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Smartphones Might Measure Your Heart & Respiratory Rate Soon

Updated: Aug 21, 2021

Update 15 March 2021: We finally have Google Fit’s new feature on our Pixel phone! Here are some screenshots of how it works.

In order to give a more accurate reading of your heart rate, Google Fit suggests being in a well-lit area and make sure your hands are steady. You can also use Google Fit’s new feature after exercising or drinking coffee to see what your heart rate is after such activities.

Credit: Google

Google Pixel phones might have a new update that allows you to monitor your heart and respiratory rate soon.

Ryne Hager of Android Police reported that Google Fit’s new feature started rolling out to Google Pixels on 8 March 2021, with plans to offer the feature to other Android phones too. Google previously announced the feature on 4 February 2021 but did not share the exact date when the update will go live. Back then, they only mentioned that the update will become available in March 2021.

Google Fit’s new feature allows you to measure your heart and respiratory rate using a Google Pixel’s camera. You only have to place your head and torso in view of a Google Pixel’s front-facing camera and breathe normally to measure your respiratory rate. Meanwhile, placing a finger on the rear-facing camera lens is needed when you wish to measure your heart rate.

Google Fit respiratory rate measurement process

Credit: Google

“Thanks to increasingly powerful sensors and advances in computer vision, these features let you use your smartphone’s camera at the pixel level – like chest movements to measure your respiratory rate and subtle changes in the colour of your fingers for your heart rate,” Google explained.

Google stressed that Google Fit’s new feature is only for helping people track and improve day-to-day wellness, as it isn’t meant for medical diagnoses or to evaluate medical conditions. The Verge’s Nicole Wetsman, however, reported that using Google Fit for medical purposes could be possible in the future and that it is something Google is exploring.

Ryne Hager mentioned in his article that Google Fit’s new feature is a timed exclusive for Google Pixels, which means that those phones get the update first before others do. He also assumed that the Pixel 2 series won’t receive the update since it’s no longer receiving any. However, the feature isn’t yet available on our Google Pixel 4a, so we might have to wait a bit longer to test it out.


Written by John Paul Joaquin

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