AirPods and beyond: Wearable tech can push us toward new innovation

Wearable technology was once looked at with ridicule, to the extent that a slew of memes started flooding social media regarding Apple’s AirPods when they first came out in 2016. However, the public eye has shifted its view on AirPods significantly since their first release. What was once considered overly pretentious and unnecessary is now seen resting in the ears of many commuters on their way to school or work.

There is a measure of convenience regarding wearable technology that is undoubtedly alluring to the upper echelons of fast-paced city life. The phenomenon trickles down to those who may not have as many responsibilities that they must handle as quickly as possible but still seek the same streamlined way of living.

AirPods and other articles of wearable technology, though at first merely copies of their non-wearable counterparts, have come to hold benefits that are uniquely their own. In the case of the Apple Watch, the built-in heart rate detecting feature not only works with its intended purpose of simply detecting beats per minute, but has also been used to better the quality of life for many wearers of the watch.

The heart rate detector can pretty accurately gain an idea of whether someone is going through heart irregularities, as recorded in the Apple Heart Study by Stanford University School of Medicine.

These heart irregularities, atrial fibrillation being the main culprit, are often ignored by some people due to their intermittent nature. However, the note that the Apple Watch gives its user of their heart irregularities can incentivize people to see a doctor and deal with a potentially dangerous situation.

This feature is quite unique to the Apple Watch as of right now, but NBC News reported that Apple is developing a patent for AirPods with built-in biometrics, which would also be a giant leap in the culture surrounding AirPods. Biometrics are a series of data that measure and analyze unique physical or behavioral characteristics, especially for use in verifying personal identity, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

The two biometrics that come to mind easily when thinking of the matter are fingerprints and voice patterns, both of which are already used in nonwearable pieces of technology and, in certain instances, some pieces of wearable technology.

Heart rate and sleeping patterns are also considered within this category and are important biometrics that will likely be measured in the rumored upcoming series of AirPods.

This speculative series of AirPods would undoubtedly cause a number of changes in the culture of wearable technology. While already a cultural phenomenon that has woven itself into the fabric of American reality, AirPods will become even more prevalent given this change.

Doctors may even formally state that if patients come in with data derived from pieces of wearable technology, the doctor can use it as a quick first glance at the health status of the individual.

As of right now, however, the AirPods with biometrics are all up to the imagination of individuals, since they have not yet been released. A new series of AirPods was released but with minimal changes. Now, there will probably come a wave of memes that ridicule AirPods 1.0 users as being broke in comparison to AirPods 2.0 users.

Wearable technology opens up the door to many possibilities, including obtaining biometrics, but this is just the beginning.

If people were to not only wear technology but also allow built-in technology to record them, they may be able to fix problems that they never knew they had, just as those people who had never known they suffered from heart irregularities were able to improve their quality of life with the help of their Apple Watch. Sleep is too often a problem for many people, and it is difficult to get an accurate measure of brain and muscle activity during sleep without the use of clunky pieces of technology that are evidently unavailable to the common person.

Imagine if there were a chip that people could insert into their bodies in order to accurately measure their sleep patterns and give them recommendations about the manner in which their bodies react most positively to the manner in which they sleep.

Imagine if another chip were responsible for measuring all the food someone consumes throughout the day, making diets that much more effective and easier to stick to. People only stand to gain when they encourage the development of wearable technology and — when the world is ready for it — built-in technology.