Apple’s move towards a focus on health and fitness for the iPhone was further evidenced today, after a patent for a monitoring system that could be placed in ear buds to record things such as body temperature, heart rate and perspiration levels. This patent will position Apple into the healthcare space, an area of business they have been trying to get into for years.
In a patent filed at the US Patent and Trademark Office which was submitted by Apple in 2008, Apple outlines how it would use sensors in a pair of headphones to track activity such as body temperature, perspiration levels and heart rate. The patent — “Sports monitoring system for headphones, earbuds and/or headsets” — describes a monitoring system that works via “an audio output device configured to be positioned within a user’s ear” to measure a range of factors including body temperature, perspiration and the user’s heart rate.
The patent also specifies a “method for controlling a portable electronic device through one or more head gestures”, or in other words, the potential to control devices — presumably an iPhone or iPad — simply by shaking your head.
The monitoring device would have sensors, such as an accelerometer, a gyroscope, or some other motion sensor that could be used to detect the pitch, roll and/or yaw of a person’s head. Using those sensors, a user could input commands to an attached electronic device. So, by tilting your head to the right, left, backward or forward, or even rotating it to the left or right “an entire head gesture language may be developed,” according to the patent.
The race for ‘wearable’ technology is rapidly getting more competitive. Technology rival Google is also looking to explore the healthcare field with contact lens that can monitor diabetes. If Apple is really looking to get its feet wet in this particular arena then it’s safe to say they probably have diabetes related technology patents being drawn up as well.
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