In early 2021, Google deployed the ability to track key vitals right onto your Android device. Now the fitness app Google Fit for iOS devices is also equipped with this feature. Google Fit for iOS will monitor and measure heart rate and respiration using the iPhone’s camera. The pressure on the rear camera measures heart rate while the front camera tracks the user’s respiratory rate per minute (BPM).
How does Google Fit work?
For measuring heart rate, users can place their fingers on the rear camera lens and apply gentle pressure to start. To increase precision in dark environments, all you have to do is either turn on your camera flash or just place your hand (and your phone) in front of a light source.
Google tracks “subtle changes in the color of your fingers” to estimate blood flow, with heart rate algorithms considering lighting, complexion, age, and other factors. In addition, it can operate offline and does not require any Internet connection. The results are displayed as a preview graph within 30 seconds with BPM noted at the bottom of the screen. After the test is complete, it’s your choice whether to back up vital signs in Google Fit.
Google Fit for iOS also lets the iPhone selfie camera track a user’s breaths per minute. To do so users just have to keep their phone stable to ensure that their head and torso are clear and conspicuous. After that, a pop-up on the screen will ask you to “Hold still” for 30 seconds. From users’ chest movements Google Fit calculates breathing rate, with computer vision that tracks tiny physical signals at a pixel level.
As per 9to5Google, they observed the cards flashing “Check your heart rate” and “Track your respiratory rate” in Google Fit’s Home feed on iOS. The report goes on to say that these new features worked for both iPhone 7 and iPad Pro. Also, for recent Google Fit downloads, if the new cards are not flashing then the closure and re-opening of the app from the multitasking screen should work. To enable measurements to go on the “Browse” tab, then select “Vitals” and scroll down for the same. Users may configure alerts as reminders to take measurements regularly.
However, the company makes it clear that “the results obtained from the app are not for medical purposes and cannot be used for any kind for treatment, cure, or for prevention of any disease.” But the company assures that the app’s abilities have gone through proper clinical trials.