Starting next month, the feature will be available in the company’s health-tracking platform Google Fit.
(Subscribe to our Today’s Cache newsletter for a quick snapshot of top 5 tech stories. Click here to subscribe for free.)
Google on Thursday rolled out new features that will allow users to measure heart rate and respiration with their phone camera.
With the upgrade, the tech-giant is expanding to advanced health and fitness features usually offered by fitness trackers and devices.
Starting next month, the feature will be available in the company’s health-tracking platform Google Fit. Initially, it will be available only for Pixel phones, but Google plans to expand to more Android devices.
To measure respiratory rate, users simply need to place head and upper torso in view of the phone’s front-facing camera and breathe normally. While, they can measure heart rate by placing finger on the rear-facing camera lens.
Users can save output in the app and monitor trends over time, along with other health and fitness information.
This is made possible with sensors that are already built into smartphones such as the microphone, camera and accelerometer.
Heart-rate tracking requires dedicated sensors, and Google is using powerful sensors and advanced computer vision technology to track physical signals.
The app will use chest movements to measure respiratory rate and changes in colour of the fingers to check heart rate.
Google completed initial clinical studies and is relying on its customary algorithms to measure heart rates. For instance, the heart rate algorithm focuses on approximating blood flow from colour changes in fingertips. It has to account for factors such as lighting and skin tone to be on par with everyone.
Google clarified in a blog post that these calculations are not for medical diagnosis or for evaluating medical conditions.
“We hope they can be useful for people using the Google Fit app to track and improve day-to-day wellness,” Google said.