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The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published an invention today that suggests the next Apple Watch could identify its owner simply by checking their heart rate.

Apple's patent application is titled "User identification system based on plethysmography" and describes how a pulse oximeter is used to determine the biometric signature of a user's cardio rhythms. This data could then be used to identify the wearer and unlock the watch in a manner similar to Touch ID on the iPhone.

The system works similarly to existing monitors, by projecting light on the user's skin and measuring how much of it is absorbed and reflected back to the device. The measurement can then be used to determine the amount of blood present in the vasculature. According to the patent, the data gathered by the two photosensors is either stored or compared against previously saved information to positively identify the user.

In an associated patent also published today, the invention is extended to take in data from motion sensors like accelerometers and gyroscopes to determine user movement. Certain gestures, for example raising the device from waist height to head height, trigger the authentication process.

AppleInsider notes that the system could replace Touch ID during Apple Pay payments and further reduce the watch's reliance on iPhone, although it's unclear if heart rate data can be a unique enough identifier to ensure the same level of security.

Article Link: The Next Generation Apple Watch Could Identify Users by Their Heart Rate
 
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BrodieApple

macrumors 6502
Aug 16, 2015
280
417
I like it! Probably the only inconvenience of my Watch is putting the passcode in on that tiny screen but even that hardly bothers me.
 

cincinnatils1

macrumors newbie
Jan 5, 2016
3
22
AppleInsider notes that the system could replace Touch ID during Apple Pay payments and further reduce the watch's reliance on iPhone, although it's unclear if heart rate data can be a unique enough identifier to ensure the same level of security.

I see no way this reduces the watch's reliance on iPhone. Please explain.
 

timmyh

Contributing Editor
Mar 18, 2016
208
691
Edinburgh, UK
I see no way this reduces the watch's reliance on iPhone. Please explain.

As I understand it, if you don't like using a passcode on your watch the only other way to lock/unlock it is to link it to your iPhone's Touch ID/passcode lock. With this invention you wouldn't need to do either.
 
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gucciipad

macrumors member
Jun 19, 2010
49
0
I like it! Probably the only inconvenience of my Watch is putting the passcode in on that tiny screen but even that hardly bothers me.

I don't have to type in my password. When I have my watch on my wrist the watch unlocks. When it's off my wrist there is a password.
 

keysofanxiety

macrumors G3
Nov 23, 2011
9,534
25,295
You would be amazed at the technology our secret space programs keep from us. Stuff we already have, things us normal people won't ever get to experience.

Your profile picture and signature are both perfect for what you said. :D

"The truth is out there, Scully!!"
 
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Fozziebear71

macrumors 6502a
Sep 23, 2014
552
1,293
I would just like to be able to buy this generation of the Apple Watch that was "released" more than a month ago.

Pathetic, Apple, pathetic.
 

manu chao

macrumors 604
Jul 30, 2003
7,187
3,014
this is just NOT possible. Your heart rate can change a lot in many normal and abnormal conditions. I call this BS.
What this sensor measures is how you blood vessels expand as a pressure pulse is travelling through your veins when the heart contracts. The blood pressure (and thus the size of the blood vessel) follows a periodic fluctuation not unlike a sine curve. The heart rate is given by only looking at the frequency of that periodic fluctuation. Studying the whole shape of the curve gives you much more information than just looking at the frequency.
 
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sailingjason

macrumors newbie
Jul 17, 2011
17
7
Toronto
The technology that would be really cool is voice recognition which confirms your identity, so when you say "hey Siri" you don't also have to put in your password or use touch ID and the feature can be truly hands free. ( useful for washing dishes, doing repairs, etc.)
 

NT1440

macrumors G5
May 18, 2008
12,999
16,944
this is just NOT possible. Your heart rate can change a lot in many normal and abnormal conditions. I call this BS.
But your heartbeat signature is unique. This isn't about heart rate, it's about the extremely minute differences in how every persons heart beats, it's as identifying as a fingerprint.
 

BMcCoy

macrumors 68000
Jun 24, 2010
1,698
3,382
But your heartbeat signature is unique. This isn't about heart rate, it's about the extremely minute differences in how every persons heart beats, it's as identifying as a fingerprint.

Except it's not.
It's nowhere near as individual as a fingerprint.
And fingerprints don't change moment-to-moment depending on your breathing, activity, and environment.

Yeah, something not adding up here...!
 
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NT1440

macrumors G5
May 18, 2008
12,999
16,944
Except it's not.
It's nowhere near as individual as a fingerprint.
And fingerprints don't change moment-to-moment depending on your breathing, activity, and environment.

Yeah, something not adding up here...!
You don't understand micro palpitations do you? The way your heart operates doesn't change moment-to-moment.

https://www.wired.com/insights/2014/06/heartbeat-may-soon-password/

"
Yury: I didn’t realize that people’s heartbeats are different. Is the heartbeat really a reliable biometric?

D’Souza: Yes, it is! Everybody’s got a unique heartbeat. It’s based on the size and shape of your heart and the orientation of your valves, your physiology. It doesn’t change unless you have a major cardiac event like a heart attack.

Yury: What about when you’re nervous and your heart rate goes up? Will it still work?

D’Souza: Your heart can beat faster but electrically your beats look the same. So, whether it beats faster or slower, it doesn’t really matter. It’s really about the shape of the waves, and what that signal looks like when it comes off your heart.
"
 
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