Scientists make health-tracking smart earrings

Scientists make health-tracking smart earrings

/ 01:14 PM March 04, 2024

Apple has smartwatches, Samsung will release its smart ring, and University of Washington researchers created smart earrings. The latter has health-tracking features like the previous two, and co-lead author Qiuyue (Shirley) Xue said designing it into a pair of ear accessories is an intentional choice.

According to her, earlobes enable smart accessories to track skin temperature more accurately than others. Consequently, Xue said the gadget has unique features such as tracking fevers and ovulation. Soon, she wants to develop a “jewelry set for health monitoring,” so the technology could make you healthier and more fashionable!

How do the smart earrings work?

Close-up image of smart earrings with focus on the embedded sensors and sleek design, illustrating their functionality and elegance.
Free stock photo from Pexels

Co-lead author Yujia (Nancy) Liu told The Debrief the gadget consists of a Bluetooth communication chip, a rechargeable battery, and two separate temperature sensors. 


It has a 28-day battery life despite being the size of a paperclip. A magnet holds the sensor against the ear to enable its smart features. 


The dangling part has another sensor that measures the surrounding ambient temperature. Together, these readings provide significant insights into a wearer’s health and well-being. 

The researchers published their findings in the journal “Proceedings of the ACM on Interactive Mobile Wearable and Ubiquitous Technologies.” 

They said the high-tech jewelry outperformed a smartwatch in measuring resting skin temperature. More importantly, it tracks eating and exercise and signs of stress, fever, and ovulation. 

Shirley Xue said attaching the smart accessory on the ears made it much more accurate. “It also gave us the option to have part of the sensor dangle to separate ambient room temperature from skin temperature.” 

They tested the device on 20 healthy patients and five with fevers. As a result, they discovered a huge difference between the daily temperatures of the healthy patients and the ill. 

The smart earrings can also track ovulation because of their unique placement on the body. 


READ: Your phone’s light sensor can spy on you

“Current wearables like Apple Watch and Fitbit have temperature sensors, but they provide only an average temperature for the day, and their temperature readings from wrists and hands are too noisy to track ovulation,” Xue said.

“So we wanted to explore unique applications for the earring, especially applications that might be attractive to women and anyone who cares about fashion.”

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Xue, Liu, and the team want future designs to run on solar or kinetic energy from one’s movement. Also, they will develop other jewelry options to offer more healthcare benefits. 

TOPICS: accessories, health app
TAGS: accessories, health app

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