November 19, 2019
As reported by TechCrunch, Apple Inc. (“Apple”) was recently granted three patents, all of which were focused on improving the functionality of its Apple Watch through innovations in its watchband. If the technology claimed within the patents is included in the next edition of the Apple Watch, your smartwatch may get even smarter.
Apple’s first patent includes claims for technology built into the Watch or its band that could use infrared sensors to build a thermal image of the wearer’s wrist and its identifying traits to determine who is wearing it. The technology would allow the watchband to work similarly to a fingerprint scanner, except on the wearer’s wrist. Given that the Apple Watch does not currently include any biometrics related to unlocking the device, a sensor in the band could make the unlocking process automatic, easing the process for users.
The second patent includes claims for technology that could adjust itself automatically. The technology would detect when the Watch is sliding, and tensioners in the device could loosen or tighten the band as necessary.
Finally, Apple’s third patent includes claims for technology related to built-in light indicators on the watchband, which could alert the wearer to incoming texts or phone calls without requiring the entire device to power up.
Authors: Jaclyn Tilak and Duncan Lurie