Apple working on technology that can predict heart attacks?

Madeleine Swain
17 February, 2014
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Amid myriad media reports of hirings and developments regarding health applications for Apple’s much rumoured smartwatch comes an interesting claim from Thomas Lee and David R Baker in, the online portal for the daily newspaper, The San Francisco Chronicle.

At the weekend, it ran a profile of Adrian Perica, Apple’s chief of mergers and acquisitions. The article reported that Apple is expanding its research into medical devices and, in particular, exploring sensor technology that can predict heart attacks.

The push into this area has been driven by renowned audio engineer, Tomlinson Holman, best known for his 1983 invention of THX, when he was working for George Lucas’ company, Lucasfilm (the TH is his initials, with the X standing for ‘crossover’). Holman was also behind 10.2 surround sound, the name of which refers to the format’s slogan, ‘twice as good as 5.1′. Among his many other achievements, he also won an Academy Award in 2002 for Technical Achievement.

Holman was hired by Apple in May 2011, among rumours that he’d be helping the company develop its own sound systems.

But it seems that these days, Holman is actually putting his grey cells to work on medical matters. The heart attack predictive sensor works by studying the sound blood makes as it flows through the arteries. also revealed that around this time last year, Perica met with Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla. The high-flying Musk was the founder of PayPal and SpaceX (a space transport services company based in California), as well as running Tesla, the US company that designs, makes and sells electric cars.

An unnamed source claimed the meeting took place and that Tim Cook was ‘probably’ there too, though spokespersons from both Tesla and Apple declined to comment or confirm.

Lee and Baker suggest that with the smartphone and tablet markets slowing and maturing, Apple is keen to branch out into new and more ambitious areas. “Until now, most of Wall Street’s attention has focused on Apple’s long rumoured iWatch device… Wearable devices make intuitive sense for Apple; electric cars and cardiac monitors not as much. And that’s exactly why Apple should pursue those ideas, some analysts say,” they conclude.



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