Tracking Health With Headphones

By medGadget

Valencell's new sensor technology, V-LINC, uses the ear's unique physiology to gather vital health and fitness data while the user is listening to music with standard ear buds.

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We all know that the ear is a multifunctional, anatomical marvel. We often take for granted its ability to allow us to eavesdrop, to rock out to the latest beats, to hold up our spectacles, and to be pierced over and over again. Last week at CES 2012 in Las Vegas, Raleigh, North Carolina-based Valencell announced their sensor technology that uses the ear's unique physiology to gather vital health and fitness data.

The technology is called V-LINC, and it's being built into the ubiquitous set of earbuds that you probably use every day. According to Valencell, "V-LINC technology comprises the only earbud-based continuous heart rate monitoring technology proven accurate during virtually any exercise in virtually any physical environment or condition."

According to the V-LINC website, its earbud sensors are able to measure the following biometric data:

  • Heart rate
  • Respiration rate
  • Energy expenditure
  • Metabolic rate
  • Calories burned
  • Distance traveled
  • Steps taken
  • Speed
  • VO2max (cardiovascular fitness)
  • Ventilatory threshold
  • Recovery time

Valencell itself isn't actually manufacturing V-LINC earbuds. It's licensing the technology for other companies to integrate into and create a wide variety of fitness training and athletic performance coaching products and applications.


This post also appears on medGadget, an Atlantic partner site.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/01/tracking-health-with-headphones/251710/