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The future of the Apple ecosystem is full body tracking, hint new patents

Apple Patent for full body tracking

If the head tracking feature on AirPods sounds enticing to you, Apple is reportedly working to achieve way more than that. Two recently published Apple patents, spotted by Gizmodo, describe how the iPhone maker will achieve full body tracking using its existing devices.

One of the patents, filed in 2021, talks about capturing inertial sensor data from a head-mounted device and using it to track the changes in the body posture. For example, detecting all stages when a person sitting on a chair stands up (and vice versa). The patent also talks about tracking a user's head movement with respect to the rest of the body.

The other patent, filed in 2022, enhances full body tracking by fetching data from different wearables like an Apple Watch, AirPods, etc., all worn simultaneously. These devices can be used in combination with compact sensor modules like the inertial sensor, altimeter, and camera placed at different parts of a user's body or clothes to "create a distributed sensing system."

Apple Patent for full body tracking

The inertial sensor data and point-of-view video data collected can be used to "reconstruct a full body 2D skeletal model" and create a "3D mesh model of the user's full body based on the depth data." These attributes combined with a machine learning model can predict body movements.

As per the second patent, this kind of body tracking can "provide detailed insights into a user's movements, allowing improved progress tracking for various fitness activities or health monitoring." For instance, a workout summary could include stuff like the number of weighted squats and workout trends such as range of motion improvements. The tech has other applications like detecting if a person is sick or has fallen, or apps that can understand full-body sign languages such as the ones used at airport runway signals and by traffic police.

For now, there is no word on when (or if) the patented tech will arrive on the market. One Apple product that could possibly house such features is Apple's long-awaited mixed-reality headset whose delayed launch is now expected in the third quarter of 2023.

Source: Patent 1, Patent 2 Via Gizmodo

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