New research shows that Respiratory Rate can be monitored using Apple AirPods

Researchers at Apple can now estimate Respiratory Rate (RR) from breath audio monitored from AirPods’ microphones, according to a new research paper published in the Machine Learning Research section of Apple and Cornell University’s The study doesn’t identify which specific Apple AirPods product was used.

New research shows that Respiratory Rate can be monitored using Apple AirPods
AirPods Pro

The respiratory rate in humans is measured by counting the number of breaths for one minute. Respiration rates may increase with fever, illness, or other medical conditions.

Niel Smith for MyHealthyApple:

The researchers point out that remote estimation of RR offers a cost-effective method to track disease progression and cardio-respiratory fitness over time.

Breathlessness scores as quantified by the Borg Dyspnea Scale, is used to assess clinical severity of diseases such as peripheral artery disease (PAD) and other respiratory disorders, are subjective patient-reported measures.

Individuals with such conditions are typically required to interface with a healthcare provider in order for their symptoms to be recognized.

This work investigates a model-driven approach to estimate RR from short audio segments obtained after physical exertion in healthy adults.

MacDailyNews Take: If Apple’s AirPods can monitor and estimate Respiratory Rate, are even better microphones than the already-excellent ones available in AirPods and AirPods Pro coming in future versions of Apple’s wireless earbuds?


  1. Apple has discovered that when Air Pods are in use and the user thinks Apple’s recent announcement pertaining to photo tracking, respiratory rate rises materially. Also discovered in these circumstances, though covertly, the device also picks up loud voices and words normally associated as “street language.”

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