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8th January 2015

Wristbands out, earrings in? Wearables for your ear

Last year was all about fitbits, wristbands, and smartwatches. Accessories you wear on your wrist that track your activity, log it, analyze it, and then give suggestions. But still in their infancy they may need to hand it over to the new buzz: hearables – smart wearables for the ear.

“The ear provides a great platform for doing this kind of measurement,” Mike Bell VP of Intel’s New Devices group told the WSJ. “It’s not moving around a lot.”

The first waves

The first time anyone talked about smart ear buds was during last year’s consumer electronic show (CES). Intel showed off a pair of smart ear buds in January 2014 that can monitor your heart rate while you’re listening to music. The genius part however is the way they provide power (one of the greatest challenges for wearable developers). They basically eliminated the battery by giving power to the ear buds through the phone you plug them into.

For those who didn’t think chunky wristbands are the way to go, there’s a much more discreet option on the horizon. Smart earrings by BioSensive Technologies that can track your heart rate, activity level and serve as a calorie counter as well. As the monitor is quite tiny, you can place it in a number of different earrings, making it customizable and… yeah even fashionable.

It’s definitely something different.

Bragi, a German firm came out with Dash , a device that serves as a headphone slash activity tracker slash personal trainer. The earphone tracks you body’s performance while you’re exercising such as your pulse, your blood pressure or your respiration, analyzes it and then gives feedback via voice.

The idea is still quite new and of course much more expensive than what an average person would want to pay for “only a pair of ear buds”. Wearables overall seem to be a bit in a brainstorming phase with ideas popping up left and right without really knowing which one will stick. But personally, I think ear buds have a pretty good shot at winning us over.

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