Patent Details How iPhone Sensors, FaceTime Camera Can Track Your Health

The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has granted a new Apple patent today, which describes the use of iPhone’s front-facing camera, light sensor and proximity sensor for providing health measurements, 9to5Mac reports. Titled “Electronic device that computes health data”, the patent also considers using additional sensors mounted in the same area for further health measurements.


The patent details electrical contacts similar to those found on some more sophisticated bathroom scales to measure body fat. The same contacts could also be used to provide an electrocardiogram (ECG) reading. Furthermore, the patent describes how much data could be captured using nothing more than the camera and light sensor i.e. oxygen saturation, pulse rate, perfusion index and a photoplethysmogram.

Apple also notes that although some measurements can be taken using the iPhone’s existing low-tech light sensors, more sophisticated ones may be required for optimum use.

In various implementations, use of an indium gallium arsenide non-imaging photodiode may allow for detection of a larger spectrum of light than use of a silicon non-imaging photodiode. An indium gallium arsenide non-imaging photodiode may not be typically used as an ambient light sensor as such may be more expensive than a silicon non-imaging photodiode that may adequately be used to determine ambient light conditions by detecting a more limited spectrum of light.

The patent was originally filed by Apple in Q1 2015.