New jewel in wearable tech: UW researchers create smart earring to monitor body temperature

A prototype for a temperature-sensitive earring has been created by researchers at University of Washington.

Coined the “Thermal Earring,” the wireless jewelry includes a sensor that is magnetically clipped to the earlobe to monitor the wearer’s internal temperature. A second sensor lies below the ear to gauge the surrounding area’s temperature.

Comparable to a paperclip in size and weight, the earring holds battery for 28 days and includes an antenna and Bluetooth chip. A recent six-person study found that the earring performed better than smartwatches in some areas. It also discovered potential for the earring to monitor stress indicators and habits around eating, exercise and ovulation.

“Eventually, I want to develop a jewelry set for health monitoring,” said Qiuyue (Shirley) Xue, co-lead author and doctoral student at UW’s Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering. “The earrings would sense activity and health metrics such as temperature and heart rate, while a necklace might serve as an electrocardiogram monitor for more effective heart health data.”

Photo credit: University of Washington Photo / Raymond Smith

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