Health

Apple is eyeing quantum dot displays & a wearable healthapalooza

Apple "iWatch" concept by UI designer Todd Hamilton

Above: Apple "iWatch" concept by UI designer Todd Hamilton

Image Credit: Todd Hamilton

What does Apple have up its sleeve? New patent filings and a job listing indicate that the tech giant is eyeing iHealth and quantum dot-enhanced displays.

On Thursday, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published three new patent applications from Apple. They describe quantum dot displays that provide better colors and a wider viewing angle than current screens, using quantum dots. Currently used in televisions, quantum dots are semiconductor nanocrystals that can be made to emit very precise light frequencies, on demand and more efficiently, and could result in better displays for mobile devices.

One of the patents, #20140036536, describes a microelectromechanical (MEMS) shutter module that can handle a quantum dot sheet to more efficiently drive color brightness so that the quantum dots layer can be placed closer to the viewer.

Another patent application, #20140036203, focuses on a proper mixing of colors when quantum dots are employed, achieving uniform distribution by the use of diffusers and prism sheets. And #20140035960 details a backlight dimming control for a display using quantum dots.

Wanted: Physiologist

If and when Apple ever releases an iWatch, a key question is whether it will once again be able to reinvent a category. In addition to possible battery and powering innovations, the company is reportedly looking to essentially brand health and fitness tracking by embedding it in the next major iOS release and featuring it in the iWatch.

9to5 Mac has previously reported that a new Healthbook app will be able to monitor physical performance, store such stats as calories burned and miles walked, monitor vital signs like blood pressure and heart rate, and track medications.

On Thursday, the site added another piece of evidence that such an app – which sounds like it could be more like a new platform for health – is moving into testing. A job listing has been posted but since removed on Apple’s site for a physiologist to “design and run user studies related to cardiovascular fitness and energy expenditure.” Qualifications include experience in designing tests to isolate certain factors such as environments, an understanding of monitoring equipment, and experience with indirect calorimetry. Apple has already made a variety of recent hires of experts in medical sensors and fitness.

Of course, none of these developments mean that Apple will definitely release quantum dot displays or move big time into iHealth. On the other hand, next year at this time you could be watching a very colorful iWatch screen detail all the ways you’re out of shape.

More information:

Apple designs and markets consumer electronics, computer software, and personal computers. The company's best-known hardware products include the Macintosh line of computers, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad. Apple software includes t... read more »

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