Future Macs, iPads, iPhones may be able to analyze your respiratory functions

FIG. 1 shows an example system for determining respiratory function of a user.

I’m not quite sure how this would work, but Apple has filed for a patent (number US 20230263424 A1) for a “system and methods for analyzing respiratory function using guided breathing.”

My best guess, based on the patent details and accompanying graphics, are that it involves a Mac, iPad, and/or iPhone with a scanner/sensor that can measure your breathing. It’a also possible that this could be done in conjunction with some sort of “Apple Shirt” with build-in sensors that would interact with the aforementioned devices. 

About the patent filing

The patent filing involves systems and methods that use guided breathing to determine respiratory health parameters of a user. In the patent filing, Apple notes that individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, or other airway related conditions may experience reduced air flow when breathing (also known as “airway obstruction”) that make it more difficult to breath. 

This airway obstruction may range in severity and may also change over time. Spirometry is a current breathing test that is often used to assess an individual’s lung function and potential airway obstruction. During a spirometry test, an individual breathes into a measurement device, which measures air flow metrics that are used to determine an individual’s lung function. The accuracy and/or repeatability of spirometry measurements depends on how closely an individual can follow the test protocol. However, Apple says that, iin some cases, the accuracy and/or repeatability of spirometer measurements are less than desirable. Moreover, it may be difficult for individuals to perform accurate and/or repeatable spirometer measurements without oversight from a clinician. Apple wants to change this.

Summary of the patent filing

Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent filing: “Embodiments include a system for measuring respiratory function of a user. The system can include an optical sensing unit configured to detect movement of a torso of the user. The system can include an electronic device configured to provide a first request for the user to breathe at a first rate during a first time period and a second request for the user to breathe at a second rate during a second time period.

“ The system can include a processing unit configured to determine a first respiration parameter based on the movement of the torso during the first time period and determine a second respiration parameter based on the movement of the torso during the second time period. The processing unit can determine a level of respiratory function based on the first respiration parameter and the second respiration parameter.”

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.