Apple Watch Can Now Tell If You’re Washing Your Hands


Apple Watch has a new feature to help combat COVID-19, sensing that a person wearing the watch is washing their hands and then ensuring they keep washing for the recommended 20 seconds.

“Our approach here is using machine learning models to determine motion which appears to be hand washing,” Apple VP of technology Kevin Lynch said Monday during the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference, “and then we use audio to confirm the sound of running water or squishing soap on your hands.”

During the washing, he added, the watch will count down 20 seconds (which is what health experts say is the standard threshold), offer coaching to encourage thoroughness and then light up with a “well done” message at the end. When you’re done, “you’ll see, feel and hear it” with various notifications.

Lynch rolled out the feature and other new Watch wrinkles during WWDC, a tentpole event where a host of innovations are unveiled by the tech giant. Highlights included a new operating system for the iPhone, iOS14, which will have its public beta release in July, as well as a long-anticipated switch from Intel processors to in-house chips.

On the streaming front, Apple showed a teaser for Apple TV+ original Foundation, an Isaac Asimov-based sci-fi series coming to the recently launched service in 2021. Execs also touted new features of tvOS14, included smart lighting, integrated home security cameras, streaming music and videogames. Picture-in-picture technology, already possible on iPad and iPhone, is now coming to Apple TV.

One of the innovations earning particular attention from the tech crowd is the ability via tvOS14 to stream YouTube video in 4K resolution through Apple TV.

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