Google fit

Now, this is seriously cool. Google has today announced that the Google Fit mobile app can now turn your phone into a health monitor that can measure heart rate and respiratory rate. Yes, really! And to do so, your phone will rely only on its camera to take the readings. The two aforementioned capabilities will make their way to Pixel smartphones first. However, Google plans to expand this neat feature to phones from other brands as well. So, how is it done using your phone’s camera? Here’s a little explanation in Google’s own words: 

“Thanks to increasingly powerful sensors and advances in computer vision, these features let you use your smartphone’s camera to track tiny physical signals at the pixel level — like chest movements to measure your respiratory rate and subtle changes in the color of your fingers for your heart rate.”

The health-centric features are first coming to Google's Pixel smartphones

And the best part? The process of measuring your heart and respiratory rate using your smartphone via the Google Fit app will be really simple. In order to measure the heart rate, all you need to do is place your finger on the rear camera lens. And for taking your respiratory rate reading, just make sure that your head and upper torso are in view of the front camera, and breathe as you would normally do. 

Google Fit health tracking

You can choose to save these health measurements in the Google Fit app for a periodic log. However, Google warns that the readings aren’t meant for medical diagnosis, even though both the features have been clinically validated. Additionally, factors such as skin tone, lighting conditions, and age among others have been taken into consideration to provide more accurate results.

The health data is not meant for medical diagnosis however

“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,” Google adds. Nonetheless, these two health-centric features are a great addition to the Google Fit app and have the potential of turning our phones into an even more useful gadget. 

I’ve been writing about consumer technology for over three years now, having worked with names such as NDTV and Beebom in the past. Aside from covering the latest news, I’ve reviewed my fair share of devices ranging from smartphones and laptops to smart home devices. I also have interviewed tech execs and appeared as a host in YouTube videos talking about the latest and greatest gadgets out there.
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