Life-saving: Apple seeks to patent an anti-drowning feature Life-saving: Apple seeks to patent an anti-drowning feature

Any technology that saves lives deserves to be noticed, praised, and developed further. Given the countless man-hours humankind has invested into devising, designing, and building things that do the opposite, it’s encouraging to read news about developments seeking a different result. Recently, Apple has filed a patent application looking to turn Apple Watch into a device that can prevent drowning.

Unfortunately, it’s not a matter of a rapidly inflating life safer that embraces the wearer within a second. Although that would be great, this sort of sci-fi tech is still in the future. No, what Apple wants to develop is more on the software side: a system that recognizes abnormal behavior, i.e., drowning, and sends an SOS signal to a predefined contact.

This will not be a first safety feature in Apple Watch: the device already can detect when its wearer has fallen, or suffered a car accident, for example. It also notifies you of elevated heart rate and can ping emergency contacts in extreme cases. It’s nice to see the company pushing on with its effort to extend the applicability of its products, even if it’s ultimately a move to sell more of them.

Is it really needed?

Consider this:

  • An average person can spend downwards of 5-6 minutes underwater and then be resuscitated without dire consequences for the brain;
  • Drowning is the 5th most common cause of death in the US, it takes over 3,500 lives every year, and it’s children who are susceptible to this hazard more than anybody else.

Both points are listed in Apple patent application, and they are factual, valid, and sound. So yes, we’re not talking about your watch turning into a flotation ring at the moment, but this tech, when developed and introduced, will save lives. Even if it’s just one life, the effort will have paid off.

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