A new signal processing algorithm that enables any pair of earphones to detect your pulse was demonstrated recently at the Healthcare Device Exhibition 2013 in Yokohama, Japan. The technology comes from a joint effort of Bifrostec (Tokyo, Japan) and the Kaiteki Institute. It is built on the premise that the eardrum creates pressure waves with each heartbeat, which can be detected in a perfectly enclosed space. However, typically, earphones do not create a perfect seal, which is what gives everyone in a packed elevator the privilege to listen to that guy’s tunes. The new algorithm allows the software to process the pressure signal despite the lack of a perfect seal to determine a user’s pulse.
We have reported on earphones that can play/detect beats in the past, but they require specific (and presumably more expensive) hardware. Hopefully, we’ll soon be seeing integration of this technology in addition to more ways to turn our meager accessories into powerful biometric tools.