A patent application hints at Apple’s plan to turn AirPods into discreet brain activity monitors.
Apple AirPods, the popular truly wireless stereo (TWS) earphones, could soon serve a dual purpose as health monitoring tools. A recently published patent application by the US Patent Office (USPTO) reveals that Apple has developed a sensor mechanism for AirPods that could monitor electrical impulses from the wearer’s brain. This innovation may pave the way for more convenient and discreet brain activity monitoring, potentially transforming the way we track our health in the future.
The Patent: A Wearable Device with Electrodes:
The patent application describes a wearable electronic device, similar to Apple’s AirPods, equipped with electrodes that can monitor various biosignals, including brain activity (electroencephalography or EEG), electrooculography, galvanic skin response, blood volume pulse, and electromyography. These electrodes could provide users with the ability to monitor their brain activity without the need for external machines, even while on the go.
Incorporating Electrodes into AirPods Design:
Unlike traditional EEG monitors that require attachment to the user’s scalp, the challenge for AirPods lies in their mobility once inserted into the ears. Apple’s solution involves integrating active and reference electrodes onto the external body of the AirPods. Additionally, several additional electrodes are strategically placed on the eartips, taking into account variations in ear shape and size.
Sensor Circuit and Switching Circuit:
The patent abstract outlines a “wearable electronic device includes a sensor circuit and a switching circuit.” The switching circuit can electrically connect subsets of the electrodes to the sensor circuit. This sophisticated configuration ensures accurate monitoring of brain activity while maintaining the convenience of wireless earphones.
Replaceable Eartips and Biosignal Measurement Mechanism:
Apple’s patent application also includes provisions for replaceable eartips on the AirPods, ensuring optimal comfort and functionality. A user-friendly mechanism allows users to initiate biosignal measurements with a simple tap on a section of the earphone’s body.
Expanding to Other Devices:
The patent hints at the possibility of incorporating similar biosignal monitoring features in other Apple devices, such as wired earphones (EarPods) or even a pair of glasses. Electrodes would be positioned on specific parts of these devices, expanding the reach of health monitoring to a broader range of products.
While the patent application has raised excitement about the potential integration of health monitoring capabilities into AirPods, it is unclear when or if Apple will implement these features in the popular earphones. Nevertheless, rumors suggest that Apple is actively exploring new health features, such as temperature monitoring, for its wearables. The company is also working on non-invasive blood sugar monitoring for the Apple Watch, further illustrating its commitment to advancing health tracking technologies.
Apple’s patent application offers a glimpse into the tech giant’s potential plans to revolutionize health monitoring through AirPods. By incorporating electrode sensors into their sleek design, AirPods could provide users with a discreet and accessible way to monitor their brain activity and overall health. As Apple continues to innovate in the health tech space, we may soon witness a transformation in how wearable devices play an integral role in our well-being. However, until Apple makes an official announcement, we can only await the unveiling of their next-generation wearable devices, eagerly anticipating the possibilities they might bring to health and wellness tracking.