Apple patents headphones with biometric sensors to record your temperature, heart rate

BY Jason

Published 22 Feb 2014


Since last year or so, rumors about Apple entering the health and fitness gadgets market have greatly intensified. But Apple has been looking at this space since more than six years, as evident by this 2007 Apple patent filing about headphones equipped with biometric sensors.

The USPTO this week granted Apple a patent for headphones that can sense your temperature, perspiration and heart rate, making it an ideal companion for running, working out or playing sports. It would also track your activity, movement data etc. during exercise like the Nike FuelBand, and the Jawbone Up using an accelerometer.

Apart from these fitness sensors, the patent also says that the headphones could control electronic devices using head gestures. You could, for example, skip songs, change the volume by tilting or rotating your head in a certain direction. iOS already ships with a similar feature that lets you navigate between different screens of an app using head gestures.

The actual monitoring system can be included not just in headphones, but even hearing devices, earbuds, headsets or any other accessory that is close enough to the ear so that the sensors can read biometric data.

The patent was filed in 2007, just around the time the first iPhone was released. While Apple did do a major redesign of its earphones, it hasn’t added any sensing capabilities to them, perhaps saving such features for future products.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has said that the company will enter new product categories this year, most likely referring to the iWatch. Health and fitness will reportedly be a key iWatch feature, as Apple ramps up its sensors teamhires sleep researchers and physiologists. This data will be used in a new new iOS 8 app called Healthbook that’ll help you stay healthy and fit.

[USPTO via Apple Insider]