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Apple Patents AirPods with Advanced Biosensors for Health Monitoring

Client Updates / Jun 02, 2024

Written by: Haim Ravia and Dotan Hammer

Apple has been granted a patent for AirPods with biosensors to monitor various biosignals, according to the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. The patent, titled ‘Biosignal Sensing Device Using Dynamic Selection of Electrodes,’ describes a wearable device for measuring a user’s biological signals, including but not limited to electroencephalography (EEG), electromyography (EMG), and electrooculography (EOG).

The patent notes that brain activity can be monitored using electrodes on the scalp or inside/around the outer ear, with the latter often preferred due to reduced mobility and visibility. However, accurate measurements using an ear-EEG device may require customization for each user’s ear, including the concha, ear canal, and tragus. This customization can be costly and may still fail to generate accurate measurements over time due to changes in ear size and shape.

The patent suggests that AirPods could have active electrodes on replaceable tips and reference electrodes on the stems and housing. By touching a reference electrode, AirPods could quickly select sensors and start recording. This system could measure brain activity, muscle movement, eye movement, heart function, blood volume pulse, skin conductance, and perspiration. Multiple electrodes would ensure accurate data despite variations in ear canal size and shape, with an algorithm selecting the best sensors based on impedance and ambient noise.

Click here to read Apple’s patent.