Google is adding new health tracking tools to Google Fit that you can take advantage of with the phone you already own. Rather than having to invest in a fitness device or sync from another service, Google has built-in the ability to measure heartrate and respiratory rate using the camera sensors in your Pixel.
To track your heartrate, Google Fit will do so by asking that you place your finger over your phone’s rear camera, where the system will then check for subtle changes in the color of your finger. For respiratory rate measuring, the front-facing camera is used to analyze chest movements as you breathe normally.
Google says they completed initial clinical studies to validate both of these features, though they are clear that these “aren’t meant for medical diagnosis or to evaluate medical conditions.” Still, if you don’t have any other way to measure these two items, using your phone to do it sounds promising.
To start, only Google Pixel phones, like the Pixel 5, are getting access to heartrate and respiratory rate measurements. Google is planning to expand to other devices at some point.
If you own a Google Pixel phone, be on the lookout for a Google Fit update with these features starting next month.