Apple patent shows woven electric fabric that could be used for healthcare

Apple says the fabric could be 'desirable to form bags, furniture, clothing, and other items.'


An Apple patent application suggests the company wants to create “fabric with embedded electrical components,” which could be a signal into what the company wants to create in the future.

The patent, which was initially filed on August 20th, 2015, with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), gives some detail into how electrical components would be woven into the fabric. The patent was made public on January 10th, 2019.

“A fabric-based item may include fabric such as a woven fabric having insulating and conductive yarns or other strands of material. The conductive yarns may form signal paths. Electrical components can be embedded within pockets in the fabric,” the patent reads.

It adds that the electrical device may be a “light-emitting diode, a sensor, or an actuator, or other electrical devices.”

The patent also said that this type of material could be “desirable to form bags, furniture, clothing, and other items.”

“Fabric-based items generally do not include electrical components. It may be desirable, however, to incorporate electrical components into a fabric-based item to provide a user of a fabric-based item with enhanced functionality,” the patent reads.

While it should be recognized that Apple files many patents and some of these patents could mean nothing, Apple Insider reported on January 10th, 2019 that this specific patent could be used to develop many realistic tech devices.

The article said that the patent could be used to create a “headband containing health tracking sensors, or a hat capable of playing music through built-in earphones.”

The patent also adds there could be the use of displays and LEDs, which Apple Insider said could mean users “being presented with information without needing to look at their mobile phones.”

This is also not the first patent to show Apple’s interest in using smart fabrics. On January 2nd, another new patent showed continued research into a smart fabric.

Earlier last year, the USPTO granted the tech giant a patent for a garment that would aid individuals with visual impairments navigate without the help of a walking cane or guide dog.

Similarly, late last month Apple secured a patent for sensors that could be integrated into a garment like a glove and subsequently monitor health vitals like blood pressure.

Whether or not this patent could be related health monitoring devices is still unknown, but if it is, we might find out sometime this year.

On January 9th, 2019, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook said the tech giant plans to launch new health-related services later this year.

In an interview on January 8th, 2019 with CNBC’s Mad Money, Cook said Apple has been working on these new services “for multiple years.”

An example of Apple’s healthcare services includes the latest electrocardiogram-equipped (ECG) Apple Watch Series 4. The dedicated ECG app is the first of its kind in a consumer wearable and is expected to be released later this year, according to Apple. Though a Canadian release is still in the process as Apple is working with Health Canada to bring the functionality to the Canadian market.

“We are taking what has been with the institution and empowering the individual to manage their health. And we’re just at the front end of this,” Cook said in the interview. “But I do think, looking back, in the future, you will answer that question: Apple’s most important contribution to mankind has been in health.”

Source: Apple Insider