BioTech

Apple Patents Headphones with Health Monitoring and 'Gesture Control'

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Apple was granted a patent today through the USPTO for new headphones with biometrics to track heart rate, perspiration levels and temperature. Details of the filing can be found on the USPTO website

Interestingly enough, we blogged before about a meeting between Apple and the FDA a few weeks ago, and this looks to be the very first product entry into the fitness category by Apple since that meeting. The"Sports monitoring system for headphones, earbuds and/or headsets" will be able to track physical data such as heart rate, perspiration, body temperature, and through the use of the mentioned accelerometer, also track user movement. 

In addition to the physical data and stat tracking, the Patent curiously mentions a "psychological" sensor. While enigmatic in it's explanation, this sensor could potentially utilize the biometric data gathered along with a number of software algorithms to asses or create a picture of a user's overall psychological or mental state. For example, by utilizing input requested on the users iPhone, iPod or iWatch about their age, sex, height, weight, the system could then combine that information with geographical data from GPS for assessing location, altitude, and barometric pressure, adding in monitored health data during exercise or day to day goings about, applying a software algorithm to then generate a picture of a person's psychological state as surmised from their body's reactions to these metrics. All of this is speculation of course, but the mentioned "psychological" sensor BEGS that type of speculation in the absence of any first hand explanation from Apple. 

Packing in this much additional tech and hardware into the headphones will make them an even more valuable product than the normal headphones packed in with Apple mobile products. From our experience with Apple's earbuds in the past, one would assume that Apple would make them a much higher quality and more comfortable headphone than previously released sets, as many users don't even take the current headphones out of the package and opt for higher quality, MUCH better sounding ones. 

Running Shoes that heal themselves, Rebuild overnight...

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According to an article over at Dezeen, a London based "designer and researcher Shamees Aden has developed a concept for running shoes that would be 3D-printed from synthetic biologicalmaterial and could repair themselves overnight." They say that "Shamees Aden's Protocells trainer would be 3D-printed to the exact size of the user's foot from a material that would fit like a second skin. It would react to pressure and movement created when running, puffing up to provide extra cushioning where required.

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Aden developed the project in collaboration with Dr Martin Hanczyc, a professor at the University of Southern Denmark who specialises in protocell technology. Protocells are very basic molecules that are not themselves alive, but can be combined to create living organisms. By mixing different types of these non-living molecules, scientists are attempting to produce artificial living systems that can be programmed with different behaviours, such as responsiveness to pressure, light and heat.

"The cells have the capability to inflate and deflate and to respond to pressure," Aden told Dezeen at the Wearable Futures conference in London. "As you're running on different grounds and textures it's able to inflate or deflate depending on the pressure you put onto it and could help support you as a runner." After a run, the protocells in the material would lose their energy and the shoes would be placed in a jar filled with protocell liquid, which would keep the living organisms healthy. The liquid could also be dyed any colour, causing the shoes to take on that colour as the cells rejuvenate.

"You would take the trainers home and you would have to care for it as if it was a plant, making sure it has the natural resources needed to rejuvenate the cells," said the designer.

Aden added that her footwear project was intended to help a broader range of people comprehend the potential of protocell technology, and claimed the speculative results could become reality by 2050."

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