Apple patents biometric sensor-packed health monitoring earphones with ‘head gesture’ control

“In one of the earliest pieces of evidence pointing to Apple’s push into the fitness and health monitoring field, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday granted the company a patent for a biometric headphone system that can sense a variety of metrics including temperature, heart rate and perspiration levels,” Mikey Campbell reports for AppleInsider.

“Claiming priority over a provisional patent application filed for in 2007, Apple’s U.S. Patent No. 8,655,004 for a “Sports monitoring system for headphones, earbuds and/or headsets” proves the company has been investigating integrated activity monitors for at least six years,” Campbell reports. “According to the patent, the fitness monitoring system is cleverly ensconced in a set of headphones, something users commonly wear to listen to music during workouts. By positioning the headset in or near the ear, the embedded activity sensor can pick up temperature, perspiration and heart rate data, among other metrics.”

Read more, and see Apple’s patent application illustrations, in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Bill” for the heads up.]


  1. IIRC, Apple acquired a Bluetooth headphone manufacturer two or three years ago and I’d been expecting a solution to my perpetually tangled headphones. But it seems they’ve been heading in a different direction?

    1. There are many third party solutions for ear bugs and headphones. Yes Apple includes a set of ear bugs with the purchase of each iPhone. Since everybody has differently shaped ears, it’s impossible to design something that works for every person. Apple’s latest design works pretty good for me, but doesn’t work for a lot of others.

      I don’t know what people expect Apple to do. Should Apple include a full set of interchangeable adapters to make them work for more people? Even if they did, people would find something to whine about. Like I said, there are plenty of other solutions, including, Bluetooth stereo headphones, ear bugs with swappable ear pieces, small and full sized headphones, etc.

      Apple’s primary business isn’t headphones. What they include does work well for a lot of people. It’s impossible to create something that would work for everybody. So if Apple’s offering doesn’t work for you, quit your whining, and find another solution.

      1. The point is, that I won’t be able to take advantage of this. I’m not saying they should do anything different just to accommodate me, but I would have liked this sort of technology, but not at the expense of not being able to wear them comfortably.
        If they’re going to add all this technology to earphones then they would probably want people to use them, as such they may have to cater for more people, sell variations or add adapters (like you get with a lot of other earphones).
        I’m perfectly happy using other earphones as is, and I’m not losing any functionality With this, there would be a substantial difference over traditional sound only models. I could use them, but if they fall out every two seconds what’s the point?

        By upgrading them like this they are targeting them at more people.

    1. Thank you for the link Macster. The Bragi looks like an interesting device. Locating the temperature sensor and accelerometer in the earbud will definitely provide more vital readings than a sensor on the users wrist. The Bragi looks like an all-in-one device (processor, memory, MP3 player, etc), but I suspect that the 3 hour battery life will limit its everyday use.

  2. Just because the patent drawing shows the old round earbuds doesn’t mean that will be the design for any new product. Hold your bitching until the actual product shows up.

    1. Kanmac, there are many uses for an accelerometer in the earbuds.. Medically they could do something like warn you when you are falling asleep at the wheel, or tell a surgeon the direction and force of a tram. Occasionally I go back and rematch the ‘Future Shock’ video from Apple. If you look closely you will notice the actors are wearing Apple wristbands (watches?) that the camera on the computer is using to track the users gestures. The video shows how future Mac users can control their computers by voice and hand gestures. The future is closer than you think.

      1. Too early in the morning… should be… ‘force of Trama’ and ‘rematch the ‘Future Shock’ video.

        You can still find the ‘Future Shock’ video on YouTube. It was one of the many video’s that Apple produced in the 1980’s to generate investor interest. Wish I had listened.

      1. Yes and the light pole has a tendency to very quickly wake you up as well
        I just hope I’m not the incoming traffic you wind up getting sucked into if you go the other way

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