Microsoft and Samsung show work on health biometrics in patent filings

Microsoft and Samsung show work on health biometrics in patent filings

A patent application from Microsoft describing emotion detection by a biometric health monitoring system based on information gathered by wearables, like blood pressure and heartrate, has been published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The idea seems to be to enable companies to run programs to provide their employees with ‘wellness insights’ derived from the biometric data, and extending this to emotion. An employee “anxiety score” could be used to suggest workers take a break by combining biometric data with information generated by Microsoft Office.

Data could be gathered dedicated sensors that gather health biometrics, but also from audio and video meeting streams, haptic sensor feedback, and even the length of time spent on an email, according to the filing for ‘Emotion detection from contextual signals for surfacing wellness insights.’

Computerworld notes an apparent increase in worker burnout during the pandemic. Workplace surveillance fears are arising from the integration of analytics with software tools, but Microsoft has recently introduced both analytics and policy-based tools for measuring productivity and alleviating employee stress.

“Consumers are increasingly familiar and comfortable with the use of wearable devices for collecting biometric data to monitor their health and wellbeing; however, extending these capabilities into the workplace will likely be a cause for concern for employees,” 451 Research Senior Research Analyst Raul Castanon told Computerworld.

“There are many benefits that analytics can provide to employees, including monitoring their health and wellbeing at work and in their personal life, but navigating this area can be extremely delicate for the enterprise.”

Samsung filing describes health biometrics on foldable phone

The forthcoming Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 could include health biometric monitoring features, according to speculation by TechRadar based on a patent filing spotted by LetsGoDigital.

Blood pressure and heart rate (ECG) biometrics could be measured through various sensor interactions, including by squeezing the edges the phone between the thumb and finger, as depicted in images labeled ‘Galaxy Z Fold Bioinformation.’ They also show the phone laid across the users has for scans of the palm and fingers, and reading the user’s finger with the device closed against the finger.

The sensors could provide fingerprint biometrics, cholesterol level, aortic pressure, arterial stiffness, stress and fatigue, LetsGoDigital suggests. The data could be displayed on an exposed screen, and exported to the Samsung Health App to be combined with other data and analyzed.

Despite the specific device being referred to the patent document, the biometric system described could be implemented on any foldable mobile device.

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