22 January 2020
I was interviewed by Apple for the Manufacturing Engineer Graduate Role in Cork, Ireland. The job profile required a Biomedical engineer graduate with experience in Computer-Aided Design (CAD), exposure to manufacturing and knowledge of lean six sigma for operational excellence.
A few of my readers asked me if the technology giants like Apple and Google working on wearables hire biomedical engineers. Yes, Apple does hire Biomedical engineers.
Biomedical Engineering job profiles at Apple
According to the Biomedical Engineer job profiles advertised on Glassdoor, Apple hired engineers with knowledge of non-invasive sensors, recording and analyzing data from sensors measuring various physiological conditions.
Here are some product developers in Apple who had a Master’s or Ph.D. degree in Biomedical Engineering. You would understand what it takes for a biomedical engineer to get into Apple.
Apple has nearly 12% of the share in the global smartphone market and this market share is going down over the years due to stiff competition from Chinese giants like Oppo and Xiaomi. Therefore, Apple is investing significantly to develop wearables and services to monitor personal health in order to diversify its product profile. While the global smartphone market is less than $1 trillion, the global healthcare market is over $10 trillion.
The global healthcare market makes the smartphone market look quite small.
-Tim Cook, Apple CEO
The wearables accounted for 8% of its revenue in 2019. I would like to mention that the Mac accounts for 10% of the revenue for Apple which is likely to be surpassed by the wearables in the next 2 years. The major Apple wearables include Airpods, Beats headphone and Apple Watch. Other home accessories from Apple include Home Pod smart speaker,
According to analysts, the wearables segment can be a $100 billion business for Apple in the near future. Thus, the scope for biomedical engineers in Apple is likely to scale up with soaring business.
Here are some wearables that Apple is working on (products not yet in the market) where Biomedical engineering is significantly implemented.
1. Apple Watch
The Apple Watch has a single-lead ECG which enables it to track the heart rate and monitor in case of irregular rhythms. The waveform can be retrieved from the ECG app as a PDF and shared with clinicians. The current watch is equipped with sensors that can detect Atrial Fibrillation (irregular heartbeat due to blood clots or stroke). You can also monitor blood pressure using the Apple Watch.
The company is planning to equip the future models of the watch to detect Parkinson’s disease and diagnose tremors. Another report says that it will also be able to detect the menstrual cycle.
2. Apple Smartglass
Although it’s rumored that the Augmented Reality (AR) equipped smartglasses may be launched in 2022 (Source), it’s definitely on Apple’s future line of products. Apple smartglasses may be used in the future to tackle glaucoma. The photodiodes in the smartglass can be used to track the jaw movements and head movements. Note that Apple has a Core Motion Team https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/view/1611260811/?alternateChannel=paview that develops algorithms and sensors to track motion.
Smartglasses can be used to record and transmit live surgeries.
3. Augmented Reality Headset
Apple is planning to launch a new AR-based headset within the next 2 years which may be a slimmer version of Oculus Quest.
4. Apple Health Kit and Apple Health app
‘Apple Health’ is an app that can be integrated with Apple’s wearables and iPhones to track your vitals such as calorie burnt, sleep levels, glucose levels, etc.
‘Apple Health Records’ is another app that allows users to store their health record data, including allergies, medications and more. This can be used to track and monitor your personal health.
However, Apple Healthkit is a developer framework that allows software engineers to fabricate devices and services compatible with Apple products. It’s not meant for end-users.