Opinion: That’s Not A Heart Rate Monitor

T-Will

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 8, 2008
997
387
Ever since the Apple Watch reveal, when Tim Cook was doing an interview and said the watch still has a few secretive things, my thinking was it would contain more than a heart rate sensor: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?p=19635110&highlight=tim+cook#post19635110 And now this article which makes some great points. Pretty exciting stuff!

Watchaware said:
Big whoop, right? I mean, these things are a dime a dozen [heart rate sensors]. Polar’s been making them for a decade, and every fitness tracker this side of the last couple years has them playing front back and center. The tech’s available, cheap, not terribly unreliable, and small enough to slap into any wearable worth its salt (ostensibly from your sweat). So why is the Apple Watch heart rate sensor so big? And why is Apple making such a big fuss about it?

Because that’s not really what it is.
http://watchaware.com/post/5943/opinion-thats-not-a-heart-rate-monitor
 

Night Spring

macrumors G5
Jul 17, 2008
13,064
5,083
Of course it's not just the heart rate motor. It's also the charging port, and the taptic engine for tapping your wrist. Actually, my guess is that most of that thing on the back is the taptic engine.
 

Rogifan

macrumors Core
Nov 14, 2011
20,643
22,269
Of course it's not just the heart rate motor. It's also the charging port, and the taptic engine for tapping your wrist. Actually, my guess is that most of that thing on the back is the taptic engine.
So the 4 circles on the back of the device are the taptic engine?
 

T-Will

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 8, 2008
997
387
That makes sense, but why would it have 4 giant sensors when the typical heart monitor is 2 tiny LED lights (there's a good comparison in the article)? I guess it could be because Apple figured out a way to make the heart rate sensor more accurate. But I still wonder what might be hiding right in front of us. Guess we will know Monday. :D
 

Supermallet

macrumors 65816
Sep 19, 2014
1,307
647
Of course it's not just the heart rate motor. It's also the charging port, and the taptic engine for tapping your wrist. Actually, my guess is that most of that thing on the back is the taptic engine.
Yeah, I'm not holding my breath on it being an optical glucometer, etc.
 

Night Spring

macrumors G5
Jul 17, 2008
13,064
5,083
So the 4 circles on the back of the device are the taptic engine?
Not that I'm an engineer or anything, but yeah, that's what I always thought. Anybody with actual engineering expertise here who can offer an opinion?
 

Rogifan

macrumors Core
Nov 14, 2011
20,643
22,269
Not that I'm an engineer or anything, but yeah, that's what I always thought. Anybody with actual engineering expertise here who can offer an opinion?
Yeah I'm not either so all of this is Greek to me ha!
 

cleirac

macrumors 6502
May 7, 2014
463
0
Nobody knows outside of Apple engineers & Apple (Watch) Team because it is a new Apple invention. ;)

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Now that is the actual Taptic Engine hardware.
 

troop231

macrumors 603
Jan 20, 2010
5,395
144
Two of the four circles are the IR LEDs, and the other two are the actual optical sensors.
 

Cashmonee

macrumors 65816
May 27, 2006
1,168
832
Because it will work very well.
It would have to be the first. None of the wrist worn heart rate sensors have been accurate to this point. I am skeptical that Apple's will fair any better.

I would also suspect the stuff on the back is for the taptic feedback.
 

cleirac

macrumors 6502
May 7, 2014
463
0
Gosh, being an Apple fan and following this Apple Watch saga, this article is the most fascinating and the most compelling yet about the AW. I hope the author nailed it. No idea who he/she is. *Hmmm, Andy Faust, thank you, regardless, made my day!*
 

Seannyb

macrumors member
Sep 26, 2012
98
2
Oregon
Where is that picture from? And how does that tap your wrist?
apple.com/watch/technology/

Toward the bottom of that page...

