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Google Pixel phones to get new feature, will track heart and respiratory rate using camera

Google has announced that starting next month, this feature can be accessed on Google Pixel phones using Google Fit.

Sushant Talwar | February 5, 2021 | Updated 12:21 IST

Highlights

  • Google has announced a new feature for its Pixel phones.
  • The Pixel phones can now track heart rate of users.
  • The feature will be extended to users starting next month.

Google's Pixel lineup of phones is known for its smooth performance, sleek design, and some exclusive, Pixel-only features. And now, the company has added to the latter by announcing a new Pixel-exclusive feature that will offer the ability to track the user's heart rate and respiratory rate with the help of the phone's camera.

Google has announced that starting next month, this feature can be accessed on Google Pixel phones using Google Fit. Interestingly, the feature will not require any extra hardware and will be made functional using the devices' existing cameras. While the feature is set to be available to all the users, the company has not announced a specific date for the device yet.

Google has explained that for monitoring the user's heart rate, the feature will use the phone's camera to track color change as blood moves through the fingertips. For respiratory rate, the feature will track the rise and fall of the user's chest.

Google has clarified that the feature will help users to track overall wellness. However, it has cautioned that this feature should not be used as a substitute for medical help as it cannot evaluate or diagnose medical conditions.

In a statement, it said, "A doctor counts a patient's respiratory rate by watching their chest rise and fall, and the Google feature mimics that procedure. The machine learning technique that we leverage basically tries to emulate that."

Although, the Technical Lead at Google Health did add that the feature on Pixel phones showed that the respiratory rate monitoring was accurate within one breath per minute both for people with and without health conditions, while the heart rate feature was accurate within 2 percent.

Interestingly, this heart rate monitoring feature Samsung has offered on Galaxy S series smartphones in the past. In fact, this was one of the main features of the S10 line-up. However, it was removed by Samsung from the Galaxy S20 lineup. There were no explanations given for the move, but it is believed that the accuracy of the monitoring feature was a concern that led to the company dropping the feature from its flagship phones.

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