AirPods measure your respiratory rate by simply listening. You breathe.


AirPods measure your respiratory rate by simply listening.
You breathe.

Most people are using their AirPods for audio input. They listen to podcasts, music, or phone calls. Apple’s Machine Learning Institute did a new study and discovered what AirPod users were using for their audio output.

The study suggests that AirPods are capable of keeping track of a user’s respiratory rate by monitoring the sound of their breaths in the AirPods’ microphones, a prospect that has huge implications in the realm of wearable health products. AirPods allow you to monitor the breathing of individuals remotely, which is a great alternative to in-person visits for monitoring conditions and diseases that can affect your respiratory health.

The study found that 21 participants used near-field microphones to collect data before, during and after exercise. The manual method of calculating the respiratory rate by counting exhalations and inhalations was used to manually identify it. The researchers also utilized a memory network in order to overlay various audio conditions on the subjects’ breathing. This was done to see if they could detect respiratory rate in louder environments.

It’s not the first time Apple products are being studied to monitor respiratory health. Apple Watches with watchOS 7 now have the ability to track a user’s breathing. This optional feature is available in the Sleep metrics section of Health app. The watch’s accelerometer measures the amount of breathing and does not require audio input.

A second study, published in Nature Biomedical Engineering, concluded smartwatch data about respiratory rate is valuable for catching coronavirus infection. It also found that 63% of COVID-19 patients could have been caught before symptoms onset if the wearable had recorded breathing data.

Apple is constantly finding new ways to use its technology to monitor users’ health, and at one point reportedly considered operating its own brand of primary care clinics. Apple denies this rumor. However, the new study suggests that AirPods could be a useful tool for clinical care in legitimate settings.

Publiated at Sun, 15 August 2021 17:10:40 +0000


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