Will consumers go for smart headphones?

The iriver ON earbuds, powered by Valencell's sensor technology, can monitor and transmit biometric data. Courtesy of IRiver

It seems that just about every athlete, rapper, celebrity has their own headphone line -- even Snooki. As my inbox floods with emails about new headphone models, it's clear that the Consumer Electronics Show has become headphone season.

Just this week, America’s favorite backup quarterback, Tim Tebow, announced a partnership for a new Tebow SOUL headphone (rumor has it the headphones won’t play on Sundays). And while we can all appreciate a new pair of buds or noise cancelers, let's face it: Headphones have become the new celebrity perfume.

There is, however, one new headphone you should be genuinely excited about, especially for those who use them while working out. The iriver ON is the first Bluetooth audio headset powered by Valencell’s PerformTek Precision Biometrics, which is a licensable sensor technology.

Sensor technology can measure a range of metrics on your body, including heart rate, distance traveled, steps taken, respiration rate, speed, metabolic rate, energy expenditure, calories burned, recovery time and more.

All of this information is picked up by the PerformTek sensor technology, which leverages the natural physiology of the ear to track real-time biometric data that can be streamed to virtually any device. It's a combination of wearable tech and fitness -- two categories that are very popular.

The South Korea-based iriver will launch an accompanying app, but the technology will also work with many devices people already use while working out.

Could smart headphones catch on with the workout-loving crowd? Since the technology Valencell creates is licensable, I wonder if the likes of Nike, adidas, Skullcandy and other headphone manufacturers will throw similar features in future models.

Valencell CEO and co-founder Steven LeBoeuf, PhD, certainly thinks so. “The mobile apps and product offerings that PerformTek Biometrics enables are virtually endless, and we are looking forward to seeing several PerformTek-powered fitness monitoring products and applications in the marketplace in 2013,” said LeBoeuf.

Of course, this will all depend on accuracy (how many times have the sensors on the elliptical been inaccurate?). Still, I'm looking forward to giving smart headphones a test run.

The iriver ON earbuds will be available at retail in March 2013 at a price of $199.