(Pocket-lint) – Google is updating its Fit app on Pixel phones with heart and respiratory rate monitoring. It plans to add the features to other Android phones in the future. The interesting thing about these features is they leverage your phone’s camera.

Essentially, the Fit app will use your camera to measure your respiratory rate by monitoring the rise and fall of your chest. It will also track your heart rate by looking at the colour changes of your fingertip as blood moves through it. Science! But Google warned its new heart and respiratory rate monitoring technology shouldn’t be used to evaluate or diagnose medical conditions:

“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 explained in a blog post. “Once the measurements are made, you can choose to save them in the app to monitor trends over time, alongside other health and wellness information.

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To measure respiratory rate, or the breaths you take per minute, open the latest version of the Google Fit app and simply point your Pixel phone’s front-facing camera at your head and chest. To measure your heart rate, place your finger over the rear-facing camera.

Google said its features also use machine learning. Internal studies on Pixel phones showed that its respiratory rate feature was accurate within one breath per minute for people with and without health conditions, and its heart rate feature was accurate within 2 per cent on people with a range of skin tones. Google said it plans to publish a scientific paper with the data from its tests.

You can learn more about Google’s watching its virtual event below.

Writing by Maggie Tillman.





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