Apple Inc.’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) mysterious iWatch crew is said to count amongst its numbers a team of health and fitness experts, and recent news suggests that it’s possible the company would be up for buying Basis, a startup responsible for one of the most accurate health-focused smartwatches on the market.
Apple is claiming a patent filed originally in 2007 for a “sports monitoring system for headphones, earburds, and/or headsets.” The filing, Apple Insider says, is proof positive that Apple has been inching its way into the integrated activity health monitor market for years now.
The device is pretty clever: It would be able to pick up minute details related to a person’s activity based on data it collects as a result of being placed in or near the ear. The activity sensor in the headphones would be able to use skin-based readings to pick up data about the wearer’s temperature, perspiration, and heart rate, among other data.
The patent doesn’t detail, however, how exactly the device would go about collecting heart rate, perspiration, and other physical data — only that it would be possible — although Apple does currently have other patents that describe sensors that can interact with a user’s skin, including one that covers cardiac signal detection, Apple Insider reports.
The patent does, however, describe an option to include an accelerometer, which would help the device collect accurate movement data. Some of the versions described even include several accelerometers, each of which would correspond to a different axis, according to Apple Insider.
There’s also an interesting option that would place the entire sensor apparatus within the earbud frame, an innovation that would remove the need for a companion device such as a smartwatch. That’s a real advantage given that active wearers are unlikely to want to be burdened by unnecessary accessories.
The Apple patent also provides a peculiar new way for users to give the device commands and navigate among its various functions. Apple Insider describes the possibility of changing tracks while listening to music by tilting or rotating one’s head in a pre-determined way.
With Apple’s iWatch still shrouded in clouds of rumors, the health-monitoring headphones patent at the very least suggests that Apple may indeed be eager to jump into the health and fitness monitoring field and may even be working on a standalone monitoring device.