Saturday, February 6, 2021

Android Users Can Soon Measure Heart Rate Via A Phone’s Rear Camera

Google has introduced new health tracking features to its Fit app, which allow users to measure their heart and respiratory rate by using a phone’s rear camera. The company noted on its recent blog update that these new additions will be first rolled out to its Pixel smartphones, and will eventually come to more Android devices in the future.

To measure heart rate, users are required to place their finger on the rear camera for scanning. Through this, the app will track colour changes in the skin as blood moves through the finger tip. If this sounds familiar, Samsung previously introduced this method years back on its Galaxy smartphone series, up until the Galaxy S20.

The respiratory tracking feature, on the other hand, relies on the selfie camera to monitor a person’s breathing pattern. Users will need to position their handsets so their head and upper torso are visible to the camera for scanning. Google explains that this feature employs a machine learning technique that mimics a doctor’s procedure of checking a patient’s respiratory rate by watching their chest rise and fall when breathing.

The company added its internal studies claim that heart rate readings via the app were accurate within 2%, while the respiratory rate monitoring function is accurate within one breath per minute. The features were tested on people with different skin tones for the studies, which yielded similar results in terms of accuracy. 

As mentioned earlier, Google has plans of expanding the availability of these features to other Android smartphones outside of its own Pixel line-up. However, the company did not reveal when the roll-out is expected to happen.

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