Never one to rest on its laurels, Apple has reportedly been awarded 66 new patents by the United States Patent and Trademark Office this week. While some cover a few new Apple Watch designs presumably making their debut in the next few years, perhaps the most intriguing of the patents surround the company’s unique vision for smoke detector tech.
An idea circulating among Apple brass for the better part of the last two years, the patent essentially covers an invention which uses network electronic devices to help sense the smoke from fires. In other words, an iPhone — not a traditional smoke detector — will soon alert you (and your neighbors) to your burning dinner if Apple has its way.
Jokes aside, Apple’s iDevice-as-smoke-detector plan is wildly inventive. Devised to operate within a smart home system (a la its HomeKit), the original patent depicted a house full of Apple products that could all be utilized to not just detect smoke from a fire, but outfit to call 911 and supply emergency services. Additionally, the setup could also communicate the number of people located in a burning home and their exact location within said home, while also working in tandem with third-party fire detectors. Unsurprisingly, patent illustrations showed the new tech’s integration into a presumed future edition of the Apple Watch.
Like a “why didn’t I think of that?” moment, Apple’s focus on revolutionizing the smoke detecting industry stems from a desire to improve on the areas where detectors fail most: the fact they typically remain in fixed positions and offer a severe lack of information to first responders.
Hence, Apple’s answer to equip iPhones, iMacs, iPads, and other devices with the capability to monitor a user’s home for smoke and issue alerts should an emergency arise. Also included in Apple’s patent is the ability for its devices to activate any potential fire suppression tools, emit audible sounds to warn those nearby while also alerting other nearby electronic devices.
Credit for Apple’s newfangled invention was doled out to Paul Puskarich, who’s name was originally attached to an earlier patent filed during the first half of 2013. However, it wasn’t until this week that the Patent and Trademark Office officially signed off on the patent, formally allowing Apple to move forward with its iSmoke device (name not confirmed). It’s currently unknown when Apple plans to unveil additional details of its smoke-sensing tech, but with an annual September event (likely) right around the corner, fans of the tech giant might not have to wait much longer.