Wearable designs from Intel; energy harvesting earphone reference designs

January 08, 2014 // By Nick Flaherty
Intel has developed a reference design for smart earbuds that provide biometric and fitness information, harvesting energy from the audio stream, as well as a Bluetooth speech recognition headset.

The smart earbud design is aimed at fitness enthusiasts and is unique for being built into an accessory that many people already wear when they exercise. The earbuds provide full stereo audio and monitor heart rate and pulse, while the applications on the user’s phone keep track of run distance and calories burned. The product also includes Intel-developed software that enables users to precision-tune workouts and acts as a coach, automatically selecting music that matches the target heart rate profile.
In addition to the convenience of having biometric and fitness tracking built into the earbuds, Intel designed the product in such a way that eliminates the need for a battery or additional power source to charge the product, as it harvests energy directly from the audio microphone jack.
The smart earbuds use sensor technology developed in collaboration with Valencell and its PerformTek Precision Biometrics that continuously measure real-time biometric data with a high degree of accuracy and consistency and uses this data to give people meaningful fitness assessments.
Intel has also developed a reference design for a hands-free, smart headset that is always ready to engage and can integrate with existing digital personal assistant technologies to make the consumer experience more convenient, natural and intuitive.
The fully integrated compute system is housed in a Bluetooth earpiece with a battery, speaker and microphones featuring Intel-developed firmware and software. It provides all-day battery life and is designed to be comfortable enough to be worn all day.
The Intel smart headset reference design uses low power, always-listening voice recognition technology from Sensory in the US which competes with listening technology from Wolfson Microelectronics in the UK.
The CES technology demonstration allows the user to speak without pausing after being prompted. For example, the user can ask a question and get a response in one shot instead of waiting for the personal assistant to respond to the initial inquiry. The ‘barge in’ feature allows