Apple has developed a first-of-its-kind hydration sensor designed for the Apple Watch, a company patent filing has revealed. The patent, first spotted by Patently Apple, is titled “Hydration measurement with a watch” and was granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
“Traditional techniques for tracking hydration are generally invasive, expensive, or unreliable,” according to Apple. This refers to existing ways of determining hydration such as single-use tests of fluid samples.
Apple’s hydration sensor takes the form of non-invasive electrodes that are placed against the skin, which it describes as a “reliable and elegant” solution. The sensor works by measuring the electrical properties of the Apple Watch wearer’s sweat.
According to the patent, hydration tracking can be done non-evasively at regular time intervals, similar to heart rate monitoring on Apple Watch. Eventually, the data is funneled through Apple’s health algorithms. The insights are helpful during workouts and also help in managing water intake efficiently.
“A user’s hydration level has significant impacts on the health of a user,” says the patent. “Dehydration can impair performance and is associated with several deleterious health consequences, including heat strokes. Overdrinking can result in hyponatremia, fatigue, confusion, coma, and even death.”
Currently there are many apps for iPhone and Apple Watch which are designed to remind users to drink often, and not too much. As for actual measuring, though, the patent says that typical techniques are “generally invasive, expensive, or unreliable. “For example, some hydration tracking techniques involve testing fluid samples, such as urine or blood, from the user,” it continues. “Some techniques require analyte sensors to chemically react with sample fluids.”
Patent filings cannot be taken as firm evidence of Apple’s plans, but they do show the company’s areas of research. Nevertheless, Apple is known to have ambitious plans for adding new health tracking capabilities to the Apple Watch following the debut of blood oxygen monitoring with the Apple Watch Series 6 and hydration monitoring now appears to be a viable option for the company to add to the device in the future.