Future MacBooks could monitor your health while you type

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MacBook biosensor
Apple has new ideas on how to help you track your health.
Illustration: Apple

Not a watch wearer? You may be missing out on the health benefits of the Apple Watch.

But Apple may bring a biosensor to future MacBooks that take health readings similar to its top-selling smartwatch.

Apple filed a patent application for an integrated bio-sensor that was published today by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

MacBook biosensor on the drawing board

The biosensor could go on any device, however, the parent application focuses on the keyboard of a MacBook. A drawing included with the application shows a biosensor positioned to the right of the trackpad.

With each generation of the watch, Apple brings more health benefits, including a pulse monitor and an ECG feature, which some watch wearers say has alert them to a potentially life-threatening heart ailment.

Apple has ramped up efforts to be a key player in healthcare. It has a team of several doctors and former healthcare executives brainstorming and developing health applications for personal technology.

A MacBook biosensor would be located on an area of the keyboard where the wrist naturally rests and could determine respiration, blood pressure and heart rate. It would work similarly to photoplethysmography on the watch

“In particular, the biosensor may be integrated into an enclosure of a notebook computer allowing the biosensor to measure a condition of the user while the device is in use,” the application reads. “(The) device may be configured to operate the sensor in a first mode to detect the proximity of the user with respect to the device and to operate the same sensor in another mode to sense a physiological condition or determine a health metric associated with the user.”

Apple also envisions the sensor being able to detect the presence of the user, which could then light up the keyboard or prevent it from going to sleep.

Source: AppleInsider