Starkeys exploring golf advice service via its hearables

Starkey Golf hearable

The two most popular form factors for wearables so far have proven to be on-wrist smartwatches or fitness trackers and earbuds. The hearables segment has become popular due to Apple AirPods and after US Congress passed a law for over the counter (OTC) hearing aid act.

Many companies have ventured into the world of hearables and are providing innovative solutions targeted at hearing-loss, tinnitus, and more.

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Established players such as Starkey Laboratories are looking for new market adjacencies.

The company is known for its top of the line LivioEdge AI hearing aids recently won a patent about a hearable device that can help provide golf advice.

Starkey’s research highlights a computing system that can wirelessly receive data from an ear-wearable device and determine, based on the data received from the ear-wearable device, the ear-wearable device’s current position. Additionally, the computing system determines, based on the current position of the ear-wearable device and data regarding a golf course, golf advice data that provides a recommendation regarding the golf course’s play.

Golf is a game enjoyed by millions of people around the world. Each shot in the game of golf requires the golfer to make numerous decisions. 

For instance, the golfer must choose which club to use, how hard to hit the ball, what angles to use to avoid hazards, and so on. 

A golfer may want to know how far it is from the golfer’s current location to the pin on a hole of a given golf course. 

Other types of information that a golfer may want to know may include a speed of a green, the existence of hazards in the golf course, the wind speed, a target position at which to aim the next shot (e.g., preferred landing zones), and more.

To make these decisions effectively, golfers want accurate information and advice.

Current smartphone-based golf apps have several shortcomings, and Starkeys wants to explore the opportunity.biometric sensors on hearing aids

The company is also researching techniques to incorporate biometric sensors into the hearable to detect heart rate, skin temperature, galvanic skin response information and provide activity monitoring.

Companies such as Whoop that have established partnerships with several Golf athletes and golf player associations may soon might a new contender.

Bottom line, the dividing line between medical hearable devices and general consumer interest hearables such as AirPods has a good chance of becoming blurry as players in the hearables space look for new markets and established players such as Apple and Samsung look forward to incorporating biometric sensors into their existing line of hearables.

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I am a technologist with years of experience with Apple and wearOS products, have a BS in Computer Science and an MBA specializing in emerging tech, and owned the popular site AppleToolBox. In my day job, I advise Fortune 500 companies with their digital transformation strategies and also consult with numerous digital health startups in an advisory capacity. I'm VERY interested in exploring the digital health and fitness-tech evolution and keeping a close eye on patents, FDA approvals, strategic partnerships, and developments happening in the wearables and digital health sector. When I'm not writing or presenting, I run with my Apple Watch Ultra or Samsung Galaxy Watch and closely monitor my HRV and other recovery metrics.

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