Apple has been on a patent spree for the past few weeks. The company has also been reported hiring a new range of specialists for features not seen on previous Apple offerings. Lately, patent sightings note that Apple plans on including health monitoring headphones and head gesture control in its devices. As the iPhone 6 will soon be releasing, there are analysts who believe that the new patents and features will be included in the flagship phone. Apple may also begin including such features on other products like the iPad and the MacBook series.
Apple Insider reported Apple investing on monitoring fitness and health. This means the company will be putting out devices that can help users keep track of their health. The latest patent sighted under Apple from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office says that company has been working on a biometric headphone system. The system can recognize a range of metrics like heart rate, perspiration levels and temperature.
Looking back to the provisional patent back in 2007, the U.S. Patent No. 8,655,004 named "Sports monitoring system for headphones, earbuds and/or headsets" confirms that the tech giant has been looking into the integration of activity monitors for almost six years now.
The patent describes a fitness monitoring system included in a set of headphones. People often wear headphones during workouts to listen to music. Once the user places the headset near their ears, the integrated sensor can track the perspiration, heart rate and temperature data. The system may also monitor other metrics depending on what Apple would like to add.
Aside from skin-based monitoring, there will also be an accelerometer included in the earbud chassis. This can handle collection of precise movement data. There are embodiments that may require a few accelerometers addressing different axes.
The patent shows how the activity sensor may be included in the upper or lower part of the earbud. Apple's solution is to position the sensing apparatus just inside the earbud frame. This mechanism will allow users to do away with separate components like a smartwatch. They can easily integrate health monitoring into one device.
The patent has not detailed how the device will be collecting the physical data. As earphones and headsets can be used along with different devices like a smartphone, tablet or laptop, Apple may be including the mechanism soon on its offerings.