As 2016 is nearing its end, more details about Apple’s health-centric smartwatch have emerged. This new information comes from a patent application that was published this Thursday. 

Based on this new patent application published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the next-generation Apple Watch could come with an advanced heart rate sensor that would make it possible for the device to identify its user. The technology that would make this a reality is said to be quite similar to Apple’s Touch ID on its iPhones and iPads. 

The patent, entitled “User identification system based on plethysmography,” mentions a pulse oximeter that would be useful in identifying biometric characteristics of the Apple Watch user’s vasculature. The data that will be generated by this component would then become handy whenever there’s a need for user identity verification. 

AppleInsider has learned that the mechanism behind this advanced technology makes use of two light emitter and light sensor pairs. When light is emitted toward the user’s vasculature, the light absorbed and reflected is measured and calculated to derive the blood amount present in the skin area where the device is placed. 

Apple implies in its patent application that this new technology would be as seamless as how Touch ID operates. Also, once user identity is verified, the user will be granted full access to the different functions of the smartwatch. For example, this could be used as an alternative to Touch ID in authenticating Apple Pay transactions. When this happens, the Apple Watch could function on its own and not rely on a paired up iPhone to make mobile payments. 

In August, reports emerged that Apple was preparing a health-centric device that could either be the Apple Watch 3 or the first member of a more sophisticated health-focused wearable line. The device is rumored to launch alongside the Cupertino giant’s 10th year anniversary iPhone, currently dubbed internally as the iPhone 8