Google Fit to measure your heart and respiratory rate using phone’s camera

Google Fit to measure your heart and respiratory rate using phone's camera.
Google Fit to measure your heart and respiratory rate using phone's camera. Credit: Google

Nowadays, devices such as Fitness Tracker or smartwatches often come equipped with a special sensor to measure heart and respiratory rate – a feature that is most suitable for health-conscious people. Now, we may not have to rely on those devices anymore, as Google Fit will allow you to measure your heart and respiratory rate using just your phone’s camera.

To measure the heart rate, users need to put their finger on the rear-facing camera lens and to measure the respiratory rate, they just need to place their head and upper torso in view of the front-facing phone camera. Once the measurements have been made, the option to store them in the app’s own database can be selected, where together with other health and activity parameters that allow progress to be monitored over time.

Google itself notes that the results of these measurements should not replace medical evaluations and diagnoses carried out by accredited professionals, but they can be useful to check the progress in our daily physical activity or in the practice of sports exercises. The developers conducted clinical trials and taught algorithms to work reliably not only in ideal conditions but also in everyday conditions, with different lighting and people of different skin colors and ages.

In addition, Google Fit also displays a user’s daily goals, weekly goals, heart points, recent workouts, and sleep data on a single screen.

In his blog post, Google Health director of health technologies Shwetak Patel said that thanks to increasingly powerful sensors and advances in computer vision, these features lets one use a smartphone’s camera to track tiny physical signals at the pixel level – like chest movements to measure their respiratory rate and subtle changes in the color of fingers for their heart rate.

The feature is expected to appear in the Google Fit app on Pixel smartphones until March. In the future, developers will adapt it to work on devices from other manufacturers.