Google Fit Can Now Measure Heart and Respiratory Rate Using Your Phone’s Camera


Folks over at Google Health are focused on several ways through which they can help people live lives in the healthiest possible way, and the latest feature that they are introducing revolves around the ability to measure your heart and respiratory rate using the Google Fit app along with the camera on your Android phone.

Google Fit does this by the number of breaths that you take per minute. Google Fit is using your phone's front camera, and for it to work properly, the phone needs to be leaned on a stable surface to view the person in question properly from the waist up. The camera should have a clear, unobstructed view of your head and upper torso.

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Users are then brought to a full-screen UI with a live fee that marks their face and chest, and there are instructions above that tell you that you should breathe normally and hold still. There is also a circular indicator that notes progress, and once it is complete, the results appear on the next screen.

Google Fit measures the respiratory rate by detecting the small changes in your chest. Google talks about advances in computer vision that will help make it possible to "track tiny physical signs at the pixel level."

As far as the heart rate measurement is concerned, it involves placing your finger on the rear-facing camera lens and applying light pressure. Flash is not needed, but you can turn it on to actually increase accuracy in darker environments. Once the test is complete, users will decide whether they want to save the vitals to Google Fit. These measurements can be completed in 30 seconds, with users advised to wait before they do any physical activity. In addition to that, there is no internet connection required for these to work.

Google is doing so by tracking "subtle changes in the color of your fingers," which will help the Google Fit app approximate blood flow. The heartrate algorithms account for lighting, skin tone, age, as well as other factors, and the Google Fit app also explicitly states that,

These results are not intended for medical purposes and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or medical condition.

With that said, Google hopes that Google Fit's camera backed measurements become a useful method of tracking and improving daily wellness. Google has gone ahead and completed initial clinical studies to validate these features. The feature will start rolling out next month to Pixel users who have the Google Fit app installed, and the company does plan on bringing this feature to other Android devices in the future.