Earphones Filled With Health and Fitness Sensors Ready to Flood the Wearables Market

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Aug 15, 2014.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    As Apple moves closer to launching its rumored health and fitness oriented iWatch, there has been significant focus on the types of sensors Apple might be looking to deploy. Among the intriguing options have been sensor-equipped earphones, which Apple has filed patent applications on in the past and which saw renewed attention following the posting of an unfounded rumor about EarPods with embedded biometric sensors earlier this year.

    Earphones with health and fitness sensors do continue to be a topic of interest, and other manufacturers are preparing to bring their own products to the wearables market later this year. One biometric headphone attracting attention is a new offering from Intel and SMS Audio, which has musician 50 Cent as a co-founder (via Re/Code).

    The SMS Audio BioSport In-Ear Headphones include heart rate monitoring powered by Intel technology and feature SMS Audio's high-quality sound, comfort and fashion. The ear buds will use a combination of sensors, including an optical light sensor, to measure both resting and active heart rates. Powered by the smartphone's audio jack, the headphones will share their data with a variety of third-party apps, with RunKeeper integration available at launch.

    Intel and SMS Audio may be among the biggest names entering the sensor headphone market, but they are not alone. Earlier this year, LG released its own Bluetooth-connected, heart-rate-measuring earphones with mixed reviews. Hitting the market later this year are wireless Smart Earphones from FreeWavz, which monitors heart rate and other key fitness metrics. The Kickstarter-backed product reached its funding goal earlier this month and has a target ship date of October 2014.

    Beyond the ultimately false rumor of EarPods with biometric sensors and Apple's patent applications dating back a number of years, the company also recently hired former MIT researcher Eric Winokur as a Sensing Hardware engineer. Winokur is known for his work on wearable medical devices, including ear-worn sensors for cardiovascular monitoring. It is not known, however, whether Winokur is continuing his work on ear-worn sensors at Apple or if he is contributing more broadly to the biometrics team working on the iWatch.

    Article Link: Earphones Filled With Health and Fitness Sensors Ready to Flood the Wearables Market
  2. macrumors 68020


    Oct 21, 2013
  3. macrumors member

    Jun 20, 2010
  4. macrumors regular


    Aug 21, 2012
    Sensors from the ears!!! Yes of course!! Man, didn't see that one! Was so focus on watches!
  5. macrumors 603

    The Doctor11

    Dec 15, 2013
    I would have a watch on more then earbuds so I think a watch is better
  6. macrumors regular

    Aug 7, 2014
    Los Angeles
    Interesting. I hadn't thought of putting these types of sensors in headphones until now. I'd rather have a watch though because I typically workout with buddies and I don't like keeping headphones in for an entire workout even when exercising alone.

    A watch seems like it'd be better for tracking health data all day long anyways.

    Cool. Can't wait to see what Apple has in store for us re: iWatch and HealthKit.
  7. macrumors 65816


    Jun 13, 2013
    I'm with you on this. the watch seems like it would be on for a much longer period throughout the day. It would be able to gather much more data.
  8. macrumors newbie

    Aug 13, 2014
    Can't wait! These things looks sweet! Here's my money now take it. :)
  9. macrumors 6502

    Feb 5, 2010
    Too many people in the U.S. are just not living healthy lifestyles, so I'm hoping this surge of health-tracking tech will help convince more people to care, and to do something about their diet and physical activity.

    I hear a lot of people saying that health features are "not for me", but they should be. They should be for everyone!


    Perhaps the earbuds will be able to collect different types of data. Apple is after all being rumored to incorporate health tracking devices in their own earbuds as well as the watch.
  10. Shrink, Aug 15, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 15, 2014

    macrumors demi-god


    Feb 26, 2011
    New England, USA
    So what you are saying is... I like it, so it is, ipso facto, better.
  11. macrumors 68020


    Jan 22, 2009
    I agree. If you mix these headphones, with the iPhone 5s' built in pedometer feature in iOS 8, it collects a lot of fitness info without the need for a watch. Plus, you don't have to keep track of charging a second device.

