12 March 2021
Google always wants its Pixel phones to offer something different and better than others in the competition. Well, who doesn’t? But being the software titan, Google has the advantage to introduce unique or even exclusive features via its Pixel phones.
We all know how Google makes the best use of its expertise without going heavy on the hardware. The best instance to exemplify here is its decision to stick to minimalism. When many manufacturers were jumping on the trend of bringing multiple cameras, Google stuck true to its mastery because it knew what its software is capable of.
Premium smartphones are built in a way so that they can go the extra mile when needed. But the software brings more to the table. Software harness phones’ real potential and help in unlocking more features. This increases a phone’s overall worth and sometimes extend their life as well.
Now, Google has unlocked one more feature via its Google Fit app that will help you in keeping a tab on your health, though not entirely. Google has announced that starting next month, Google Fit will allow you to measure your heart rate and even respiratory rate.
Google explains how one can measure respiratory rate using Google Fit app on the Pixel phone. The home screen of the app shows “Track your respiratory rate,” tapping which takes you to follow a few steps in order to get your breathing measurement right. You just need to place your head and upper torso in view of your phone’s front-facing camera and breathe normally. The app will then detect your face and chest and come up with your breaths per minute. During the process, the app will prompt you to allow it to use the Mobile Vitals tool in order to take pictures and record video.
On the final screen where the app shows your evaluated respiratory rate, it offers a caution as well, which Google has once again mentioned in its blog post as well. “These results are not intended for medical purposes and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or medical condition.”
Coming to the heart rate monitoring, you simply need to place your finger on the rear-facing camera lens.
As Google explains, the increasingly powerful sensors and advances in computer vision allow the new features to leverage a phone’s camera. A phone’s camera tracks tiny physical signals at the pixel level, such as chest movements to measure your respiratory rate and subtle changes in the color of your fingers for your heart rate.
While measuring heart rate via phones sounds fancy, it is not a new thing in the smartphone industry. Many manufacturers, like Samsung, have tried it already. In fact, the first phone to gain this capability was the Galaxy S5 as it even had a separate sensor for evaluation. Also, apps that let you measure your heart rate have been there in the smartphone industry for years. But a feature introduced or baked right inside a phone serves better. Also, coming from Google, be rest assured that you may get some extra benefits.
Google explains that after initial clinical studies it can say that the new heart rate monitoring works in a variety of real-world conditions and for as many people as possible. Google claims its heart rate algorithm ensures that the feature works for all skin tone, age, and more. Google says since the computer vision reliant method relies on blood flow from color changes in someone’s fingertip, it has to account for these factors so that the feature works for just everyone.
Google clearly announces that the capability is now rolling out to Pixel phones and it plans to expand to more Android devices as well.