An email just landed in our inbox about US Patent 8,823,512, issued yesterday to one Donald Spector. Mr. Spector has a long list of inventions to his credit. But this one claims a patent for, well, read the abstract:
A system and method for monitoring the state of an individual, in which a biological sensor is attached to the individual, and a wireless transmitter is attached to the sensor via a microprocessor. The transmitter transmits any changes in the biological state of the individual to a remote receiver. The remote receiver can be programmed to automatically send an alert to various entities, which can then send assistance.
So Spector has been awarded a patent to connecting biometric sensors wirelessly to external devices. The patent is pretty explicit that those devices include mobile phones, and that the sensors include heart rate, respiration, brain activity, blood pressure and heart rate. Oh yes — and that the receiver is connected to GPS and that the sensor sits on a wristband.
In other words, it’s a patent on most of the wearables industry.
A USPTO search for Donald Spector reveals a long list of patents. Most of them are in the toy industry, but many are on the fringes of tech. One toy, the Balzac, was commercialized and had a difficult go in the market, according to a 1999 article from BusinessWeek. (Those were the days of the first tech boom, and lots of stuff had a hard time with private equity.)
Spector is licensing the patent to the New York College of Health Professions, which he chairs. The not-for-profit college has six locations around New York City, and offers state-approved degrees and certificates in programs including massage therapy, oriental medicine and acupuncture.
The initial filing was May 19, 2013; the patent was granted September 2, 2014. Who’s going to be the first to challenge on the basis of prior art?
We’ve asked for an interview with Spector, and will update if anything relevant arises.