Google is adding heart and respiratory rate monitors to the Fit app on Pixel phones this month, and it plans to add them to other Android phones in the future. Both features rely on the smartphone camera: it measures respiratory rate by monitoring the rise and fall of a user’s chest, and heart rate by tracking color change as blood moves through the fingertip. From a report: The features are only intended to let users track overall wellness and cannot evaluate or diagnose medical conditions, the company said. To measure respiratory rate (the number of breaths someone takes per minute) using the app, users point the phone’s front-facing camera at their head and chest. To measure heart rate, they place their finger over the rear-facing camera. A doctor counts a patient’s respiratory rate by watching their chest rise and fall, and the Google feature mimics that procedure, said Jack Po, a product manager at Google Health, in a press briefing. “The machine learning technique that we leverage basically tries to emulate that,” he said.
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