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Microsoft patents watch light sensor to track health data

Microsoft Band 2
Microsoft Band 2 (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft patented a light sensor that can track a wide range of health data.
  • The images from the patent appear similar to the Microsoft Band.
  • As with all patents, the ideas shown off in the patent may never be released.

Microsoft recently filed for a patent for a sensor that tracks health information (via WindowsUnited). The patent describes a device with a light source that emits light against skin. A sensor within the device then receives the light from the skin and uses the data to track various pieces of health information. The patent specifically mentions blood pressure, heart rate, stroke volume, cardiac output, total peripheral resistance, blood vessel elasticity, and arterial oxygen saturation.

Here is the abstract from the patent that summarizes the device:

A photoplethysmogram device is provided comprising a light source configured to emit light to illuminate skin, a photo-detector configured to receive the light illuminating the skin and generate an electrical output as a function of an intensity of the received light, a skin temperature regulator configured to heat and/or cool a temperature of the skin adjacent to the photo-detector and light source to increase the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of the electrical output from the photo-detector, and a processor configured to generate, based on the electrical output, an output signal indicative of blood properties, including physiological parameters such as blood pressure, heart rate, stroke volume, cardiac output, total peripheral resistance, blood vessel elasticity, and arterial oxygen saturation.

The images from the patent appear similar to the Microsoft Band, which is no longer made. Microsoft never released the Microsoft Band 3, but we got our hands on one and reviewed it back in 2018.

It's unclear if Microsoft has any plans to use the technology shown off in this patent. Many patents never turn into concrete devices. Additionally, Microsoft left the wearables space years ago. There's a chance that Microsoft could license the technology to other companies. It's also worth noting that the "Priority Data" section of the patent lists "30.11.2018" as a date. This indicates when a company initially applies for a patent for an invention.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).

11 Comments
  • I always wished Microsoft still pursue the Band ecosystem even by rebranding them differently.
    They were incredible devices but the lack of shipping them worldwide and sell them in shops took this device to an end...
  • I am with you on that the band 1 and 2 were way ahead of anything on the market at the time. We had them in the UK but just did not push them. I wonder if this will be to put along the surface duo.
  • The ONLY issue I ever really thought they had at all was the rubber band itself. I loved them and continued buying them - Oh yeah, the ABSOLUTE worst part was totally discontinuing them.
  • Imagine this tecnology in the Hololens 3... A wearable device, on your skin... Health professionals, military, industry and consumers would love it!
  • I had a dream a few days ago that I owned a new prototype Microsoft band, no kidding.
    And then I woke up :(
  • Man, I hope they do this. Band was by the best and before its time.
  • Once bitten thrice shy with MS - WIll see what happens 3 months after Duo 3 and Neo 3 are launched in a few years. No longer MS guinea pig, Windows Phone, Zune, Band. Only a matter of time IMO before they bin Surface Headohones and the ear thingies, i mean no way they can compete with whats out there already, Apple have the user base and sheep, Microsoft has ppl with burnt fingers and a few techies ready to gobble it all up regardless.
  • Agreed with this, I invested in all their tech, Microsoft Band, Windows Phone etc, got my family and friends on the EcoSystem and they end up putting a lacklustre effort in, practically zero marketing or support. Not gonna get burnt again.
  • I never got the Band 1 or 2 and always regretted it. Not sure if they'll hop back into that space but if they do, I'll finally try a wearable
  • Surface Watch? MS Should have bought Fitbit before Google grabbed them.
  • I loved my Band 2. Way ahead of its time. I hope all the user data I gave them helped them with this patent. I'll gladly buy the next iteration.