Sensors in future Apple devices could warn users of environmental hazards

Sensors in future Apple devices could warn users of environmental hazards
When it comes to innovation, there are not many smartphone manufacturers that can compete with Apple. While next year's 10th anniversary of the iPhone can be the cause of much speculation regarding possible new features, a patent application to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office submitted by Tim Cook & Co. on Thursday might have just given us an insight on what the company is planning to surprise us with beyond 2017.

The application specifies a technique by which an environmental sensor could be placed into a device speaker cavity. This approach would allow such components to have a part of them exposed in order to sample material and at the same time they would be relatively protected by the housing of the device.

The diaphragm located in the speaker cavity or port would use sensor circuitry to draw in, capture and expel various sampling materials such as air and water. Having a speaker system that drives out water is nothing new to the owners of the Apple Watch Series 2, however, the motions of the diaphragm could also be used to refresh the sample material in order to ensure more accurate readings by preventing stagnancy.

Apple also describes a plethora of different components that can be used in this sensor configuration, including an oxygen sensor, a biological substance sensor, a temperature sensor, a carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide sensors, an ozone sensor, a humidity sensor, various gas sensors and more.

While it is not exactly clear which devices would incorporate this technology or when (if ever) would Apple decide to mass produce it for consumers, the potential benefits of having such features in your phone or watch simply can't be ignored.

Host devices could be configured to take readings from these sensors and issue notifications to users after the data analysis has been complete. For example, if a person possessing such a gadget enters an area with a high concentration of dangerous gasses, the device would issue an alarm which could potentially save that person's life. Moreover, if this technology catches on and becomes an integral part of the smartphone/watch of tomorrow, scientists would be able to gather data much more accurately through crowdsourcing.

Having such specific, real-time information could not only let people with asthma know which areas to avoid on any given day, but would also give researchers a better picture of the location, reason and time at which pollution happens, which is important when taking steps to reduce its effect on our environment.

source: US Patent & Trademark Office via AppleInsider



1. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Hmmmm, finally thinking about the Chinese and Russian population I see.

10. Martin_Cooper

Posts: 1774; Member since: Jul 30, 2013

Yes cause USA is known for great air quality in its big cities. The pollution in LA is horrible and as it is to several other cities in USA.

12. sissy246

Posts: 7129; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

Why I got the heck out of there and California. I now live in a state where the air is great, you can see for mile because the pollution is very minimal and I have no one living next to me.

2. kumarabhishek591

Posts: 153; Member since: Feb 22, 2014

Or they may give a sensors enabled small device along with iphone 8. Which will cost 100$ and a type c connector which will cost 50$. typical apple

3. submar

Posts: 713; Member since: Sep 19, 2014

"When it comes to innovation, there are not many smartphone manufacturers that can compete with Apple." Bwahahahahahahaha

7. sissy246

Posts: 7129; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

LOL I was going to post that too. Totally bull S**T

11. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

It says not many, which is true. A few of the big ones do, but there are a lot of smartphone manufacturers that just put current tech in their devices without implementing anything really new.

13. steodoreben

Posts: 379; Member since: Sep 26, 2013

But Apple is years behind. LOL. XD

4. LanjaKodaka

Posts: 219; Member since: Sep 27, 2016

Apple hardly does any new innovation. It took them many years to get their phones waterproof,have dual camers and play music on two speaker setup. Wait, did Android OEM's offer these a couple of years ago ?

5. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

btw, did we just forget about what Tim say about iPhone7.. he said it will have "things you don't know you need today" (​-iPhones-will-have-things-you-dont-know-you-need-t​oday_id80711) but then there are totally no article to answer that, even after iPhone7 release

6. GreenMan

Posts: 2698; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

Aye, we are heading towards a world that will look dangerously close to the world you might find in "Mad Max Universe"... I loved Mad Max as a young man, as I saw it as a fiction... but when I watched the fourth and the latest installment, it send chills down my spine... I said to myself: "We're almost there"... Why, you ask? Well, we live in a world where our leaders are violent, support torture, support rape & merciless mass killing of children with certain beliefs about religion... Leaders who are a symbol of arrogance and pride and possess a despicable behavior against women, now commands the largest army in the world... The largest and the deadliest nuclear arsenal Wild World, eh? I wish I wasn't alive to see all this... Well, Oh well...

8. sissy246

Posts: 7129; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

Love the Mad Max movies. Bet I have seen all of them but the new one a dozen times.

9. JC557

Posts: 1926; Member since: Dec 07, 2011

I was thinking of creating a Moto Mod for that purpose as I work with a lot of hazardous chemicals from the lab to out in the field.

14. gersont1000

Posts: 473; Member since: Mar 13, 2012

"When it comes to innovation, there are not many smartphone manufacturers that can compete with Apple" LLLLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

15. gdawilson

Posts: 299; Member since: Jul 21, 2014

"When it comes to innovation, there are not many smartphone manufacturers that can compete with Apple." What? Wow, such a huge bias Plamen D. How much has Apple paid you to be biased? Apple hasn't had anything innovative since the original iPhone. Year after year the device hardly changes - new camera, and processor - but hardly anything innovative. Look at LG and Moto; for instance, they have customizable accessories to geek out your phone. That's innovation...

16. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

Oh please no, please no, we already have enough people screaming up about stuff they have no idea off when it shows up on their screen telling them that there's dihydrogen monoxide in their water. This is only going to make it a million times worse, please, no, just no.

17. fiji.siv

Posts: 95; Member since: Nov 25, 2015

I don't see why Apple would want to expose themselves to the liability of a faulty sensor. When a phone can't take a good picture, oh well. When a phone doesn't accurately measure carbon monoxide and you have families suing, then Apple has a problem.

18. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

Similar to their IP67 water resistance rating disclaimer, where they say "water damage not covered under warranty", they'll probably have a disclaimer saying "we're not liable if sensor fails to function"...

19. SailfishOS

Posts: 109; Member since: Nov 06, 2016

Lmaoooo... Stopped reading when you had Apple & innovation in the same phrase. Waiting on Nokia's camera graphene sensors tho.

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