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Optical sensors in the earphones send heart rate data to smartphone to track your activity level

Microprocessor manufacturer Intel and rapper 50 Cent’s headphone brand SMS Audio have collaborated to launch the SMS Audio BioSport In-Ear earphones that can monitor your heart rate and send the information to a compatible smartphone.

The earphones incorporate an optical sensor to monitor heart rate. They then send the data to an app like RunKeeper so you can make sure you’re training in the right zone. Intel and SMS Audio are developing their own app that will be able to change the playlist you’re listening to based on your heart rate. We imagine other apps like Strava will be adding compatibility at some stage.

The earphones use a 3.5mm jack and are powered by the phone, so they don’t need their own batteries. They are IPX4 certified so there's no problem if you get them covered in sweat when you’re training hard or cycling in the rain.

“With SMS Audio, we will bring smart headphones to market that eliminate the inconvenience of add-on devices with an integrated, one-device fitness accessory offering high-end style and premier sound quality for an exceptional fitness experience,” said Michael Bell, corporate vice president and general manager of the New Devices Group at Intel.

The earphones eliminate the need for an extra device like a heart rate monitor device, which can often be uncomfortable.The optical sensor in the earphones works by shooting a beam of light into the ear lobe, and measures blood flow through capillaries, which expand and contract in time with the heartbeat. This enables a pulse reading to be measured.

With many more people using smartphones to track and monitor their cycling, the earphones mean you don’t need a dedicated cycling computer or watch if you want to be able to monitor your heart rate. There’s a lot of buzz around wearable tech in the technology and gadget market, and there are exciting implications for cyclists. A GPS enabled watch or band that can monitor your heart rate with an optical sensor and relay that data directly to the smartphone in your jersey pocket could be appealing to many.

"The wearable technology collaboration between SMS Audio and Intel elevates our capability to bring smart exercise to consumers," said Brian M. Nohe, president of SMS Audio.

"With the introduction of the SMS Audio BioSport In-Ear Headphones powered by Intel, we're now the first to provide this level of integrated, seamless and helpful biometric information to inspire customers to advance their fitness experiences."

They’re expected to be available in autumn, and we’ve no word on UK pricing yet. There’s more info at http://newsroom.intel.com/community/intel_newsroom/blog/2014/08/14/intel...

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.