Apple Is Working on a New Feature for Apple Watch That Will Send Alerts if the User Is Drowning


In the future, the Apple Watch could be equipped with capabilities to alert nearby users if a person wearing the device begins to drown in a body of water. According to a new patent application, the Cupertino tech giant is working on a feature that will be able to detect when a user shows “erratic behavior” while swimming and is in distress underwater using the sensors present in the intel watch smart In particular, a recent report has claimed that the Apple Watch Series 10 could feature an updated display that offers better battery life.

In a patent application filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Apple shared details on how this feature would work and highlighted the need for this feature. The tech giant said in its app that every year, 3,500 people drown and lose their lives in the US alone. Calling it “the fifth leading cause of accidental death in the country,” Apple said drowning prevention systems are needed.

Apple's drowning warning system as shown in the patent application
Photo credit: Apple

However, the feature proposed by the company does not introduce any new sensors to detect when a user is drowning. Instead, it relies on the Apple Watch's existing sensors to interpret data whenever the wearer might be in trouble underwater. According to the patent application, the main trigger for this will be its inertial sensor that will determine if the swimmer's head, arms and torso are positioned in a way that suggests erratic behavior.

This data will then be corroborated with the Apple Watch's heart rate sensor or blood oxygen sensor which will determine if the user's heart rate has suddenly increased or their VO2 max levels have suddenly dropped , which could indicate that the user is about to drown. The data from the sensors will be run through a special machine learning algorithm to predict if the user is actually drowning.

In the event that a user is at risk of drowning, the Apple Watch could send an alert to emergency service providers as well as nearby users and first responders. The company also highlighted that the system could also share similar alerts in case a child is swimming in a pool and accidentally goes into the deep end. It should be noted that the feature currently exists as a patent application. It is not certain if Apple will get the patent for this technology and when Apple Watch devices may carry the drowning alert feature.

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