Apple Hiring MIT Researcher With Expertise in Ear-Worn Vital Signs Monitor

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, May 1, 2014.

  1. macrumors bot

    MacRumors

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    Apple may be adding to its wearables team, as MIT researcher Eric Winokur will be joining the company in the coming weeks, according to a source who spoke to MacRumors. Winokur, who does research at MIT's Medical Electronic Devices Realization Center, has recently worked on an ear-worn "wearable vital signs monitor." According to his LinkedIn page, one of his specialties is "wearable medical device R&D."

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    Winokur is listed as an author on a number of academic papers focusing on cardiovascular ear-worn devices that measure vital signs. His work was published in two 2012 papers, the first entitled "An ear-worn continuous ballistocardiogram (BCG) sensor for cardiovascular monitoring" and the second entitled "A wearable vital signs monitor at the ear for continuous heart rate and pulse transit time measurements." Ballistocardiography aims to measure the movement of blood into major vessels with each heart beat.

    Both papers describe an ear-worn device that is designed to wirelessly monitor vital signs using a built-in triaxial accelerometer. The devices are described as taking on the form factor of a hearing aid and are wirelessly connected to a PC for data recording and analysis.

    Word of Winokur's hiring comes just as a rumor has surfaced claiming Apple is planning to launch EarPods headphones with integrated heart rate and blood pressure sensors. While the claim is extremely sketchy, Apple patent applications have revealed the company's interest in integrating biometric sensors into headphones in the past.

    Regardless, it is unclear if Winokur will continue his work on ear-worn monitoring devices at Apple or perhaps move to focus on wearables in general, such as the iWatch. Given the timing of his hiring, it is unlikely his expertise will impact any of Apple's product plans rumored for later this year, but he may certainly contribute to the company's ongoing efforts in the health and wearables area.

    In a 2011 interview with ABC, Winokur described the benefit of the medical device he was developing, suggesting it was to be worn in the ear all day for continuous monitoring of blood pressure and heart rate.
    In recent months, Apple has taken an intense interest in health monitoring, hiring multiple health experts with a range of skills and interests, including non-invasive monitoring of heart rate, oxygen saturation, glucose, and more. Many of the experts have joined the company's iWatch team, focusing on developing a sensor-laden wearable device that may be released later this year.

    Alongside the iWatch, Apple is also developing iOS 8, which is said to have a heavy focus on health with its included "Healthbook" app, designed to aggregate health-related data from a variety of sources. While Winokur's role is currently unknown, he is set to join Apple next month.

    Article Link: Apple Hiring MIT Researcher With Expertise in Ear-Worn Vital Signs Monitor
     
  2. macrumors 603

    Michaelgtrusa

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    Good pick from a great school.
     
  3. macrumors P6

    Peace

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    #3
    While this is good for Apple I think they are going to create a paranoid,hypochondriac culture.
     
  4. macrumors 6502

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    #4
    So the last rumor must be true that they are working on something. It's odd to Apple goes and gets someone who can get data from the ears after a rumor
     
  5. macrumors 68030

    BvizioN

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    #5
    Awareness is not a bad thing.
     
  6. macrumors newbie

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    #6
    Heart monitoring

    Without predicting what Apple plans, there are so many ways that consumer tech could improve medical treatment. Heart attacks could be predicted and treated before they occur with low cost monitoring - the arrhythmia often show up well before the full symptoms. Today's EKG is like using a 1960's mainframe.
     
  7. macrumors 68000

    Crosscreek

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    #7
    He would be better off on his own.

    The egos are gathering.
     
  8. macrumors 68000

    69Mustang

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    #8
    Wild rumor not so wild.
     
  9. macrumors 65816

    Frankied22

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  10. macrumors 6502

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    Let's see...your iPhone could predict that you are going to have a heart attack (or detect it after the fact), and call 911 for you, or it could figure out you need some hyper-tension drugs, OK it with your doctor, place the order and even pay for it for you, hmmm, what else...? This will give us one LESS thing to be paranoid about. What could go wrong? :)

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    Not according to Sheldon. :) BTW, where did he go to school? Has it ever been said? Or is it CalTech?

    (i.e. The Big Bang Theory Sheldon)
     
  11. macrumors 6502

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    Sounds like fun. I mean, have you ever seen a sad Borg?

    Resistence is futile.
     
  12. macrumors regular

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    Although a little extreme, you make a good point. There is a razor thin line between hypochondriac and well informed. As a healthcare worker, however, I feel like I would rather live with the former because of the rampant Heart/Kidney disease that could be prevented if those who are significantly underinformed were enlightened. The number of people with debilitating renal disease from chronic HTN is astronomical and more importantly avoidable. On the flip side though, I've already thrown in the towel - I will be a hypochondriac.
     
  13. macrumors member

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    #13
    Correct. The potential for non-invasive health monitoring and diagnostics are huge. The challenge will of course also be the software and data safety/privacy aspects. I firmly believe that - if properly implemented - these technologies together with advances in blood biomarkers will lead to a health care revolution.
     
  14. macrumors newbie

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    News just in...

    Apple is also incorporating all this as well as an inbuilt translator designed in such a way that there are no batteries and it will never run out of power....

    It shall be called the iBabel jibber-fish
     

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  15. macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    Interesting timing for that recent rumor. ;) It's sounds like a perfectly matching position at Apple.
     
  16. macrumors regular

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    #16
    As someone in the medical field, I can tell you this is already a thing.

    The only things that really help physicians tell patients they are ok (except extreme cases) are data and tests. Now, instead of having Ms. Hypo Chondriac come in each week for a BP reading, you can have a continuous monitor which will give a MUCH better reading than a single check (see White Coat Syndrome).

    Who knows, also, what Apple has planned for this. Having the technology is one thing. What Apple is supremely good at is using technology to give us something new and useful - Ping excluded.

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    Oh God, could you imagine how awesome it would be if people could use an iOS device and peripherals as a Holter Monitor?

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    The link in the article says Lehigh:
    http://medrc.mit.edu/team-members/eric-winokur/
     
  17. macrumors 65816

    Four oF NINE

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    Well this should be a big hit with the health and fitness nuts.
     
  18. macrumors 65816

    iBlazed

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    #18
    Macrumors will have to add a separate forum for health related issues. I can just see the threads now:

    "My blood pressure is 123/72, that's like two points more than normal, do I have hypertension???"
     
  19. macrumors newbie

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    #19
    In-ear like a hearing aid you say?

    Cursor_and_her_-_Google_Search.png
     
  20. macrumors regular

    DarkCole

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    #20
    So if the earbuds are going this route, what is the iWatch going to do for health?
     
  21. macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    So if health earpods use the lightning port, what are the chances we see wireless charging?
     
  22. macrumors demi-god

    firedept

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    I look forward to the day I step of the ambulance and someone hands me an iPhone with a patients vitals. I could be totally wrong here and maybe this tech would be a good thing in the future, but dread it right now.

    I hope this tech, if heading anywhere, is headed in the fitness direction for now.
     
  23. macrumors member

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  24. macrumors 65816

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    The fact that they're just starting to hire staff for this kind of stuff indicates that a release date is far, far away. Given how perfectionists Apple is, I wouldn't count on anything in the market until mid 2015 at the earliest, if not end of the year 2015.

    But if anyone was hoping for some breakthrough devices at WWDC, might as well lower your expectations now. If we get anything it won't be much.
     
  25. macrumors member

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    #25
    "Two and a half trillion", the news reporter says as the screen shows 2.5 billion ....
     

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