New biometric wearables may be coming from Apple and Alphabet, researchers work on health monitoring
A new line of earphones will be produced by Apple with biometric heart rate monitoring next year, according to a rumor covered by Patently Apple.
The new AirPod Pro will be the second generation, following the three products already launched to the successful wireless earphone line.
Patently Apple writes that a Digitimes report says product assemblers in Vietnam are preparing to manufacture new AirPods for the first half of 2021, with new AirPod Pros produced in the second half of the year.
Apple has discussed integrating heart rate monitoring technology in patents related to headphones since 2009, and in 2017 Patently Apple produced a report on the various patents Apple had filed for relating to biometric properties integrated into AirPods as the company pursues the “sports headphones” market. At the time, the publication said sensors built into the earbuds could include VO2, galvanic skin response (GSR), electrocardiogram (EKG) or impedance cardiography (ICG) sensors.
Alphabet is reported to be paying $180 million to acquire Canada-based smart glasses maker North, 9to5Google reports.
North produced smart glasses called Focals from a pair of stores, in Toronto and Brooklyn, but they often went days without a sale, and it is considered unlikely the company far surpassed 1,000 units in sales. A new Focals 2.0 with a ten times larger display and a 40 percent smaller design has been teased, the original version was discontinued in December. Earlier in 2019 the cost of Focals had been cut from $999 to $599.
Customers would have a 3D scan of their face captured as part of a fitting process.
The company may be taken on by Alphabet, but could also be merged into Google’s AR and VR division.
Google’s Glass wearable became an enterprise-only product in 2017.
Wearables for biometric monitoring
A real-time biometric monitoring system for patients with infectious diseases like COVID-19 has been developed by researchers in Korea, according to Aju Business Daily.
The system uses a VDR-1000 device for measuring biometrics and health data like heart rate, pulse, respiration, and blood pressure, along with a VMA-1000 central monitoring system. The hope is that the device will enable medical professionals to monitor patients from a safe distance.
The system has been classified as a second-class medical device by the National Institute of Medical Device Safety Information (NIDS), which allows it to be deployed to hospitals and exported.
State research body Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) was involved in the system’s development. The testing process was shortened in order to prepare for a second COVID-19 wave.
Overseas certification is being pursued by the medical device company which is set to receive the technology transfer from ETRI.
Garmin watches are not only being used in the COVIDENTIFY study being run by Duke researchers, but also a study called “DETECT” by Scripps Research which aims to improve future outbreak responses, and one launched by PhysioQ called “NEO” with a focus on family health, KSHB Kansas City reports.
All three studies make use of biometric heart rate, blood oxygen, sleep amount and stress level data to detect changes in health prior to the onset of symptoms.
In the future, biometric monitoring devices could be manufactured with the same pencil and paper they are designed on, according to a new process described in a research paper and spotted by Engadget.
Pencils with cores made from 90 percent or more graphite can leave marks on office supply paper conducive enough, in theory, to power small circuits. Graphite can also serve as a sensing electrode, with the paper providing flexible support structure, according to the article. The benefits in terms of cost and easy access may be undone by the downside in terms of durability, but only years of further research will determine if there is any possible commercial application.