December 18, 2018
As reported by Patently Apple, Deep Medi, a Seoul-based tech company founded last year, is preparing to launch a mobile app which would allow users to measure their blood pressure using their smartphone’s camera. Apple has also been developing its Apple Watch technology’s blood pressure measurement software, but, in its current iteration, this technology is reliant on the use of an inflatable cuff.
Apple currently has two patents pending related to blood pressure applications. On October 5, 2017, one of these patent applications was published under number US 2017/0281024 A1 and titled “Wrist Worn Accelerometer for Pulse Transmit Time (PTT) Measurements of Blood Pressure”. The second, published on November 30, 2017 under number US 2017/0340209 A1, is entitled “Blood Pressure Monitoring using a Multi-Function Wrist-Worn Device”. Both patents are premised on the use of a wearable blood pressure cuff in conjunction with the Apple Watch in order to determine a user’s blood pressure.
By contrast, the mobile app to be launched by Deep Medi uses a phone’s camera to optically measure a person’s blood pressure. A user simply places their finger on the camera lens, holds it in place for one minute and then views their blood pressure level. As the CEO of Deep Medi, Lee Kwang-jin, recently told The Korea Herald: “[…] few people own blood pressure monitors at home. But our app would change this situation by enabling measurements to be made by anyone, anywhere, anytime.” Deep Medi is seeking to have its software approved as a medical device by both the US Food and Drug Administration and Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety.
Both Deep Medi and Apple have fostered relationships with insurance providers. Apple has been affiliated with Manulife’s Vitality Program and Deep Medi is now in talks with MetLife to create insurance packages based on the information collected through its software. Both companies are taking positive steps towards the introduction of simpler methods of blood pressure measurement for consumers but the impact that Deep Medi may have on Apple’s progress in the space remains to be seen.
Authors: Alexandra Murray and Amanda Bertucci