AirPods 3 would be able to recognize human skin

This feature would reduce detection errors when the headphones are placed elsewhere than in the ears.

Officially confirmed since October 18, the AirPods 3 have some improvements compared to the previous model. Among these, more advanced management of in-ear recognition.

AirPods use infrared sensors to detect whether the headphones are inserted or removed from the ears. This function allows you to pause or resume playing content automatically.

However, this detection can sometimes be deceived, for example when you place the AirPods on a desk, on your knees or in a pocket. Apple said these new models should be smarter and avoid false detections. This would be made possible by a new skin-detecting sensor that would more accurately discern if the AirPods are in the ear or if they are on another surface.

PPG, the future of biodetection

A new report from TrendForce provides some details on how this technology works. Thanks to the integration of PPG (photoplethysmography) technology, AirPods 3 can more accurately detect the surface they are on. This is made possible by skin detection sensors equipped with four SWIR (shortwave infrared) LED chips as well as two InGaAs photodiodes, an alloy of gallium arsenide and indium arsenide.

The report states that these sensors can potentially detect the water content of the wearer’s skin, which would give the AirPods 3 the ability to differentiate between human skin and other surfaces. Trendforce believes other brands of in-ear headphones will likely use the same technology once it gets cheaper.

Finally, Trendfoce indicates that these detection functionalities based on PPG technology will allow, with the appropriate algorithms, to measure not only heart rate and oxygen levels in the blood, but also other variables such as body hydration. , as well as blood sugar or alcohol.