Apple developing heart-based biometric sensor

October 17, 2016 - 

Apple appears to be developing a new biometric sensor that can determine the identity of a wearable user based on his heart rate, according to an article published in Tech Times.

According to Tech Times, the new proposed patented system is based on so-called photo plethysmography technology, which uses LED lights and other sensors to measure blood that flows in a person’s veins.

Apple states that its invention relies on a pulse oximeter and is composed of a pair of light emitter and light sensors that are embedded in the wearable device. The technology emits light that penetrates the skin, hitting blood and other body parts in the process. It then records the amount of light that bounces back to the device. The measurement indicates the amount of blood in the user’s skin, data that is critical when conducting pulse readings. The information recorded through the pulse oximeter is then used to evaluate biometric characteristics, a process that can be implemented when authenticating a user’s identity.

According to the patent: “Light emitters and light receive motion sensors can be used to perform biometric identification information of a user based on identifying characteristics of the user’s vasculature.”

The article notes that in addition to the ability to unlock wearable devices, the new vascular identification technology Apple has developed is also expected to be used for Apple Pay transactions.

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About Rawlson King

Rawlson O’Neil King is a contributing editor at and is an experienced communications professional, management consultant, trade journalist and author who recently published a book about control and electronic networks and who has written numerous articles in trade publications and academic journals about smart home and building technologies. Follow him @rawlsonking2.