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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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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).

intel-ear-buds.jpeg
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
 

ricci

macrumors 6502
Aug 21, 2012
259
13
NYC
Sensors from the ears!!! Yes of course!! Man, didn't see that one! Was so focus on watches!
 

odds

macrumors 6502
Aug 7, 2014
264
43
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.
 

luckydcxx

macrumors 65816
Jun 13, 2013
1,158
419
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.

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.
 

filmantopia

macrumors 6502a
Feb 5, 2010
865
2,513
not sure if id use it but it is cool.

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!

----------

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.

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.
 

FSMBP

macrumors 68030
Jan 22, 2009
2,721
2,753
I would rather have this than a watch.

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.
 

2457282

Suspended
Dec 6, 2012
3,327
3,015
I would rather have this than a watch.

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. :)
 

iMaven

macrumors 6502
Jan 21, 2011
324
23
I'd rather have a watch I can wear all day than earphones I can only wear periodically.
 

6836838

Suspended
Jul 18, 2011
1,536
1,325
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.
 

Padmini

macrumors 6502a
Aug 9, 2014
545
2
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.
 

odds

macrumors 6502
Aug 7, 2014
264
43
Los Angeles
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.

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.
 

pure-rockstar

macrumors regular
Jul 24, 2014
143
0
We've had the Nike integration for years. It's really hard to envision the interest in something like that.
 

engg2000

macrumors regular
Oct 25, 2009
121
21
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
Waterproof
Built in 4GB music player
Microphone
Charging case
HRM
O2 saturation sensor
Body Temperature
Fitness Tracker
Distance
Speed
Cadence
G-Force
Steps
Pace
Rotation
Selectable noise cancelling/audio transparency

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/hellobragi/the-dash-wireless-smart-in-ear-headphones
 

MiWall81

macrumors member
Jul 17, 2011
40
1
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!
 

JaySoul

macrumors 68030
Jan 30, 2008
2,629
2,865
Well, I always work out to music and think this is a great idea.

Give it a couple of years, could be awesome.
 

lewisdorigo

macrumors member
Sep 19, 2008
77
0
Ayrshire, Scotland
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.

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.
 

Chupa Chupa

macrumors G5
Jul 16, 2002
14,835
7,396
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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