The big picture: According to Valencell President Steven LeBoeuf, the ear is one of the best places to measure blood pressure as it has ample blood flow and a rich heart rate reading. It also generally remains the same distance away from your heart.

Valencell believes the next big breakthrough in health monitoring wearables could come via in-ear buds.

The US-based biometric company is working to bring ear buds to market this year that are capable of monitoring a user’s blood pressure.

CNET’s Scott Stein tested out a prototype version of Valencell’s ear buds during CES. After gathering some basic information and submitting to a 30-second test, the results from the reading popped up on a smartphone app.

As you can see, the prototype looks more like a hearing aid than an audio accessory.

LeBoeuf said Valencell plans to present its findings to the American College of Cardiology this year. Initially, they’ll go the route of “general wellness” device which will allow them to skirt some of the more stringent FDA regulations out of the gate.

The first evaluation prototype kits for partners are scheduled to ship out on February 2. With any luck, consumer models with blood pressure monitoring capabilities could hit the market by the end of the year.

All images courtesy CNET