Apple looking to develop a custom chip for health sensors and processing biometric data

This is Apple’s yet another effort in the healthcare space.

  • Published: August 16, 2018 10:38 AM IST

Apple is reportedly hiring engineers who would be working on a custom chip specially designed for health applications. According to a job listing spotted by CNBC, this chip will process the biometric data from a range of devices. For those unaware, Apple already designs custom chipsets for iPhones, and it is also rumored to make custom processors for its Mac line-up as early as 2020. In fact, the current Apple Watch is powered by a custom S3 chipset.

If we go by the new job listing, Apple seems ready to take yet another step closer to health data, and integrate a custom chip that will only process heart rate, and as a result also help to improve the battery life of Apple Watch.

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“We are looking for sensor ASIC architects to help develop ASICs for new sensors and sensing systems for future Apple products. We have openings for analog as well as digital ASIC architects,” one of the listings reads. CNBC also came across another listing where Apple is looking for engineers to “help develop health, wellness, and fitness sensors.” At the time of filing the story, both the job listings have been removed.

As of now, there is no clarity on whether Apple is simply looking to integrate better health monitoring in iPhones, or looking for a dedicated sensor in Apple Watch. The Apple Watch currently uses a custom optical sensor to measure heart rate, and the new chip could work with existing sensor, or completely replace it altogether.

If we look at the current A11 Bionic chip in the iPhone X, it comes with a special Neural Engine that is designed to speed up artificial intelligence-related tasks such as Animoji and FaceID. A health-focused chip could work similarly to carry out standard computing tasks, along with health-related ones. A new Apple Watch along with iPhone models is expected to launch in September this year, but we won’t keep high hopes to see the new health chipset in these models.

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  • Published Date: August 16, 2018 10:38 AM IST