Apple Invents an In-Bed Temperature Array for Menstrual Cycle Tracking System that’s likely to be a Beddit Accessory

During Apple’s WWDC 2019 event, Apple’s VP of Health, Dr. Sumbul Desai introduced the ‘Cycle Tracking’ application for Apple Watch that tracks a woman’s menstrual cycle. It is also available in the iPhone’s Health application. Below is the video of Dr. Desai introducing this new application.

Today, the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office released a patent application from Apple entitled “In-Bed Temperature Array for Menstrual Cycle Tracking.” It looks like Apple has invented a new menstrual cycle tracking system for their Beddit sleep monitoring system company.

In Apple’s patent background, they note that a menstrual cycle begins with the first day of a period and ends when the next period begins. The first part of the cycle – pre-ovulation – prepares an egg to be released from an ovary and builds the lining of the uterus. Then, upon ovulation, an ovum is released from the ovary. The second part of the cycle prepares the uterus to accept a fertilized egg or to start a new cycle if pregnancy does not occur.

A woman is likely to become pregnant during the two to three days before ovulation, and may desire to follow their menstrual cycle for a variety of reasons, including natural family planning.

An entire menstrual cycle typically lasts between 24 and 38 days, but the length can vary from cycle to cycle, and can also change over time (eg with age or changes in health). A woman can track her menstrual cycle using the basal body temperature (BBT) method, which typically includes the user measuring and recording her temperature each morning. An increase in temperature usually indicates that ovulation has occurred.

Because the most fertile window occurs before ovulation, a user will usually follow her menstrual cycle for several months to predict when she is likely to ovulate. The ovulation day can also be used to predict the start date of the next menstrual cycle. However, variation in cycle lengths and subtle increases in temperature can make it difficult for some users to reliably predict ovulation day.

Apple’s invention covers a method of detecting a user’s menstrual cycle. The method may include receiving temperature measurements from one or more temperature sensors in a series of temperature sensors positioned below the user on a bed, and determining a period of use for the variety of temperature sensors when temperature measurements from at least one temperature sensor of the one or more temperature sensors exceed a first temperature threshold for a period.

The method may also include identifying a set of temperatures that are within the usage period and exceeding a second temperature threshold, and, for each usage period in a set of two or more usage periods, determining a user’s temperature by the set temperatures to use from the respective period of use. The method may further include identifying at least one change in the temperature of the user between different periods of use after determining the temperature of the user for each period of use in the set of two or more periods of use, and estimating an ovulation day of the user based on the at least one change in the temperature of the user.

Apple’s patent FIG. 1 below illustrates an example of temperature monitoring system for menstrual cycle tracking design as a bed accessory. FIG. 3 shows an example output of a temperature sensing device used for menstrual cycle tracking; and FIG. 4 shows an example analysis that can be performed by a temperature monitoring system for menstrual cycle tracking.

2 Apple patent figs 1 3 & 4 Menstrual cycle shell system for BEd

Apple’s patent FIG. 5 below shows an example method of operating a temperature monitoring system for menstrual cycle tracking.

4 x Apple patent bed device for menstrual cycle tracking on bed

For more details, review Apple’s patent application number 20220047250. Considering that it is a patent application, the timing of such a product on the market at this stage is unknown.

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