New signal processing tech turns any earphones into pulse monitors

first_imgMonitoring your pulse while doing a workout can produce some interesting data about your overall fitness and how to go about improving it. That’s why products like the Nike+ FuelBand have appeared and become popular. But wearing an extra device just to monitor your health may seem like overkill to a lot of people, but soon there could be an attractive alternative.Japanese global research institute The Kaiteki Institute and venture capital company Bifrostec Inc. have managed to integrate pulse monitoring functionality directly into earphones. So if you exercise while listening to music, you get the added bonus of pulse monitoring for free. The news gets better, though, as you don’t need to buy an expensive pair of new earphones to take advantage of this feature–it works with any and all earphones apparently.In order to record pulse waves, pressure changes within a person’s ear are monitored through the earphones by using them like microphones. The problem is, previously you would have needed a completely enclosed space in order to detect the changes. You can’t guarantee that when wearing earphones as their design and placement vary so much, so the development team worked around the problem and in the process developed new signal processing tech.The Kaiteki Institute’s solution takes into account there may be ambient noise present and filters it out. All that is required is whatever device your earphones are connected to having the signal processing software installed, and therefore any earphones can be used. The same tech has also been implemented in a ring-like device you can wear on your finger and that uses a MEMS microphone.As many people listen to music while they exercise or travel around on bike or foot, a pulse monitoring app for smartphones using this tech is sure to be popular. If you sit at a desk all day listening to music, this system should also work on your PC.There’s no mention of commercializing the tech just yet, but Kaiteki is a subsidiary of Mitsubishi, so there’s every chance it will be pretty swiftly.last_img

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