Apple, Inc. Patents Headphones That Could Facilitate Health Monitoring

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Could one of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s filed patents point to a slew of future of health-related products? Back in 2008, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) filed a patent titled, “Sports monitoring system for headphones, earbuds, and/or headsets”. This particular patent is described as a way certain products can track your health stats and perform specific tasks all based on how you move your head.

Details behind Apple’s headphone patent

These sensors would be embedded in the headsets or earbuds. Once the sensors come in contact with your skin, they would be able to detect health stats such as temperature, perspiration, and heart rate among other physical stats. The patent’s sensors also respond to head motion to perform this task. For instance, the wearer could use one head tilt to pause a song, another head tilt to skip over to the next track, and third head tilt motion to raise/lower the volume.

Ventures into medical technology

The background of the invention is best described in the patent:

Conventionally, pedometers have been worn (e.g., attached to a wrist or to a user’s hip) to monitor and display a distance traveled by a user. More recently, accelerometers have been provided within a user’s shoe to measure distance and speed traveled by the user while walking or running. As one example, as explained in U.S. Pat. No. 6,898,550, a foot-mounted sensor can sense motion and wirelessly transmit sensor data to a wrist-mounted unit. As another example, a sports monitoring product (Nike+iPod) available from Apple Inc. can be utilized with a digital media player to monitor distance and speed of its user. The sports monitoring product includes a module that is placed within a shoe of the user, and the digital media player operates to wirelessly communicate with the module so that the distance and speed of the user can be displayed by the digital media player.

Given the numerous rumors of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s purported iWatch, it should be interesting to see what the company could do with this patent even if it’s not related to a smartwatch. Perhaps Apple will debut an array of health technology products in the near future.

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