Apple has filed for a patent (number 20170347885) for “detecting activity by a wheelchair user.” It’s designed to help such folks keep track of their health and fitness activities using the Apple Watch and its Workout app.
The patent involves technology for collecting motion data of a user device located on an appendage of the user. Among other things it would track the energy expenditure of the user.
As noted in the patent filing, such activities involve repetitive motions of the arms. For example, pushing yourself in a wheelchair, rowing, push-ups and pull-ups, and assembly-line tasks may all involve repetition of a sequence of motions using the hands, arms, and wrists. An Apple Watch may be worn on the hand, wrist, or arm of the person performing the activity. Apple says it may be desirable to track activity by a wheelchair user for health, safety, or productivity reasons.
Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.