"We found a way to give technology a more human touch. Literally.
It’s called the Taptic Engine, a linear actuator inside Apple Watch that produces haptic feedback. In less technical terms, it taps you on the wrist. Whenever you receive an alert or notification, or perform a function like turning the Digital Crown or pressing down on the display, you feel a tactile sensation that’s recognizably different for each kind of interaction. Combined with subtle audio cues from the specially engineered speaker driver, the Taptic Engine creates a discreet, sophisticated, and nuanced experience by engaging more of your senses. It also enables some entirely new, intimate ways for you to communicate with other Apple Watch wearers. You can get someone’s attention with a gentle tap. Or even send something as personal as your heartbeat."
 

al256

macrumors 6502a
Jun 7, 2001
839
173
Ever since the Apple Watch reveal, when Tim Cook was doing an interview and said the watch still has a few secretive things, my thinking was it would contain more than a heart rate sensor: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?p=19635110&highlight=tim+cook#post19635110 And now this article which makes some great points. Pretty exciting stuff!


http://watchaware.com/post/5943/opinion-thats-not-a-heart-rate-monitor
That was a very interesting read. Thank you for sharing it.

The pivotal issue is, did Apple leave the ceramic/composite back as-is from their earlier work OR did they include it because there are yet to be announced sensors/features.

I can honestly see this going either way. But then again, I'm not buying this watch for its health monitoring.
 

Rogifan

macrumors Core
Nov 14, 2011
20,643
22,269
It would have to be the first. None of the wrist worn heart rate sensors have been accurate to this point. I am skeptical that Apple's will fair any better.

I would also suspect the stuff on the back is for the taptic feedback.
Skeptical because the tech isn't ready yet or for some other reason?
 

Defender2010

macrumors 68040
Jun 6, 2010
3,003
877
England
It would have to be the first. None of the wrist worn heart rate sensors have been accurate to this point. I am skeptical that Apple's will fair any better.

I would also suspect the stuff on the back is for the taptic feedback.
What do you mean, "for the tactic feedback"? The linear actuator pulses in the video - and I'm guessing any combination of pulses and minute vibration - obviously different from the iPhone. I don't think the back will have anything to do with it besides making contact between the watch and your wrist. The pulse will seem like its coming from inside the watch, not only on the back. It doesn't move or "tap" you. So, I don't see how the 4 lens can relate to tactic feedback. There is an article somewhere as to what it feels like, I'll have a look...

This is a nice read: http://www.macworld.com/article/2690729/taptic-haptics-and-the-body-fantastic-the-real-apple-watch-revolution.html
 

cleirac

macrumors 6502
May 7, 2014
463
0
What do you mean, "for the tactic feedback"? The linear actuator pulses in the video - and I'm guessing any combination of pulses and minute vibration - obviously different from the iPhone. I don't think the back will have anything to do with it besides making contact between the watch and your wrist. The pulse will seem like its coming from inside the watch, not only on the back. It doesn't move or "tap" you. So, I don't see how the 4 lens can relate to tactic feedback. There is an article somewhere as to what it feels like, I'll have a look...

This is a nice read: http://www.macworld.com/article/2690729/taptic-haptics-and-the-body-fantastic-the-real-apple-watch-revolution.html
Yeah, that article from last year was the best until now. Maybe, it will end up as my very best non-fiction out of the gazillion articles/blogs about AW - pre-launch era. :p
 

Cashmonee

macrumors 65816
May 27, 2006
1,168
832
Skeptical because the tech isn't ready yet or for some other reason?
Not only is the tech not there seemingly, but even the marginally good wrist based HRM need to be strapped pretty tightly to the wrist to get a decent reading. Perhaps Apple has cracked it, but they would be the first, and would have achieved it before many others who have far more experience in that realm.
 

Lennyvalentin

macrumors 65816
Apr 25, 2011
1,429
739
I'm curious as to why the LED's appear offset in the circles ?
The pulse sensor uses green optical LEDs AND infra-red LEDs, so I would expect two of the circles on the back to each have a set of optical LED and photoreceptors, and the other two circles to feature IR LEDs and photoreceptors.

The light from each LED is shot out at an angle pointing away from the center of the Watch (which we can tell from looking at the demo pictures), it then passes through a fresnel lens and through the tissues of your body, with some of the light reflecting back through the lens and hitting the corresponding photoreceptor.

Little or no light would make it back to the sensor if one circle would contain a LED and another a photoreceptor; our bodies just isn't all that permeable to light. You'd need an awfully strong lightsource, and the battery couldn't possibly drive it.
 

leventozler

macrumors 6502
Feb 18, 2009
305
106
Polar doesn't have any optical heart rate monitors, but its Bluetooth 4.0 chest sensors work great with iOS 8 & Health app. You pair them directly to your iPhone, Health app logs your HR continuously and other apps (like Nike Running) reads it via Healthkit. Apple could let us use chest sensors when and if more accurate readings are needed.