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Apple has developed a first-of-its-kind hydration sensor designed for the Apple Watch, a company patent filing has revealed.

apple-watch-series-6-product-red-back.jpg

The patent, first spotted by Patently Apple, is titled "Hydration measurement with a watch" and was granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

"Traditional techniques for tracking hydration are generally invasive, expensive, or unreliable," according to Apple. This refers to existing ways of determining hydration such as single-use tests of fluid samples.

Apple's hydration sensor takes the form of non-invasive electrodes that are placed against the skin, which it describes as a "reliable and elegant" solution. The sensor works by measuring the electrical properties of the Apple Watch wearer's sweat. The patent explains:
The 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.

[...]

For example, a high level of electrical conductance of the perspiration can indicate a high concentration of electrolytes and a low level of hydration. By further example, a low level of electrical conductance of the perspiration can indicate a low concentration of electrolytes and a high level of hydration.

The filing goes on to give a lengthy and detailed technical description of the hydration sensor and its functionality.

Apple says that its hydration tracking system can be performed "non-invasively, repeatedly, accurately, automatically, and with minimal user intervention." According to the patent, hydration data may be used to provide feedback to the user, particularly during activity such as workouts, and encourage better management of water intake, and in turn, overall health. The filing outlines why hydration is a valuable health metric:
A user's hydration level has significant impacts on the health of a user. Dehydration can impair performance and is associated with several deleterious health consequences, including heat strokes. Overdrinking can result in hyponatremia, fatigue, confusion, coma, and even death.

Patent filings cannot be taken as firm evidence of Apple's plans, but they do show the company's areas of research. Nevertheless, Apple is known to have ambitious plans for adding new health tracking capabilities to the Apple Watch following the debut of blood oxygen monitoring with the Apple Watch Series 6 and hydration monitoring now appears to be a viable option for the company to add to the device in the future.

Article Link: Apple Develops Innovative Hydration Sensor for the Apple Watch
 

sw1tcher

macrumors 68020
Jan 6, 2004
2,454
4,837
"Traditional techniques for tracking hydration are generally invasive, expensive, or unreliable," according to Apple.
Unreliable? LOL



Apple's hydration sensor takes the form of non-invasive electrodes that are placed against the skin, which it describes as a "reliable and elegant" solution.
Will only be "reliable" so long as Apple doesn't change the algorithm
 

cuiver

macrumors newbie
Jul 3, 2020
17
49
I guess they will need an über algorithm to account for variances in perspiration between individuals, as well as eventual debris and dried sweat on the electrodes. But still, this will be a great feature if they can achive some degree of accuracy.
 
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Cosmosent

macrumors 68010
Apr 20, 2016
2,003
2,292
La Jolla, CA
My best guess would be that about 3-5% of Apple's patent apps make it into products.

And that number isn't just Apple specific, it applies to most Tech companies who are active in patent apps.

Apple, & others, apply for patent apps, in-part, to keep competitors for gaining an upper-hand, even if they have NO intention of ever putting it in a product.
 

_Spinn_

macrumors 65816
Nov 6, 2020
1,196
2,891
Wisconsin
This would be pretty cool to see in a new Apple Watch. Hopefully this and the rumored blood glucose sensors come to the Watch at some point. It would also be cool if Apple could get an ultrasound blood pressure sensor integrated as well.

 

jz0309

Contributor
Sep 25, 2018
4,019
11,389
Temecula, CA
Nice, but I'm waiting for blood sugar monitor. I hate the prick of the needle!!!
That would be very nice indeed, but would require full FDA approval and demand a hefty premium… I am sure it will come at some point, technology is there…
 

Amazing Iceman

macrumors 601
Nov 8, 2008
4,356
2,398
Florida, U.S.A.
This looks useful. Still waiting for blood pressure though.
That’s more complicated, unless they figure out a completely different way to take these measurements (High/low blood pressure). Currently, pressure needs to be applied to the blood flow to be able to obtain a reading. Maybe there’s another way to do this without having to wear a big fat wrist band.

For the Hydration level measurement, Apple is taking a different approach.

Oh, check this out!: https://www.thegearcaster.com/2016/09/measure-your-hydration-level-in-real-time.html

Let’s see what the near future brings. It seems that soon the Tricorder will look like a Boombox in comparison to the new health gadgets coming out. There are already Ultrasound probes that are smaller than the tricorder, and connect to your iPhone and iPad. Recently I was able to test one for a whole week, and it’s incredibly good and very useful when you know how to use it and interpret the images.
 

Robert.Walter

macrumors 68020
Jul 10, 2012
2,077
2,581
Patented but never going to see the light of day
Agree.
The naysayer crowd has spoken. If only Apple had more people like this to tell them all the things they can’t do, so they know not to ever try.
Companies do file defensive patents to block competitors from using approaches that the company has decided not to use because it wasn’t their best embodiment of a solution.

This patent could very well be a defensive patent that apple won’t put into production.
 

ChromeAce

macrumors demi-god
Jun 11, 2009
333
450
This tech could possibly also be used to determine levels of alcohol in the blood, disabling your Apple Car if too high, and potentially reporting the attempt to law enforcement.
 
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