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Apple’s full body scan tool could identify fat pockets and tell you about it

Patent application also hints at biometric authentication potential
Apple’s full body scan tool could identify fat pockets and tell you about it

Move over, WebMD: Apple is exploring a full-body scan system that will make health assessments in order to recommend lifestyle content — thereby giving the next generation a whole new way to monitor (and worry about) their health.

The tech giant’s patent application, ‘Electronic Devices with Body Composition Analysis Circuitry,’ is for a mobile device that can scan bodies from head to toe. The language is broad when it comes to its intended use, but mentions uses related to identification purposes — similar to what Apple offers in Face ID and Touch ID. It more extensively outlines how the system might tell you that you’re getting fat.

“For body images, image data may be captured by scanning the body from head to feet,” it says, “by capturing the entire body in one image frame, and/or by capturing multiple image frames of different parts of the body such as the face, neck, waist, legs, etc.”

“Because body fat tends to be stored in certain fat pockets such as regions in the cheeks and neck, those regions may be more indicative of body composition than other regions.”

Which is to say, if your digital device notices your “certain fat pockets” are getting larger, you may find it recommending a bit of exercise and a new low-fat yogurt, or maybe cutting out the dairy altogether. Or, as Apple puts it, “Health and fitness data may be used to provide insights into a user’s general wellness, or may be used as positive feedback to individuals using technology to pursue wellness goals.”

The application, noticed by Apple Insider, refers to the use of structured infrared light, which is how Apple devices currently capture face biometrics.

Despite years of keeping electronic health records, the health care sector has struggled to integrate digital ID management into its traditional models.

Meanwhile, Apple continues to explore new ways to monitor health via biometric data. The Apple Watch, which in 2018 was classified as a medical device, is capable of measuring heartbeats to scan for health conditions.

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