Apple Patents Watch Band That Can Identify You from Your Wrist

A new survey shows Apple has vaulted to the lead in the market for wearable computing thanks to strong sales of its Apple Watch, the latest of which is seen at a New York retail store
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Apple was granted three patents on Tuesday, one of which could make the band on the Apple Watch able to identify the wearer by creating a thermal image of the skin on the person’s wrist.

One of the patents recently granted to Apple mentions a “wrist biometric sensor” that can be built into the Apple Watch, which would then allow the Watch’s band to build a thermal image of the wearer’s wrist — similar to a fingerprint — by its identifying the specific traits, such as the person’s skin texture and arm hair, according to a report by TechCrunch.

“The wearable electronic device may also include a processor coupled to the wrist biometric sensor and configured to cooperate with the biometric sensing pixels to acquire skin texture pattern images from adjacent portions of the user’s wrist, and perform at least one authentication function based upon the skin texture pattern images,” reads the patent.

A second patent involves an Apple Watch band that is able to self-adjust to the wearer’s wrist, so that if someone’s Watch begins to slide, built-in “tensioners” can tighten or loosen the band.

“In response to a signal to increase the tightness of the band, the tensioner can cause the actuator(s) to increase the tension within the band,” notes the patent.

The third patent describes light-up indicators, which, for example, could notify the wearer when they receive a text — or a meter displaying the distance left before completing their morning run.

“The band has an indicator with a variably and/or progressively illuminable portion,” the patent reads. “The indicator of the band conveys to a user an analog representation of the completion progress of an activity or task tracked by wearable electronic device.”

The report noted that a patent being granted does not automatically mean the features will hit the market, but rather, that the company has found a new possibility to identify consumers while researching and developing concepts for future products, and has decided to “lock down” the ideas.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, on Parler at @alana, and on Instagram.

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