Google Pixel phones to soon let you track heart rate via cameras


Google is updating its Fit app on Pixel phones with heart and respiratory rate monitoring, which users can read using phone’s cameras.

The company will roll out the feature to Pixel phones this month and it also plans to add them to other Android phones in the future.

Both features rely on the smartphone camera — it measures respiratory rate by monitoring the rise and fall of a user’s chest and heart rate by tracking colour change as blood moves through the fingertip, The Verge reported on Thursday.

The features are only intended to let users track overall wellness and cannot evaluate or diagnose medical conditions, the company said.

Users can point the phone’s front-facing camera at their head and chest to measure respiratory rate (the number of breaths someone takes per minute) using the app.

To measure heart rate, users can place their finger over the rear-facing camera.

A doctor counts a patienta¿s respiratory rate by watching their chest rise and fall, and the Google feature mimics that procedure, Jack Po, a product manager at Google Health, said in a press briefing.

“The Machine Learning (ML) technique that we leverage basically tries to emulate that,” he said.

Google’s heart rate monitor is similar to a feature that Samsung included on a number of older model Galaxy smartphones, including the Galaxy S10.

The company removed the feature for the S10E, S20, and later phones.



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