Image: Andres Jasso
Earlier today, the US Patent & Trademark Office granted Apple a patent that allows the company to integrate sensors in future Apple Watch and iPhone models that can detect harmful, poisonous gases, like carbon monoxide. Here’s everything we know so far.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is considered a ‘silent killer’ due to its odorless, tasteless, and invisible properties, which make it very deadly to humans and animals.
Originally filed on July 20th, 2018, the patent describes a “miniature gas sensing device includes a silicon-based substrate embedded with multiple first heating elements.”
In the images above from Patently Apple, “FIG. 2 is a schematic diagram illustrating an example of a miniature gas sensing device encased in an enclosure; FIG. 3A is a top view and a cross-sectional schematic diagram illustrating an example of a miniature gas sensing device encased in an enclosure.”
Furthermore, “Apple’s patent claim #9 points to a “target gas consisting of at least one of ozone (O.sub.3), nitrogen dioxide (NO.sub.2), nitrogen monoxide (NO), sulfur dioxide (SO.sub.2), carbon monoxide (CO), methane (CH.sub.4), and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and wherein the components of a gas mixture other than the target gas comprises poisoning species including siloxanes, sulfates, phosphates and chlorides, and/or interfering species such as water vapor.”
According to numerous reports, in order to add the sensors, Apple will be required to add an additional chassis opening like a microphone hole — something much of the industry, including Apple, are staying away from to achieve a polished look. If done properly, I highly doubt it would be an issue, and the only concern would be it affecting IP68 water-resistance features of the Apple Watch and iPhone.
The Patent Number is 20190025271, and you can read the patent here. Apple has credited Miaolei Yan and Roberto M. Ribeiro as the inventors.