While Microsoft stopped selling their Band fitness tracker way back in October 2016, it seems internally the company has not quite given up on the technology, as demonstrated by two fitness-tracker related patents which have just been published.
Applied for as recently as November 2017, the two patent applications add some more sensors to the 11 the Band already boasted.
The first one dates to February 2017 and is the most interesting, explaining how the Band can check a user’s blood pressure without the usual inflatable cuff.
The technique would estimate blood pressure using the waveform characteristics of your pulse, as measured by the pulse oximeter built into each band. It would use measurements of “radial pulse pressure” or “aortic pulse wave velocity,” both of which often correlate with actual blood pressure, and would include features such as your age, medical history, contextual data and other time-varying elements to make it more accurate. The technique would use AI to juggle these factors, but the patent warns that it is only an estimate and should not replace a medical checkup.
The second and most recent, applied for in November 2017, is a continuation of a 2014 patent for a ring-shaped electrically conductive sensor which can be used to measure stress levels. The patent suggests two be used to maintain continuous skin contact and that they are made “large and knobbly” for the same reason.
At this point, we have no other indication that Microsoft may get back into the device game, but it seems those divisions and research elements have not completely shut down yet, so Band fans may want to hold out some small hope for a future revival.