Apple granted patent for health-monitoring earphones with motion detection
In January, we wrote about LG'sLifeband Touch and its companion pair of ear-phones. The HeartRatebuds, which will debut in the first half of 2014, are the first oftheir kind. They will monitor your vital signs through your ears andsimultaneously pump them full of music. The concept is innovative,and now we learn that not only LG has been interested in it.
Yesterday, the USPTO granted Apple apatent for earphones and headphones with embedded sensors, which theiPhone maker filed back in 2007. Theyinclude motion detection for music-related gesture controls. Theprocessing is handled by a module simply called “monitoringsystem”. It can be worn on the user's body (clothes), attached to adigital device (stationary or mobile), or built into a headset.Perhaps the invention was conceived with the iPod in mind, which wasa big seller for Apple back in the day.
The iPod Touch could have paired nicelywith the biometric earphones, but Cupertino was smart to wait for theappropriate moment. Right now, health monitoring is opening up a newmarket niche within the world of smart technology, and Apple will beseeking to dominate it. Recent reports have revealed that the companyhas been meeting with FDA experts in the field of regulation andapproval for medical apps and devices. It's also confirmed that theupcoming Apple iWatch will include health-monitoring sensors.Furthermore, a health app, codenamed Healthbook, is under developmentfor release with iOS 8.
The biometric earphones are justanother step in a direction that Apple has been following for muchlonger than expected. However, it will be interesting to see whetherLG's competing product will spark another unhealthy patent battle.