New research suggests AirPods could be used to monitor respiratory rate

Apple Watch and AirPods
Apple Watch and AirPods (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple and Cornell University's have conducted new research around respiratory rate.
  • The research found that wearables and hearables could be used to detect it.

New research has found that devices like AirPods or Apple Watch could be potentially be used to monitor health measures like respiratory rate.

As reported by MyHealthyApple, Apple and Cornell University's have published new reseatch that has indicated AirPods or the Apple Watch could be used in the future to detect your respiratory rate using their on-board microphones.

Data was collected from 21 individuals using microphone-enabled, near-field headphones before, during, and after strenuous exercise.RR was manually annotated by counting audibly perceived inhalations and exhalations.A multi-level convolutional neural network was used to achieve signal clarity among other things and the results observed show that RR can be estimated with a concordance correlation coefficient (CCC) of 0.76 and a mean squared error (MSE) of 0.2, demonstrating that audio can be a viable signal for passively estimating RR.The work is unique in three main ways, in that it estimates respiratory rate from a wearable microphone under natural ambient conditions both indoors and outdoors, uses a model-driven approach to estimate respiratory rate directly from filterbank energies, and introduces situational aware- ness through multi-task learning so that the model could discern high SNR conditions from low ones.

Apple is already launching support for respiratory rate tracking in watchOS 8, but the feature is limited to tracking the health measure when you are sleeping. If this new study is able to work into the company's devices, the Apple Watch or AirPods could potentially be used to monitor your respiratory rate at all times during the day.

Apple is expected to launch watchOS 8 alongside the Apple Watch Series 7 this fall. The new watch is rumored to feature a new design and potentially the blood glucose monitoring feature that people have been wishing for years on. The company is also expected to debut its 3rd generation AirPods.

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.