Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that relates to a next-generation of AirPods Sensor System wherein the housing and tips of AirPods could include a number of active and reference electrodes configured to measure biosignals and electrical activity of a user’s brain. The biosignals measured by AirPods could include, but are not limited to, an electroencephalography (EEG), electromyography (EMG), electrooculography (EOG) and more.
In Apple’s patent background they note that brain activity can be monitored using electrodes placed on the scalp of a user. The electrodes may in some cases be placed inside or around the outer ear of the user. Measuring of the brain activity using electrodes placed in or around the outer ear may be preferred due to benefits such as reduced device mobility and decreased visibility of the electrodes when compared to other devices that require electrodes to be placed on visible areas around the scalp of the user.
However, for accurate measurements of brain activity using an ear-electroencephalography (EEG) device, the ear-EEG device may need to be customized for a user’s ear (e.g., possibly customized for the user’s concha, ear canal, targus, etc.) … Because an ear’s size and shape vary from one user to another, and because a single user’s ear size and shape, and size and shape of structures such as a user’s ear canal, may change over time, even a customized ear-EEG device may fail to generate accurate measurements at times (or over time). In addition, a customized ear-EEG device may be expensive.
- Biosignal Sensing Device Using Dynamic Selection of Electrodes (Justia patents)
Publication number: 20230225659
- Abstract: A wearable electronic device includes a housing, and an electrode carrier attached to the housing and having a nonplanar surface. The wearable electronic device includes a set of electrodes, including electrodes positioned at different locations on the nonplanar surface. The wearable electronic device includes a sensor circuit and a switching circuit. The switching circuit is operable to electrically connect a number of different subsets of one or more electrodes in the set of electrodes to the sensor circuit.
- Filed: January 9, 2023
- Publication date: July 20, 2023
- Inventors: Erdrin Azemi, Ali Moin, Anuranjini Pragada, Jean Hsiang-Chun Lu, Victoria M. Powell, Juri Minxha, Steven P. Hotelling
The Patent in Context:
- UCLA launches mental health study collecting data from Apple wearables to better understand depression and anxiety
- The FDA creates new Digital Health unit
- Five reasons the future of brain enhancement is digital, pervasive and (hopefully) bright
- Wearable EEG monitoring start-up Epitel raises $12.5M to market seizure detection system