Back in 2014 Intel introduced a next-generation of music earbuds that were designed for runners and sports enthusiasts. The new earbuds introduced biometrics that could monitor a user's heartbeat and more while being controlled by their digital assistant called "Jarvis." Of course Apple had such an invention going all the way back to their filing in 2008. That invention has now been granted a patent. Another site reporting on this today mistakenly said that Apple's invention would work with Siri, but the invention doesn't support spoken commands whatsoever. The invention does however support head-gestures to control this next-generation of EarPods. The "wireless communications" noted in the report is in context with communicating with the monitoring system on an iPhone or iPod, not verbal communications.
Apple's newly granted patent 9,497,534 covers their invention relating to a monitoring system that could be placed proximate to the head or ear of a user. According to one embodiment, the monitoring system can be used with a hearing device, headphones, earbuds or headsets. The monitoring system could, for example, be used to monitor user activity, such as during exercise or sporting activities. The positioning of the monitoring system could also facilitate sensing of other user characteristics (e.g., biometric data), such as temperature, perspiration and heart rate.
Apple's patent states that the new sports oriented EarPods would be convenient for users than having to use a monitoring device in running shoes like the Nike+iPod system.
The added feature unique to this next-generation of EarPods, should it come to market, is that the user would be able to control some functionality using head gestures. Apple's patent notes that "receiving head motion data pertaining a head motion of a user of the electronic device; determining whether the head motion data matches any of a plurality of predetermined head gestures; and identifying an action associated with the matching predetermined head gesture. Additionally, the method can further operate to perform the identified action on the electronic device."
While Apple could always add Siri to the mix, it's not supported in this particular patent in its claims or otherwise.
Although some of the patent claims were updated over the years, the original 2008 patent application that was published by USPTO in 2010 was covered in our original report titled "Apple Reveals Advanced Sports Monitoring and Head Gesturing Systems." Check out our original report for more details.
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