Google Pixel owners can’t wait for this weekend to end. It’s not that they are harder working than those using other phone models. It’s just that new features are coming to Pixel cameras starting on Monday that will allow users to check their heart rate and respiratory rate. These features can be added to a camera on the back of a Pixel without requiring that additional hardware be added.
According to a video from the Android Partner Academy, the camera will be able to detect the pulse in a user’s fingertips and from their, calculate the heart rate. Users can start by tapping the heart rate card on the Google Fit home screen. Once you’ve given the hardware proper permissions, you place your finger over the rear camera fully covering all sensors. The heart rate will appear on the screen from where it can be saved to your heart rate log, or measured again.
The second measurement, the respiratory rate, can be measured by first tapping on the respiratory rate card on the home screen; accept the permission requests. Prop your phone up or place it into a stand. Frame yourself on the screen from the torso up. Breathe normally and the camera will track the number of times that your chest expands and drops. This allows the camera app to calculate your respiratory rate. When the final tally is revealed, you can tap on the screen to save the results to your health log. To get the best results, make sure that hats and face coverings are removed. If you’ve been exercising, wait a few minutes before getting a reading. As the company says, “Experience how Google Fit is committed to helping people understand more about their health and wellness one tap at a time.”
This works in roughly the same fashion as Apple Watch monitors do. The camera sensor is able to read subtle color cues called “pulsatile photoplethysmographic signals.” The camera can see what the human eye can’t. The feature is made for Google Pixels only for now while it will eventually hit other Android phones. Right now, the feature is heading to all supported Pixel models starting with the Pixel 3 and later.