    But, I'm going to hold-off to see what this Watch has in store.
  12. macrumors 68000

    Cuban Missles

    Dec 6, 2012
    My heart is in Camagüey, the rest in the USA
    I think I agree. I stopped using a watch a while ago and would prefer not to carry additional gadgets around. I do already have earphones and use it for phone conversations and to listen to music. So it already in place, so adoption seems like it could be way easier.

    Now the big caveat is the implementation of both. If it is well done, maybe a watch will turn out to be awesome and better than the ear-thingy. Right now, however, I am not really turned on by the watch. But the 5.5 inch phone is not a turn on either. We will see how the spinsters work their magic on 9/9 and maybe they will work me into a tizzy and I will by everything they sell. :)
  13. macrumors 601


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    So how long until Apple buys SMS Audio for $3 billion? ;)
  14. macrumors 6502


    Jan 21, 2011
    I'd rather have a watch I can wear all day than earphones I can only wear periodically.
  15. macrumors 65816


    Oct 6, 2009
    Great. Just what we need. Headphones whispering in our ear telling us we're fat.
  16. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 18, 2011
    Impressive those are powered purely by the audio jack. I never liked the idea of lightning earphones, as no use in anything else non-Apple.
  17. macrumors 6502a

    Aug 9, 2014
    Coming to a niche market near you.

    I'm not sure why blogs overestimate the interest in products with "health" sensors.

    Look at how overblown the "Health" aspect of WWDC was....prior to the event every blog was running with this "fitness focus" that they couldn't stop talking about....that turned out to be completely wrong, and was merely a footnote of the 2 + hour presentation.
  18. macrumors regular

    Aug 7, 2014
    Los Angeles
    Good point about health tracking for everyone. I'm optimistic. I think there will be tons of addicting games and apps in the near future that will incentivize users to get and stay healthy. There'll be competitive apps for health for the athletes, competitive-natured and already-fit people of the world and there will be health apps/games focused on helping people with less-than-healthy lifestyles.

    Here's to hoping Apple is serious about all this.
  19. macrumors regular

    Jul 24, 2014
    We've had the Nike integration for years. It's really hard to envision the interest in something like that.
  20. macrumors member

    Oct 25, 2009
    Comment, NO
    If you Like these, You have to see this from Kickstarter...

    Nice idea but even better is the 'Dash' from Bragi
    Should be ready in January 2015.
    Can't wait.

    Bluetooth 4.0
    Built in 4GB music player
    Charging case
    O2 saturation sensor
    Body Temperature
    Fitness Tracker
    Selectable noise cancelling/audio transparency

  21. macrumors member

    Jul 17, 2011
    This is Getting Ridiculous...

    It's getting to the point of me needing to wear a 12-lead ECG monitor around at all times 24/7 so I can see and know every single thing about my body. Cool? Yes, but it's getting a little crazy!
  22. macrumors 6502

    Feb 27, 2014
    Is that press release copy? Come on.
  23. macrumors 68000


    Jan 30, 2008
    Well, I always work out to music and think this is a great idea.

    Give it a couple of years, could be awesome.
  24. macrumors member

    Sep 19, 2008
    Ayrshire, Scotland
    Earphones, though, have the advantage of not needing to be charged, or to have a battery —they can get power from the headphone jack. A watch would need to be removed, and charged (at the very least) once a week.
  25. macrumors G4

    Chupa Chupa

    Jul 16, 2002
    I don't its and either headphones or watch, but rather the headphones compliment the watch. The headphones take the place of the chest strap that many now use for cardio monitoring while exercising. The strap communicates with a running watch to calculate performance.

    There are watches that monitor cardio via the wrist but they are not as accurate as having a sensor directly on the chest cavity. This is a interesting idea though, and lord knows I'd love to not wear a strap. I'd even give up wearing my Shure SE535s. But accuracy is primary.

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