Hearables: From general wellbeing to doctorless hospitals
Both commercial wellbeing and gaming applications and future health systems require the means to assess the neural and physiological function of a user. Ideally, this should be achieved in a 24/7 fashion, in the community, and in a self-adminstred and unobtrusive fashion. Hearables, that is, in-ear sensing of neural function and vital signs are such emerging solution. Our current Hearables system is based on an earplug with embedded electrodes, optical, mechanical and temparature sensors. I will show how this can be can reliably used to measure the Electroencephalogram (EEG), Electrocardiogram (ECG), pulse, respiration, temperature, and behavioural cues. We also show that unlike standard wearables, such an inconspicuous Hearables earpiece benefits from the relatively stable position of the ear canal with respect to vital organs. We further demonstrate how combining data from multiple sensors within such an integrated wearable device improves both the accuracy of measurements and the ability to deal with artefacts in real-world scenarios. The ability to stream neural and physiological data in real time makes Hearables a viable solution for the integration with smart environments and in future eHealth.
Danilo P. Mandic is a Professor in signal processing with Imperial College London, UK, and has been working in the areas of statistical signal processing, machine learning, and bioengineering. He is a Fellow of the IEEE and member of the Board of Governors of International Neural Networks Society (INNS). He has received five best paper awards in Brain Computer Interface, runs the Smart Environments Lab at Imperial, and has more than 500 publications in international journals and conferences. Prof Mandic has received the 2019 Dennis Gabor Award by the International Neural Networks Society (for outstanding achievements in neural engineering), and the President Award for Excellence in Postgraduate Supervision at Imperial. His work on Hearables appeared in IEEE Spectrum, MIT Technology Review and has led to several granted patents in this area.