A PC Magazine article posted last February 18, 2014 reports that Apple was granted a patent for a health monitoring system that is integrated into earphones. Most consumer-oriented health monitoring systems that have come before were external devices meant to be worn while the user engaged in various fitness activities. The article highlights key features of the invention that set it apart from its predecessors:

Health Monitoring Earbuds

“Advantageously, the invention can provide monitoring capabilities within a hearing device,” the patent filing said. “Assuming the user is otherwise using the hearing device, such as to provide audio output by a portable media player, the user gains monitoring capabilities without requiring the user to wear or carry any additional article.”

Placing the “hearing device” in or near the ear—either as part of the earbud frame or the adjoining cord—would eliminate the need for a separate electronic device, like a wristband. According to Apple, the headphones could be wired or wireless; in the case of the latter, captured data would be transmitted wirelessly, as well.

While similar gadgets allow people to monitor their health, these instruments provide only limited information. Even individuals who appear to be in good health might unknowingly suffer from certain conditions not easy to detect. As such, fitness buffs as well as those who lead less active lives can benefit from quality urgent care in Cupertino that deals with non-life-threatening medical emergencies as well as thorough physical examinations.

Physical examinations allow individuals to get a better picture of their personal health, so it pays to undergo such tests at least once a year. A thorough exam alerts patients about possible medical conditions before they spiral out of control. Additionally, those who engage in sports will definitely need regular check-ups to determine whether or not they are fit enough to play.

Hospitals and similar other medical offices usually offer to conduct physical examinations for patients. However, such services often require patients to have medical insurance, which can bar the uninsured from receiving the examinations they badly need. Fortunately, a Cupertino urgent care center such as U.S. HealthWorks Medical Group can attend to patients whether they’re insured or otherwise.

(Source: Apple Awarded Patent for Health-Monitoring Earbuds, pcmag.com, February 18, 2014)