Monday, October 28, 2013

New tech uses regular earphones to detect heart rate

More and more people run around the streets, "bitten" by the desire to improve their physical prowess. It's kind of a moderate addiction, that in part might be due to the popularization of smartphones and sports tracking apps. You see... it's one thing to run around without any goal; but see your performance displayed in a chart or a table, and you quickly feel motivated to do better and better.

Anyway, tracking apps can only do so much. For instance, they're great to track your location and times, but if you want to know more about your body, you'll need to add cumbersome external sensors, like heart rate monitors. What if you could do it with something you probably use already?

A new tech makes it possible to use regular earphones as heart rate monitors, and that means even low quality cheap ones as well. The researchers proved it by using sub $10 earphones for the demo, and it worked flawlessly. The technique involves using the earphones as microphones to detect the tiny pressure variations caused by the blood flowing in your ear, and the rest is digital processing magic.

Now we just have to wait and see how long this technology will take to reach us. Hope it won't be too long.

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