Google is bringing heart rate, respiration measurement to Pixel phones

by Jeremy


The modifications that allow camera sensors to detect users’ chest movements including breathing and the calculation of respiration rate, will be rolled out next month. Image: Google

Google has introduced an upgraded fitness app that will make use of smartphone camera capabilities and measure user’s respiration and heart rate. The application already counts on smartphone sensors to check the distance people walk and calories they burn. But the new upgrade is expected to also add pulse and breathing data to the complete health details in the app. It is to note that this unveiled upgraded version is for Pixel phone users, according to the company blog post.

“Heart rate and respiratory rate are two vital signs commonly used to assess your health and wellness. Starting next month, Google Fit will allow you to measure your heart rate and respiratory rate using just your phone’s camera,” Google said. While the upgrade is for Pixel users only, Shwetak Patel, Director of Health Technologies, Google Health said that the company is planning to expand to more Android devices.

The modifications that allow camera sensors to detect users’ chest movements including breathing and the calculation of respiration rate, will be rolled out next month.

How can it be used?

According to the company, users who want to measure their respiratory rate will have to place their head along with the upper torso in front of their phone’s front-facing camera and breathe normally. In order to measure the heart rate, users can place their finger on the  rear-facing camera lens. From this, Google Fit can determine heart beating rate depending on how skin color as the blood is pumped.

“While these measurements aren’t meant for medical diagnosis or to evaluate medical conditions, we hope they can be useful for people using the Google Fit app to track and improve day-to-day wellness. Once the measurements are made, you can choose to save them in the app to monitor trends over time, alongside other health and wellness information,” the company added.

The application already counts on smartphone sensors to check the distance people walk and calories they burn. But the new upgrade is expected to also add pulse and breathing data to the complete health details in the app. It is to note that this unveiled upgraded version is for Pixel phone users, according to the company blog post.

“Heart rate and respiratory rate are two vital signs commonly used to assess your health and wellness. Starting next month, Google Fit will allow you to measure your heart rate and respiratory rate using just your phone’s camera,” Google said. While the upgrade is for Pixel users only, Shwetak Patel, Director of Health Technologies, Google Health said that the company is planning to expand to more Android devices.

The modifications that allow camera sensors to detect users’ chest movements including breathing and the calculation of respiration rate, will be rolled out next month.

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