At this year’s CES (all the way back in January) chip-maker Intel showed a pair of earphones that could measure your heart rate, but didn’t require any sort of battery or special charging port to function – all it needed was the power from a regular 3.5mm headphone jack.
It’s been a shade over seven months since then and Intel, along with SMS Audio, have turned that reference design into a real product creatively called the SMS Audio BioSport In-Ear headphones.
SMS Audio was founded in 2011 by Curtis Jackson – who will be better known to most as rapper 50 Cent – and makes premium-priced audio products that compete directly with those made by Apple’s high profile acquisition, Beats Audio.
The BioSport headphones use a combination of an infrared sensor and a set of accelerometers to be able to calculate the estimated heart rate of the wearer, even while they’re busy running. That data is then transmitted through the 3.5mm jack and can be used by a variety of apps for different purposes.
The first of the apps to be compatible with the BioSport headphones is the popular RunKeeper app, but Intel has been quick to point out that “additional application (is) support planned in the future.”
As part of the development process that created the reference design for the headphones, Intel engineer Indira Negi designed the headphones to be able to switch between different tracks on a music playlist in order to change the tempo of the music to encourage a runner to speed up or slow down to stay in their target workout heart rate zone.
Pricing for the headphones is not currently available, but they will be available some time before the end of the year.
SMS Audio products are available in South Africa, so expect the BioSport headphones to be available here some time in early 2015.Intel, Via – re/code]