Health and fitness wearables may seem like a new trend, but Apple has been interested in the niche for years. The company was just awarded a patent, filed in 2007, by the United States Patent and Trademark Office for a “Sports monitoring system for headphones, earbuds and/or headsets.”

According to the patent, by positioning the fitness monitoring system in or around the ear, the system is able to track user activities and also biometric data such as perspiration, temperature and heart rate, according to the patent. A user would also be able to control an electronic device with the monitoring system by using head gestures. For example, if the system is being used with a mobile device and an incoming call comes in and the user doesn’t want to answer, it they can turn their head back and forth in a horizontal head movement for a “no” response.

Apple earbud patent
A diagram of an earbud according to one embodiment of the invention

The patent also described the system as being able to monitor user activities and make appropriate decisions based on a user’s conditions. For example, if a user is using the device to track physical activity and the user gets tired, the device can motivate him or her to continue through a motivating song, encouraging words or fast tempo.

For more details on Apple’s Patent No. 8,655,004, the full description of the patent can be found here.