New Patent Suggests Future Apple Watches Could Warn You of Imminent Dangers in Your Environment

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In the future, your iPhone or Apple Watch might be able to warn you of invisible dangers in your environment.

Apple filed for a patent Thursday for a method to embed an environmental sensor suite in a device’s speaker enclosure, which could sample gas or liquid from a device’s surroundings. The patent went on to say that the device could use the data to monitor present environmental conditions, track changes, and even provide alerts to the device’s user in cases of potential danger.

Such a sensor suite could include components that monitor a variety of things — include volatile organic compounds, particulates, carbon monoxide, oxygen and ozone levels, humidity, moisture and chemical or biological substances, according to Apple’s patent. If implemented correctly, this could allow an iPhone or Apple Watch of the future to be your first line of defense when in potentially threatening environmental situations.

That means that the iPhone of the future could send you an alert notification if it detects a dangerous level of carbon monoxide in the air around you. If applied to an Apple Watch, Cupertino’s flagship wearable could vibrate and warn you to avoid strenuous activity if it detects high ozone levels in your environment.

Of course, installing a sensor suite of this nature in a device isn’t as easy as it sounds, as AppleInsider points out. While sensors for acceleration, inertia and position — like the ones that already exist on Apple devices — can be embedded deep within a phone, air or liquid sensors must be at least partially exposed to the elements. That presents a problem, as those types of conditions don’t typically play nice with sensitive electronic components.

Hence Apple’s patent, which proposes putting the sensor in a device’s speaker port. There, a sensor suite could be exposed to the elements without risk of damage, as the speaker cavities are already specifically designed to weather the elements. Additionally, movement of a diaphragm within the speaker cavity could help circulate the air or water being sampled, increasing the sensor’s accuracy, Apple’s patent read.

Of course, since this is only a patent application, there’s no guarantee that Apple will ever use this technology in an existing or upcoming device. But the technology and features that the patent describes is certainly innovative — and it would be a welcome addition to any Apple device.

Featured Image: Veniamin Geskin

[The information provided in this article has NOT been confirmed by Apple and may be speculation. Provided details may not be factual. Take all rumors, tech or otherwise, with a grain of salt.]

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