Fitness tracking coming to ear wear with Ear-o-Smart

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The wearable tracks heart rate by monitoring blood flow in the skin, using an LED and measuring changes in light absorption

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Though the majority of recent wearables take the form of watches or smart bands, Canadian company BioSensive Technologies is taking a different approach, creating the world’s first smart earring. The Ear-o-Smart may have the look of traditional earlobe jewelry, but is designed to function as a fitness tracker.

Up to this point, smartwatches and fitness trackers have been largely masculine-looking devices, but Ear-o-Smart is a rare wearable aimed at women. The earring is able to track heart rate, calories and activity level, and connects via Bluetooth 4.0 to iOS and Android smartphones to provide live data.

The wearable tracks heart rate by monitoring blood flow in the skin using an LED and measuring changes in light absorption. The team believes that the placement of the tracker on the earlobe provides better continuous contact with the skin, allowing for more accurate readings than provided by wrist-based trackers.

The rationale behind the product is a belief that wearable electronics should blend in with the user’s everyday life, being embedded into objects that we use every day. Fashion-first smartwatches like the Moto 360 follow a similar thinking, but are still more obviously tech products than the Ear-o-Smart. The earring will ship with a standard white design, but will also be available as a DIY kit, allowing users to create their own unique jewelry wearable.

The biggest challenge faced by the company is that of shrinking down the necessary hardware to fit inside such a small accessory. The team is still working on the battery tech for the device, and intends to offer both standard and rechargeable options to backers.

The project is currently the subject of a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign and, if the target is reached, the team aims to have the first batch of test hardware, along with the first version of the app, completed by February 2015. If all goes to plan, the first Ear-o-Smarts will ship to backers in June. The funding effort is scheduled to conclude on December 28, with early bird prices starting at US$110.

For more on the Ear-o-Smart, check out the company’s crowdfunding pitch below.

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