Google Fit Adding Heart and Respiratory Rate Measuring on Android

Posted on February 4, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Cloud, Google, Mobile, Android with 5 Comments

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.


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Comments (5)

5 responses to “Google Fit Adding Heart and Respiratory Rate Measuring on Android”

  1. erich82

    This must benefit google in some way, but how? Will they sell more Breathe-Right Strips ads?

  2. divodd

    "Put your finger on the rear facing camera lens"

    Won't that get it all smudgy for pictures? Who would do this?

    • Chris_Kez

      In reply to Divodd:

      Yeah, that seems like a terrible idea. In my initial skim-through I thought it was rear fingerprint sensor, which would make sense if that could work-- but the lens? Eww. Then again, I guess if you're already going through the step of deliberately smudging your lens, you can probably take five seconds to deliberately give it a good cleaning.

  3. JerryH

    This is hilarious. I had totally forgotten since these days fitness watches do this for you, but many years ago one of my first Android phones could do this (I can't remember if it was Droid 1 or Droid 2). And now it is back and they make it sound innovative...