Google’s new APG technology could bring heart rate sensing capabilities to ANC headphones

Most of us use smartwatches or dedicated heart monitors that come with advanced sensors to measure our heart rate. But what if the same capabilities could be added to a pair of wireless earphones? Google scientists have published their research paper on Audioplethysmography (APG), a new cardiac monitoring function for Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) headphones. The APG records heart rate data through feedback from low-intensity ultrasound signals, using the headphones’ speaker and microphone to send and receive signals, respectively.

new study was published On the Google Research portal, the APG technology and research process are described. “APG ANC sends a low-intensity ultrasound detection signal using the headphone’s speaker and receives the echo through an on-board feedback microphone,” the research paper explains.

The Google researchers observed that the heartbeat modulates ultrasound echoes because the volume of the ear canals changes slightly with blood vessel distension. According to them, APG provides accurate records of cardiovascular activities using mass-market ANC headphones while the wearer is playing music and engaged in physical activities like running.

The scientists also conducted an eight-month field study with 153 participants to test the APG under different conditions, the paper said. The experimental design and results of the technology have also been reviewed by Google’s internal health team, product team, user experience (UX) team, and legal team, with feedback taken from all to drive improvements.

“Our results demonstrate that APG consistently achieves high HR (3.21 percent average error in 153 participants across all scenarios) and HRV (2.70 percent average error in interbeat interval, IBI) measurement accuracy,” the study said. It added, “Our UX study shows that APG is resilient to variations in skin tone, sub-optimal seal conditions, and ear canal size.”

According to the research paper, APG could add the heart rate monitoring feature to all ANC headphones through a software upgrade, which would have a negligible impact on battery life. The feature will also work while playing music through headphones, engaging in physical activity, and across different skin tones and eartips sizes.

While there’s no word on when the APG technology might become available for widespread use, the paper states that future research on this topic could be used in rigorous mobile scenarios such as hiking, weightlifting, boxing, high-intensity interval training, and more. The focus will be on ensuring high performance of the APG. More.

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(TagstoTranslate) Google Research APG Technology Heart Rate Monitoring ANC Headphones Google(T) ANC Headphones(T) Heart Rate Monitoring(T) Google APG

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