combination, the electrodes can be provided on an inner surface of the watch body. The electrodes can be positioned to come into contact with perspiration (e.g., sweat) that is present on the skin of the user. The electrodes can be operated to measure an electrical property of the perspiration, from which hydration indicators can be determined and provided to a user.
Tracking hydration would be helpful for those who want to keep tabs on their hydration intake in general. Plus, it can help those who might be so focused on the workout or exercise routine to be reminded to drink water (or whatever they prefer while working out), similar to how the Apple Watch can remind users to stand up or wash their hands. Unfortunately, just because Apple has a patent granted for this particular technology doesn’t mean the company is actually developing it. Researching it, yes, but there’s no word on when this feature might see the light of day in a final, customer-ready version.
We’ll have to wait and see if the hydration sensor ever makes it into an Apple Watch. It does sound like it would be a welcomed addition to the smartwatch, though. What do you think? Should Apple add a hydration sensor to the Apple Watch?