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The recent advancements in remote healthcare monitoring have revolutionized clinical practices. They provide reliable and affordable solutions to monitor physiological and neural signals in various environments instead of having to rely solely on on-site clinical monitoring in hospitals and medical centers. Wearable devices,particularly earables, computers placed in or around the ear, have gained considerable attention for their convenience, social acceptability, comfort, and minimal disruption to daily activities. The development of earable devices has been propelled through the recent technological advancements in edge and fog computing, battery technology, and energy harvesting methods [11]. Earables allow us to capture important signals from the upper part of the human body, especially the human head. Equipped with the right sensors (e.g., accelerometers, IMU, PPG), these devices have the potential to monitor various biometrics such as heart and respiratory rate [12], blood pressure [2] and muscle movements [8]. Electrochemical sensors in earables can even open up novel possibilities to investigate alternative body fluids such as sweat [13]. Moreover, their proximity to the brain and eyes enables the detection of complex modalities like EEG [6], and EOG [9] making earables promising for health monitoring [7, 10]. They are also less affected by motion noise compared to smartwatches, which are prone to disruptions from wrist movements [4]. The portable, discreet, and unobtrusive nature of these devices allows them to monitor patient vitals for extended periods in any setting and environment [1]. However, there are inherent challenges associated with earable technologies and the use of the ear as a sensor location. Interference from motion and physiological artifacts, limitations in electrode placement area, and the trade-off between signal resolution and wearability pose obstacles to reliable and accurate monitoring [5]. Factors such as battery failures, computation latency, and RF interference can introduce errors in measurements leading to wrong treatment. Additionally, as wearable medical technology becomes 339 UbiComp/ISWC ’23 Adjunct, October 08–12, 2023, Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico Abdul Aziz, Ravi Karkar, Kan Ding, Jay Harvey, and Phuc Nguyen more interconnected, security and data privacy mechanisms to protect patients from theft or malicious actions must be considered [3]. In addition to addressing technical complexities, sustainability considerations play a vital role in the development of earable computers as a growing field. This involves reducing waste throughout the entire value chain and contributing towards designing a more circular device lifecycle. Overcoming these challenges is crucial to fully leverage the potential of earables in medical applications. Our Position: In this vision paper, we reflect on the growth of earable computing and make an attempt to chart its near and longterm challenges and opportunities, particularly in a medical context. Our vision covers three broad areas – technological capabilities, user experience, and clinical implementation. Each of the three areas is critical if we expect earables to move from an invention in the lab to a medical device in the clinic to a tracker in the home. Given the broad range of expertise in earables in the workshop, we aim to present our vision and build on it as a community. We welcome input from other earable researchers on the challenges, opportunities, and the path to translation we imagine.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.