Washington: Monitoring your heartbeat might soon be as easy as listening to music on your iPhone.
Swiss technology-transfer company CSEM created the final prototype for their Pulsear device - a tiny unit embedded in a regular earphone uses infrared signals to see how fast your heart is beating.
"A lot of people listen to music while they exercise and a lot of people find the belts uncomfortable, so we thought it made sense to try to measure heart rate through the ear," said CSEM's Dr Andrea Ridolfi.
With a grant from the ESA Technology Transfer Programme's 'Transfer Demonstrator' initiative, CSEM created the prototype.
An iPhone application lets you see your heart rate over time onscreen and compare, say, today's jog with last week's. Subjects who tested the app for use during daily activities and fitness training rated the device highly.
The next step would be to measure additional vital signs such as blood oxygen levels. The current model is ideal for sports applications or monitoring people hiking at high altitudes.
Weekend warriors can hike, bike or jog knowing that their earphones will warn them if their heart is in trouble.