A patent application published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has revived speculation that a long-rumored smartwatch from Microsoft is in the works. The documents, released last week, show a wearable device with built-in apps for measuring heart rate and calorie burn.
The patent application, spotted by Patent Bolt, highlights a Microsoft invention called a “Wearable Personal Information System.” Basically, it’s the whole watch minus the band. Through the invention, Microsoft claims to have solved two common problems with current smartwatches: the soiling of devices because of perspiration and the lack of real-time, biometric feedback while exercising.
To make cleaning the device easier, Microsoft incorporated a removable body to the design, allowing users to wash the band after exercising. While wiping off the grime of the day’s activities from the band, the removable body can be connected to a special dock for charging and connecting to a computer.
The personal information system shows three symbols:
- Running: The running function tracks your current run length through the use of a built-in GPS unit.
- Heart: The heart function displays the user’s current pulse rate.
- Fire: The fire icon displays an estimate of the calories burned while working out.
Microsoft points out that the advantage of the wearable personal information system is that it presents users with more information as the workout is happening. Currently, to get biometric feedback while exercising, people have to wear external heartbeat sensors such as chest straps.
If Microsoft follows through with a smartwatch, it would make for some interesting jockeying in the fledgling wearable devices market. However, this is still not a sure thing. Just because there’s a Microsoft patent out there, doesn’t mean that the company will invest in it. Back in 2009, Microsoft filed a patent for a music player that was meant for its Zune brand. The device, which was meant to compete with the iPod Nano, was never released.