The future is nigh! Or at least one possible future is nigh, if a patent from Apple becomes reality. For the moment, file this under theoretical, next to concept cars and possible technologies, but if the patent that Apple Insider unearthed this week has merit, science fiction just got a little less fiction, and a lot more science.
The patent, entitled “Seamlessly Embedded Heart Rate Monitor”, would be a new slant on biometric thumbprint scanners, but much cooler. The actual science behind it is, well, complicated, to say the least. Basically, the device incorporates high-tech heartbeat sensors, which take your pulse. Once they verify that you have an authorized “cardiac signature,” the device will unlock.
“The durations of particular portions of a user’s heart rhythm, or the relative size of peaks of a user’s electrocardiogram (EKG) can be processed and compared to a stored profile to authenticate a user of the device,” The patent states.
But CIA-style security is not the only use for a heartbeat sensor. The unit could also be used as an exercise tool, a heartbeat monitor for health purposes, and a lie detector! Actually the last one wasn’t listed in the patent specifications, but if it is released, you can be sure there will be an app for that.
Shy of theft-happy Buddhist monks who are able to control their heartbeats through a complex series of meditative techniques, which is an admittedly low proportion of criminals, the biometric heartbeat lock could revolutionize the tech security industry. Anyone that stole a cardiac-locked gadget would need serious equipment and a working knowledge of security coding to begin to unlock it.
Another Apple patent uncovered earlier by Apple Insider, entitled the “Intelligent Power Monitoring” is mentioned in the heartbeat sensor patent, and the two patents could possibly work together.
The title of the second patent refers to a new way to monitor and control the power of a device, which is a useful tool, but nothing surprising. Buried within the patent is another piece of software that is designed to sense your mood and tailor your settings accordingly. Once it begins to recognize your moods and the preferences you have during those moods, it will be able to automatically react to you. Consider it a very expensive and technologically sophisticated mood ring that can access the Internet.
Although the patent does not specifically state how the heartbeat sensor would gather that info – shy of fluctuations in your cardiac rate – the idea is that if you are having a bad day, your iDevice might try to cheer you up with happy music. Or perhaps you are angry and want to revel in that: Your device might crank out loud and aggressive music to suit you, if that is how you set it up. Perhaps one day in the not too distant future, an app will allow a boyfriend to check his girlfriend’s mood via her phone, then he can buy flowers or run for his life as the situation dictates. The possibilities are only as limited as our imaginations.
The future is nigh, and Apple likely has a patent on it. It is important to note that large companies like Apple frequently patent anything and everything anyone can think of, just in case one day, someone, somehow manages to create the things. A patent could become the next big thing, or it could sit in a drawer somewhere, never to be seen again. Either way, it is nice to see that innovation is alive and well.