Google now lets you use your phone's cameras to measure heart rate
Google wants to use your phone's camera to measure your heart rate and respiratory rate. This feature will be available in the Google Fit app rolling out first to the Pixel phones. Google plans on expanding this to more Android devices.
The technology might sound surprising but its functionality is pretty simple. Google will use your phone's front camera to take a video where your face and upper torso are visible in the frame. You have to breathe normally during the process, and your respiratory rate will be measured.
To measure your heart rate, you will have to place your finger on the rear-facing camera lens. This feature is already widely available on apps that provide heart rate measurement. You can save your heart rate and respiratory measurements in the Google Fit app.
Google explains how the smartphone's camera can track tiny physical signals like chest movements at the pixel level. It can also detect subtle changes in the colour of your fingers to measure your heart rate. “For example, since our heart rate algorithm relies on approximating blood flow from color changes in someone's fingertip, it has to account for factors such as lighting, skin tone, age and more in order to work for everyone,” Google said in a blog post.
Google said it developed both features and also completed initial clinical studies to validate them. But the company highlighted that these measurements aren't meant for medical diagnosis or to evaluate medical conditions. The two new Google Fit features are available on the Pixel phones first.