We all know how serious Apple is about the impact its devices have on our health. They’ve been consistently providing more ways for us to track our heart rate, sleep, stress, and other vital stats. Most of the technology enabling this, like the blood oxygen sensor, Apple offers only on the Apple Watch.Yes, you do get a very detailed health tracker on iPhone, but that’s all software. Now, we might be getting hints at possible future hardware that could improve the phone’s health tracking capabilities even more.
A patent application titled “Camera attachment and image data processing for temperature measurement” has been revealed. It shows that the American tech giant has been investing in camera technology that would be capable of analyzing an iPhone image to determine the temperature of a subject.
The application states that “given the ubiquitous nature of smartphones, the attachment can be used to convert a smartphone into a temperature measurement device to provide readily accessible temperature measurements. In some embodiments, the attachment is a passive one (without electronics or need for a power supply) and may thereby reduce manufacturing costs and increase availability.”
An image from the patent showing an arrangement of lenses and components that make up the attachment
Doesn’t come in the box
It looks like this innovative technology won’t be an integrated part of the iPhone itself but an attachment that can be added only when it is needed. “For example, in some embodiments, a camera attachment is provided that includes a frame configured to couple with a camera,” the patent mentions.
The frame is explained to be the part that will be carrying all the tech required to determine said temperature. The text goes on to say that “the camera attachment includes a temperature reactive material (TRM) that is coupled with the frame. The frame is configured to position the TRM within the field of view of the camera such that images captured by the camera include at least a portion of the TRM.”
The Apple Watch has been used by medical professionals and has aided them in their work and their ability to track their patient’s health. Similarly, this temperature measuring attachment that the company is looking into sounds like something that could make that whole process even easier.
Let’s not also pretend we don’t notice the connection with the COVID-19 pandemic and the distance rules it’s imposed on society. Many places, from stores to country borders, use devices that can measure temperature from a distance, and Apple’s patent application highly resembles them.