An Apple Watch patent granted today describes the inclusion of one or more cameras capable of photographing the user, hinting at Face ID on the Watch.

The patent also describes how sensors in a smart band could be used to analyze sports performance in such activities as football, baseball, and golf…

The patent application was originally made in September 2017, and was granted today.

The main focus is on the smart band, explaining how sensors could be used for sports coaching. In baseball or golf, for example, strain gauges could be used to analyze the grip, and accelerometers and barometric sensors used to analyze the swing.

The strain gauges can be coupled with one or more other types of sensors to provide analysis and user feedback. FIG. 5 illustrates an exemplary method for providing analysis and feedback to a user regarding the user’s performance according to examples of the disclosure. The device can determine the axial orientation on the user’s wrist (step 552 of process 550). The user can grip an instrument. In some examples, the instrument can be a sports instrument (e.g., golf club, baseball bat, etc.)(step 554 of process 550). The strain gauges can be used to determine how tightly the user is gripping the sports instrument (step 556 of process 550). The user may then proceed to follow through with a specific sports motion (e.g., swinging the golf club or throwing a football) (step 558 of process 550). The motion sensors (e.g., accelerometer 342 or barometric sensors 364 of FIG. 3) can measure the user’s performance in terms of, for example, acceleration, trajectory of the sports instrument, etc. (step 560 of process 550). The device’s controller can analyze the user’s grip and performance by comparing the measured and determined information to ideal characteristics (e.g., stored in memory), for example (step 562 of process 550). From the comparison, the device can provide a simulation of the user’s performance and/or feedback to the user on how to improve (step 564 of process 550).

But the patent also references the inclusion of cameras into the Watch face. This describes things like capturing barcodes or QR codes, but also images of the user. The selfie camera(s) might be used for video calls or for Face ID.

Camera 329 can include, for example, a compact digital camera that includes an image sensor such as a CMOS sensor and optical components (e.g., lenses) arranged to focus an image onto the image sensor, along with control logic operable to use the imaging components to capture and store still and/or video images. Images can be stored, for example, in storage subsystem 304 and/or transmitted by wearable device 300 to other devices for storage. Depending on implementation, the optical components can provide fixed focal distance or variable focal distance. In some examples, with variable focal distance, autofocus can be provided. In some examples, camera 329 can be disposed along an edge of the face member (e.g., top edge of face member 304 of FIG. 1) and oriented to allow a user to capture images of nearby objects in the environment, such as a bar code or QR code. In some examples, camera 329 can be disposed on the front surface of face member 304 (e.g., to capture images of the user). Any number of cameras can be provided, depending on the implementation.

Additionally, today’s publication echoes an earlier Apple Watch patent describing how sensors in a smart band could be used to recognize and authenticate the user through something we might call “Wrist ID.”

Via Patently Apple

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Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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