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With Apple's AirPods becoming quite a success, despite customers having it dropping out of their ears, it was only a matter of time before we got our slew of fitness apps for the earphone, and Apple seems to have had the same idea.
According to PatentlyApple, Apple has reportedly filed a patent titled 'Earbuds with Biometric Sensing' which details in-ear and over-ear headphones with potential for fitness tracking features out of the box. The patent details a photoplethysmogram (PPG) sensor which would be pushed against the part of the ear known as the 'tragus'. This would take biometric readings by looking at the reflectivity of light coming off the skin, allowing it to detect the flow of blood under the skin and make a call on exercise intensity.
According to the patent, this system could track likes of VO2, galvanic skin, impedance cardiography, temperature, EKG and heart rate, all through in-ear measurements. While other earbuds such as Jabra Elite Sport and Samsung Gear Icon X already offer the same features, Apple has made the AirPods unique by offering galvanic skin and temperature readings as well.
The patent also seems to show that the feature wont be limited to in-ear models, as illustrations accompanying the filing specifically highlight the potential for over-ear headphones as well. The patent also shows the system incorporating three mics, triangulated, for a selective noise cancelling feature. Rather than blocking out all external sound, they could be set to allow directional choice over which sounds would be blocked from what angle.
As usual, sometimes patents dont materialize and gets lost in product testing. However, it is good to see Apple improving the earbuds to do more than just play music.