Google Fit will add free heart rate and respiratory rate measuring capabilities using sensors that are already built-in to Android smartphones.
“Heart rate and respiratory rate are two vital signs commonly used to assess your health and wellness,” Google’s director of health, Shwetak Patel, writes in the announcement post. “Starting next month, Google Fit will allow you to measure your heart rate and respiratory rate using just your phone’s camera. These features will be available in the Google Fit app for Pixel phones, with plans to expand to more Android devices.”
To measure your respiratory rate, you have to place your head and upper torso in view of your phone’s front-facing camera and breathe normally, Google notes. And to measure your heart rate, simply place your finger on the rear-facing camera lens.
Neither measurement is particularly precise, of course, but Google hopes that both will be useful to users and notes that they can be measured over time to gain at least some insight into your wellness.