The new generation of AirPods can use tiny biometric sensors built right into headphones to monitor heart rate and body temperature. At least, this is evidenced by a patent issued by Apple by the US department.
The idea sounds great. Such headphones will not only allow you to replace a whole fitness tracker, but also eliminate the need to buy watches to monitor your health.
Apple also offers a more secure method of attaching headphones in your ears so that the sensors are always in the right place. Here is how AppleInsider explains it:
Just as Apple Watch has sensors that must be in contact with the wrist for biometric measurements, similar sensors can be used in headphones. But the question arises: how to place the device in the ear, at the same time to ensure the transmission of sound, and press the earphone tight enough to the skin so that the heart rate sensor works correctly.
In the patent Apple notes that at least one of the biometric sensors must be pressed against the trestle – the area of skin that is directly in front of the ear canal – for measurements. One possible solution is to place the sensor in the back of the liner, which is in close contact with the ear canal.
AppleInsider also notes the second possible way to solve the same problem:
An alternative solution is to add, as it is called in the patent, a “pliable element” —in fact, an insert that comes in contact with an ear fold called anti-helix, which will allow to obtain the necessary data from outside the ear canal without having to contact the inside of the canal.
Such an element can be something like a foam insert that can shrink, so that the headset is comfortable to wear, but fit snugly enough to monitor pressure.
This method will also allow you to adapt to different shapes and sizes of ears, and this part can be made replaceable – as earbuds in vacuum headphones.
In addition, Apple plans to make this insert symmetrical so that the insert can be used both in the left and in the right ear (while the dedicated sensor will determine the position of the earpiece to understand which ear is being scanned).
Monitoring your health with headphones sounds like a great idea – especially considering that Amazon and Google have confirmed that they have plans to build AirPods competitors. Perhaps thanks to this race, after a couple of years, our headphones will be able to do more than we ever could have imagined. In addition to biometric sensors, the new AirPods can get a number of other new features – including Hi-Siri support, protection from sweat, sound insulation, an extended range and a new design.
According to analyst Min-Chi Kuo, the awesome changes in AirPods are waiting for us only in 2020, while in 2019 we will receive only a small update, the main feature of which will be the introduction of wireless charging. Kuo also reports that AirPods sales will increase dramatically with the release of the second generation.