订阅

多平台阅读

微信订阅

杂志

申请纸刊赠阅

订阅每日电邮

移动应用

商业 - 科技

iWatch算什么,智能耳机才是正宗的“可穿戴设备”

David Z. Morris 2014年06月26日

专家表示,与腕带相比,耳机更适合收集血压、心率、心电和核心体温等生物测量信息。而且,人们早就习惯了戴着耳机走来走去。

    随着苹果公司(Apple)斥巨资收购Beats公司,耳机一夜之间成了消费电子科技行业的焦点。其实如果你了解得更深入一些,你会发现耳机从来没有走远。

    我们一直把耳机的存在当成天经地义的事情,甚至忘了我们正把它塞在耳朵里或挂在脖子上。早在“可穿戴”这个词指的是晾衣杆上挂着的衬衣的时候,耳机就已经是真真正正的“可穿戴”之物。自从智能手机发明以来,它就忠实地把智能手机里的信息传递给我们。尽管如此,耳机一直处于可穿戴科技浪潮的边缘地带,直到苹果公司以30亿美元的高价收购了Beats,这种现象才得以改观。

    苹果对于这笔交易依然保持着平日的低调,很少提起这次次收购究竟是看中了Beats的人才(如创始人杰米•艾欧文和Dr. Dre)、技术,还是别的什么东西。苹果CEO蒂姆•库克只是说他有多么爱音乐。不过在接受《财富》(Fortune)采访时,一些耳机设计和生物计量研究领域的顶尖专家表示,耳机的能力远远不止是作为听音乐的工具而已。

    过去几年来,科技爱好者们无不对可穿戴技术感到痴迷,健身腕带、智能手机和模样古里古怪的智能眼镜等可穿戴设备也层出不穷,为的都是让用户能更轻易地获得关于人们自身和周边世界的信息。至于耳机,由于消费者本就对它十分依赖,这也就成了耳机在可穿戴市场上竞争的一张王牌。

    耳机厂商Monster公司创始人兼CEO、Beats公司首席音响师李美圣称:“耳机是第一款大范围被人们接受的可穿戴设备。”Beats公司更是把高端耳机变成了连说唱歌手、摇滚巨星也趋之若鹜的时尚配饰。

    人的耳朵恰好也是获取生物计量信息的好地方。从很多方面来看,要想测量人体的健康信息或是实现可穿戴设备的健身功能,从耳机着手应该是比时下流行的智能腕带更合理的选择。传感器设计公司Valencell的耳部生物测量专家史蒂芬•勒伯夫指出:“我们能从耳部测量出的信息要比身体其它部位多得多。”比如血压、心率、心电数据和身体核心温度等,尤其最后一项,很难通过腕带测定。耳机更适合监测人体健康的另一个原因,则是现在很多人早已习惯每天戴着耳机了。

    通过把人体的生物体征数据与其它传感器相结合(比如GPS、加速计或者一个先进的声音处理单元),耳机还能够提供更多的妙用。比如音响设备制造商哈曼公司(Harman)的技术总监I.P.帕克说:“大家的耳机能分辨出我们到底是在骑自行车、打猎还是打高尔夫。根据现实情况,耳机或许还能为我们提供一些特殊的功能和服务。”

    With Apple’s acquisition of Beats this year, headphones have suddenly become a focal point for the consumer technology industry. If you look closely, though, you’ll realize that they’ve always been there.

    We take headphones for granted. We forget they’re jammed in our ears or hanging around our neck. They were “wearable” back when the term meant the shirt at the top of the laundry pile. They have been feeding us data from our smartphones since smartphones existed. Yet they have remained at the margins of the wearable tech rush. Until Apple’s $3 billion buy, that is.

    Apple AAPL -0.61% , as the company is wont to do, has said little about whether its acquisition was driven by talent (namely co-founders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre), technology, or something else entirely. All CEO Tim Cook seems to talk about is how much he loves music. Yet in interviews with Fortune, leaders in headphone design and biometric research say that headphones have the ability to be much more than mere private audio listening devices.

    Technophiles have spent the last couple of years obsessing about wearable technology—things like fitness bands, smart watches, and funny-looking glasses intended to give the wearer easier access to information about themselves and the world around them. For headphones, their pre-existing normality may be smart headphones’ ace in the competitive hole.

    “Headphones were the first mass-accepted wearables,” says Noel Lee, founder and CEO of headphone maker Monster and the lead sound engineer for the original Beats headphones. Beats took that normality a step further by turning high-end headphones into fashion accessories fit for a rock or rap star.

    But ears also happen to be great sources of biometric information. In many ways, headphones are a more logical place for digital health and sports functions than the electronic wristbands currently in vogue. “You can measure a lot more at the ear than at other parts of the body,” says Steven LeBoeuf, a specialist in ear biometrics at the sensor-design firm Valencell. That includes blood pressure, heart rate, ECG, and core body temperature, which is particularly tough to get from a wristband. Headphones may also be better at health monitoring than wristbands because putting them on is already a part of many people’s daily routines.

    By combining biometric data with other sensors—GPS, an accelerometer, or an advanced sound processing unit—headphones could become a new kind of performance enhancer. “[Your headphones] could figure out if you’re cycling, or hunting, or golfing,” says I.P. Park, CTO of the audio device manufacturer Harman HAR 0.80% . “Based on the situation, maybe there are features and services these headphones could provide you.”

1 2 下一页

我来点评

最新文章:

500强情报中心

财富专栏