Future AirPods could boast ambient light sensors that track users’ heart rate, head movements and steps taken, Digitimes claimed Monday.
The report says the new health-tracking tech might find its way into Apple’s AirPods in the “coming 1-2” years. The feature reportedly will enable the ultra-popular wireless earbuds to track various activities and potentially monitor certain health conditions.
The report does not provide much more detail than that. However, it notes that Taiwanese firm ASE Technology may be in charge of providing the ambient light-sensor technology for Apple.
AirPods: Health-monitoring wearables?
The ability to use ambient light to track various health-related metrics , including heart rate, has previously been demonstrated by researchers. It works by measuring the intensity of light as it passes through the body’s tissues, and using this data to draw conclusions. There is already an ambient light sensor found in the iPhone. It measures the light in a room so the brightness of the phone’s screen can be automatically adjusted.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard that Apple might be interested in building health-tracking capabilities into AirPods. In the past, Apple filed patents such as one covering wireless earbuds with built-in sensors for performing heart-rate monitoring and measuring body temperature.
Given what a massive selling point, health-tracking has been for the Apple Watch, it’s no surprise that Apple would be interested in similar tech for its AirPods. Apple CEO Tim Cook previously said he believes Apple’s contribution to health will be its biggest legacy as a company.