A new patent filing by Apple reveals some interesting possibilities for its next generation AirPods.
The US Patent and Trademark Office published today a fresh batch of 43 newly granted patents for the Cupertino company. As spotted by Patently Apple, one of these is the third patent so far this year for health tracking AirPods.
Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets for 2017
The patent illustrates biometrics sensors embedded in the device which could monitor heart rate and physical activity. But it goes beyond this. The headphones may include EKG and impedance cardiography sensors to monitor the electrical activity of the heart which could set the stage for very detailed fitness metrics. The patent even mentions a galvanic skin response sensor, which measures the electrical resistance of the skin to, for example, determine the level of stress of a user.
Biometric sensors are not entirely new and there is a healthy selection of devices already on the market. The ear provides a great platform for doing this kind of biometric measurement. Earbuds, rather than watches, tend to be the most accurate heart-rate monitors, outperformed only by traditional chest straps.
Essential reading: Top biometric headphones
Of course, just because Apple was granted the patent doesn’t necessarily mean the product will see the light of day. Whatever the case, its clear wearables suppliers are looking beyond the wrist and the ears may very well be the next big growth area. After all, the best technology is invisible.
Source: Patently Apple
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