As first reported by, Apple and Cornell University researchers have discovered that Respiratory Rate can be determined from the audio captured by your AirPods built-in microphones. The official term for this health metric is referred to as ‘RR’. ‘RR’ is a measure of breathlessness.

The paper goes on to describe various use cases for the health metric such as a cheap and easy way to track the symptoms and progression of certain types of illness. One such example given by the paper is Peripheral Artery Disease.

To accurately capture and put the data to use, a special neural network was created. This highly specialised machine learning algorithm was able to achieve excellent signal clarity and enabled data to be captured within an acceptable margin of error for estimating ‘RR’.

For some time now Apple has said to be considering was that AirPods might be able to capture biometric data. And it seems this research is just part of a plethora of potential use cases for the wearable buds. It’ll be interesting to see if this ever materialises in a future product or perhaps even a software update for existing AirPods.


Featured Image: Malte Helmhold via Unsplash

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