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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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Apple is researching strain gage sensors, likely in an effort to improve the Apple Watch's strength training capabilities, according to a recent job listing (via MyHealthyApple).

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

The job listing from Apple's Health Technologies team seeks engineers with "exposure to analog electronics, preferably mechatronic systems utilizing actuators, temperature sensors, strain gages, and photodiodes." The candidate will help design, build, test, and troubleshoot early prototype health hardware. Apple is presumably conducting this biomechanics research and development in relation to the Apple Watch.

The Apple Watch already contains an actuator, temperature sensor, and photodiodes, but it does not have a strain gage. Strain gages measure variations in electrical resistance when force is applied. They are already widely used in motion-tracking and physiological monitoring systems. Researchers have demonstrated how a single, non-invasive strain sensor placed on the wrist can accurately measure the full range of strains on human skin, as well as monitor blood pressure – another health feature rumored for future Apple Watch models.

The Apple Watch can only track active calories, time, and heart rate during strength training workouts. These metrics are more useful for tracking aerobic activities like running or cycling, but are less insightful in the context of strength training because heart rate is not proportional to effort and load. Strain gages, on the other hand, can help track the specific impact of various strength training exercises. In addition, the Workout app does not offer any ability to capture weights, reps, and sets to calculate muscular loads, so there is much Apple could do to improve strength training tracking with the Apple Watch.

Article Link: Apple Likely Researching Strain Sensors to Improve Apple Watch Strength Workout Tracking
 
Last edited:

Crowbot

macrumors 68000
May 29, 2018
1,725
3,999
NYC
This is going to be a tough one. I imagine there will have to be some setup before exercising to calibrate the sensor.

Right now, the Calorie calc on my watch gives wildly different readings even though my workout (stationary bike) is consistent between days.
 

surfzen21

macrumors 65816
May 31, 2019
1,070
4,007
New York
This would be great. I find the strength training workout app to be very lacking and the calories burned to be off.

It would be great if this was able to calculate effort and max effort etc. Since I've been working out at home and not a dedicated gym I never go to max weights. It would be nice to see how close I am to that max based on my current workouts.

Hoping they have this dialed in by the time I want to upgrade. Or even better, this may be a reason to upgrade.
 

Octavius8

macrumors 6502a
Oct 25, 2016
864
1,260
What a wasted opportunity has been the apple watch. Basically the same health features since 9 years!. And the way the summaries are presented is very poor.
Polar and Garmin still cant be matched in activity tracking and reporting. The AW is not a serious device, just a notification screen on my wrist.
 

sdz

macrumors 65816
May 28, 2014
1,225
1,552
Europe/Germany
Without a chest strap sensor you can't use the Apple Watch HR sensor during strength training. It is COMPLETELY unreliable and the values are off by a wide margin.
The AW is unable to detect rapid changes in HR (from baseline to peaks) in a short amount of time (typically when you rest and then conduct your weight lifting set)
 

Dble07

macrumors member
Dec 12, 2022
43
31
I would love to see these features come to the watch. Additionally, as mentioned in the article, and in the mean time can we please see some manual tracking metrics in the health app? Bare minimum would like to see something other than waist as a measurement tracked(I.e. biceps, chest, quads, etc.). Would love to also see the ability to “journal” workouts like mentioned in the article. Something streamlined to make tracking body group, weight and reps stupid fast and simple to track. Would be amazing to see that have a trends feature, and maybe the ability to remind you it is time to increase reps/weight.
 

ScubaCinci

macrumors 68000
Jul 11, 2008
1,646
289
OH
How about enhanced sensors that let it work with tattoos? I recently got a sleeve not realizing this is an issue. Mine is basically black/grey in the area where the watch sits. It locks immediately after unlocking and the screen goes off.
 

noannualfee

macrumors newbie
Oct 6, 2022
17
24
Wow, haven't been really impressed with the Apple Watch but if they can measure strain, that would be an engineering marvel. They'd have to find a way to grab various bits of data like valsalva maneuver, intracranial/abdominal pressure, blood pressure, heart rate and make a measurable unit out of it.
 

4odomi

Cancelled
Jan 19, 2018
1,203
1,218


Apple is researching strain gauge sensors, likely in an effort to improve the Apple Watch's strength training capabilities, according to a recent job listing (via MyHealthyApple).

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

The job listing from Apple's Health Technologies team seeks engineers with "exposure to analog electronics, preferably mechatronic systems utilizing actuators, temperature sensors, strain gauges, and photodiodes." The candidate will help design, build, test, and troubleshoot early prototype health hardware. Apple is presumably conducting this biomechanics research and development in relation to the Apple Watch.

The Apple Watch already contains an actuator, temperature sensor, and photodiodes, but it does not have a strain gauge. Strain gauges measure variations in electrical resistance when force is applied. They are already widely used in motion-tracking and physiological monitoring systems. Researchers have demonstrated how a single, non-invasive strain sensor placed on the wrist can accurately measure the full range of strains on human skin, as well as monitor blood pressure – another health feature rumored for future Apple Watch models.

The Apple Watch can only track active calories, time, and heart rate during strength training workouts. These metrics are more useful for tracking aerobic activities like running or cycling, but are less insightful in the context of strength training because heart rate is not proportional to effort and load. Strain gauges, on the other hand, can help track the specific impact of various strength training exercises. In addition, the Workout app does not offer any ability to capture weights, reps, and sets to calculate muscular loads, so there is much Apple could do to improve strength training tracking with the Apple Watch.

Article Link: Apple Likely Researching Strain Sensors to Improve Apple Watch Strength Workout Tracking
Agreed, it's definitely needed, as is a BMI sensor.
I think the blood sugar sensor would also be great, however can't see how it can ever be anywhere near accurate enough and could cause more problems than solve for existing diabetics, however I'm sure it would help undiagnosed diabetics, which would be huge.
 

diamornte

macrumors 6502
Apr 27, 2009
419
434
What a wasted opportunity has been the apple watch. Basically the same health features since 9 years!. And the way the summaries are presented is very poor.
Polar and Garmin still cant be matched in activity tracking and reporting. The AW is not a serious device, just a notification screen on my wrist.
It's as if you didn't read the article and only came to complain.
 
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