MIT researcher and wearables expert, Eric Winokur, is reportedly set to join Apple, according to sources speaking with MacRumors. With terms already set, Winokur is expected to bring his expertise in ear-worn technology, including wearables capable of monitoring vital signs. Much of his knowledge pertains to health, which would lend more credence to Apple's alleged Healthbook initiative in iOS 8. Winokur currently does research at MIT's Medical Electronic Devices Realization Center.
Winokur has provided his talents to multiple academic papers focusing primarily on cardiovascular ear-worn devices. This could match up with a Secret post claiming new Apple EarPods would be capable of monitoring a user's heart rate. Two papers published in 2012 included, "An ear-worn continuous ballistocardiogram (BSG) sensor cardiovascular monitoring," and "A wearable vital signs monitor at the ear for continuous heart rate and pulse transit time measurements."
It isn't clear what Winokur's position will be at Apple, but he certainly has a pedigree that suggests it'll be for some sort of health devices. While an ear-worn monitor sounds like an unlikely entrant for consumers, Winokur's experience might help Apple bring a device from patent to reality. As noted by MacRumors, in a 2011 interview, Winokur championed the ear-worn monitoring method, and said it would provide users with continuous monitoring of blood pressure and heart rate.
Talking about a device Winokur himself was developing, he said ear-worn monitoring would be useful to doctors when tracking high blood pressure for better treatment; it would also help doctors track other conditions as well. If Apple is indeed taking an intense look at health, Winokur is a big addition to the Cupertino company's team.
If we're to believe previous rumors, Apple could be developing a health-monitoring app capable of tracking heart rate, oxygen saturation, glucose and more. We've heard many rumors already claiming health experts were joining up with Apple's iWatch team, which is still a device we don't know exists. Apple is expected to unveil iOS 8 at its WWDC in June, though the latest reports claim some features may get pushed back in favor of development on the next version of OS X.