Hey, what’s up, folks? It’s your boy, the Experimental Scientist, coming at you with some mind-blowing news straight from Google. So check it out, the market for these true wireless stereo (TWS) active noise canceling (ANC) hearables, like headphones and earbuds, has been blowing up lately. And get this, by 2023, the global shipment volume of these bad boys is gonna be almost double that of smart wristbands and watches. Crazy, right?
Now, the reason why hearables are so popular is because of all the cool features they come with. I’m talking about things like ANC, transparency mode, and artificial intelligence. These advancements have extended the amount of time people are wearing these hearables. It’s not just for music anymore, folks. People are wearing them to exercise, to focus, or just to adjust their mood. It’s a whole new world.
But here’s the thing, when it comes to health, hearables are still a bit of a mystery. That’s where we come in, my friends. In a recent presentation at MobiCom 2023, we introduced a groundbreaking technology called Audioplethysmography (APG) for Cardiac Monitoring in Hearables. This innovation allows ANC hearables to monitor your heart rate and heart rate variability without adding any extra sensors or draining your battery. Pretty sweet, right?
So, how does APG work, you ask? Well, it’s all about ultrasound waves, baby. We send a low intensity ultrasound wave through the speakers of your ANC headphones, and then we collect the receiving wave through the feedback microphones. These waves sync up with your heartbeat and give us all sorts of juicy information about your heart. We’re talking dicrotic notches and all that good stuff. It’s like having a personal cardiologist in your ear!
Now, you might be wondering why we’re focusing on the ear canal for health sensing. Well, turns out, the ear canal is a prime location for monitoring your health. It’s got this deep ear artery that supplies blood to the auditory canal, and any changes in blood vessel shape caused by your heartbeat can affect the volume and pressure in your ear. So, it’s like a little health hotspot right there in your ear.
But here’s where things get really interesting. See, most hearables that claim to have health sensors, like photoplethysmograms (PPG) and electrocardiograms (ECG), end up being bulky and expensive. They add extra weight, drain your battery, and make the whole design more complicated. It’s a whole big headache. But with APG, we’re able to bypass all of that. We use the existing hardware of your ANC headphones, no extra sensors needed. It’s simple, elegant, and efficient.
Now, APG isn’t perfect. We ran into some issues with noise and body motion during our experiments. But we didn’t let that stop us. We came up with a solution using multiple audio tones and channel diversity. Basically, we transmit different frequencies simultaneously, and that allows us to gather more precise information. It’s like having a whole symphony of health data right there in your ear.
We even conducted some user experience studies, and the results were mind-blowing. APG was able to accurately measure heart rate and heart rate variability with minimal errors across participants. And the best part? It works across different skin tones and even with sub-optimal earbud seals. Talk about inclusive!
So, there you have it, folks. APG is revolutionizing the way we monitor our health with hearables. It’s simple, it’s efficient, and it’s accurate. Who needs a bulky chest strap or complicated sensors when you’ve got APG? It’s the future, my friends, and it’s right there in your ear.