When Tim Cook said that Apple’s greatest contribution to mankind will be about health, he meant it. The latest patent filed by Apple for Chemically Robust Miniature Gas Sensors discusses a small sensor that could be fitted inside iPhone and Apple Watch to warn users of harmful gases.
The small hardware will detect dangerous substances in the air including Carbon Monoxide (CO), Ozone (O3), Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), Nitrogen Monoxide (NO), Sulphur Dioxide (SO2), Methane (CH4) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
According to a report by CDC, Carbon Monoxide poisoning is the reason behind the death of 400 Americans every year and injures 20,000. One of the reasons why people fail to feel Carbon Monoxide in the air is it has no odor. Moreover, it is difficult to detect the gas as it is colorless.
Adding a toxic gas detector in mobile devices further indicates that Apple is serious about innovating in the mobile healthcare niche. The Cupertino giant’s push toward adding health features in its devices started after the legendary CEO Steve Jobs passed away due to pancreatic cancer in 2011. Jobs’ experiences inspired the 2015 Apple Watch.
Apple is making steady progress in the mobile healthcare domain, and the ECG feature in Apple Watch Series 4 that has already saved the lives of a couple of users is the most lauded feature.
However, the poisonous gas detector is nothing more than a patent as of now. But, we can expect future Apple Watch versions and iPhones to feature it.