A new patent application, published on Thursday, shows a wearable device, potentially paired with an Apple Watch, that might be capable of monitoring a user’s blood pressure without the need for any additional peripherals.
This could allow users to measure their blood pressure by using neutral networks and seismocardiogram data, with no need for a blood pressure cuff.
The patent application, titled “Interpretable neural networks for cuffless blood pressure estimation,” explores the use of neural networks to estimate blood pressure using seismocardiogram data. Unlike an electrocardiogram, which relies on electrical signals to monitor a heart rate, a seismocardiogram measures the micro-vibrations produced by the heart beating.
There exists seismocardiogram devices small enough to be considered wearable, though these sensitive systems are typically placed over a user’s sternum to measure minute vibrations in or near the heart. How Apple intends to deploy such a device was not discussed in today’s filing.
Apple’s patent indicates the system would work by using an individually pruned neutral network accepting a seismocardiogram as input. That neural network would then use the data to estimate blood pressure.