Friday, May 24, 2024

New Patent by Apple Might Soon Allow Users to Detect Airborne Allergens and Toxicants

A recent patent filing discovered by AppleInsider indicates that the ability to detect air pollution, pollen and even poisonous gas, may be built in future iPhones.

The filing illustrates an Apple-designed method of accurately sensing the air using a combination of lasers and other sensors.

Particle Matter Sensors

The patent granted to Apple is entitled “Particle matter sensors for portable electronic devices.” It describes a feature that can be mounted in its devices that will allow those devices to use three lasers to accurately read particles in the air.

Three laser light sources, three total-internal-reflection lenses, and photodiodes are used to collect light signals in the Apple air monitoring proposal. Light emitted by the lasers is fed through the lenses, as AppleInsider points out, where they are mirrored in the direction of a receiving sensor.

Importantly, the light sensors and light sources will be in the same position to bounce the light back to the point of origin.

This will suggest that Apple will not need to decide a light destination point and will save itself from having to position sensor detection far from the emitter, creating a more compact design.

Detecting Air quality in Three-Dimensional Space

To calculate the particulate count in the air, the device will effectively detect the shift in optical power emitted by each of the lasers. Using three laser beams helps the device to read particulate counts for more precise readings in three-dimensional space.

While this patent filing is not guaranteed that air particulate detection will be used as a feature in future iPhones, but it is an interesting line of research that can still become a standard feature in future smartphones by 2020.

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