Headphones just got better over time. They are more than just an accessory that you can use to listen to your favorite music. Instead, they’ve evolved to bring us better audio quality on calls and conferences, noise cancellation, heart rate sensors, and more. Now, Apple’s researchers are suggesting that earbuds could also be used to measure a user’s breathing rate, which means Apple may want to incorporate this feature into future AirPods.
It seems that we might get a new feature in future AirPods that could be used to estimate respiratory rate, a clinical metric used to assess physical fitness and health. Now this information has been discovered by MyHealthyApple on the Apple Machine Learning Research website. The AirPods or the microphones appear to be capable of picking up the sound made when a user inhales and exhales with the device’s microphones, opening up potential use for biometric health sensors.
“The data was collected from 21 people who used microphone-enabled near-field headphones before, during and after strenuous exercise. RR was annotated manually by counting the audibly perceived inhalations and exhalations. “
“A multi-level convolutional neural network was used to achieve signal clarity, among other things, and the observed results show that RR can be estimated with a concordance correlation coefficient (CCC) of 0.76 and a mean square error (MSE) of 0.2 that audio can be a useful signal for the passive estimation of the RR. “
“The results presented confirm that the RR can be estimated from audio recordings with portable microphones, which enables the detection of severe breathing conditions and the monitoring of RR changes, a measure of cardiorespiratory fitness, over time. The results are promising for the further development of a respiratory health instrument with a larger study cohort. “
There is no mention of AirPods in the publication, but we can guess that there are portable microphones in these devices, which means that this could easily become a future AirPods feature. Remember, Cupertino is one of the best when it comes to bringing health monitoring oriented features to its users.
Apple has worked to patent several inventions, such as the “Headphones and Headphones Fine-Tuning Structure,” which incorporates advanced biometric sensors that can detect physiological readings such as temperature, heart rate, sweat levels and more through built-in sensors and skin contact.
Rumors also suggest that Apple may plan to make RR tracking available to its users through the Apple Watch with iOS 15 and the Health app, which is expected to show that Ingo after a workout or after waking up. But we will have to wait for these features to materialize as some patents and ideas never come to light. Anyway, it would be a cool new feature for future AirPods. Here, too, we just have to wait and see.
A former bilingual teacher who left the classrooms to join the Pocketnow team as news editors and content creators for the Spanish audience. An artist by nature who enjoys video games, guitars, action figures, cooking, painting, drawing, and good music.