Google’s Pixels are some of the best Android phones you can buy today. Recently, the tech giant has pushed an update which makes the phones even more useful. You can now measure your pulse and respiratory rate using the phone’s cameras. Here we show you how to check your health stats using a Pixel smartphone.
Note: according to the company, the features are only intended to allow users to track overall wellness and shouldn’t be used to evaluate or diagnose medical conditions.
First, you’ll need a Pixel device to work with. Google hasn’t confirmed whether the update is destined for the entire Pixel line-up, but it’s safe to assume that the health-focused features are compatible with the newer models, including the Pixel 3, Pixel 3a, 4, 4a and 5. For the purposes of this tutorial, we used a Pixel 4a.
You need to get the Google Fit app on your device. You can install it from the Google Play Store if it’s not on your device already.
Before we show you how to check your vitals, we should note one more thing. The ability to check your pulse using your smartphone isn’t new. The option to download an app to check heart rate (and other vitals) has been available for quite some time. The problem with many of these apps, however, is that it’s quite difficult to gauge their accuracy.
In contrast, Google’s new tools appear to be ahead of the pack. The company conducted several tests to examine their effectiveness and found that the heart monitor is accurate within two percent.
At some point in the future, these tools may make it to non-Pixel devices – but only after Google determines whether they would actually work well on other devices.
How to Check Your Heart Rate Using Your Pixel
1. Open the Google Fit app on your device.
2. Scroll down until you find the “Check your heart rate” card and tap on “Get started.”
3. The app measures heart rate by tracking color change as blood moves through the fingertip, so you’ll be asked to place your index finger on the main camera. When you’re ready, press “Start measurement.”
4. Grant the necessary permissions the app asks for.
5. Keep your finger in place until the measurement is done.
6. The result will be displayed on your screen, and you can save the data to the app if you want.
To compare, we also checked our heart rate using a pulse oximeter, and the results (82 vs. 80) were comparable to the data supplied by the Google Fit app.
How to Check Your Respiratory Rate Using Your Pixel
1. Open the Google Fit app on your device once again.
2. Scroll down until you find the “Track your respiratory rate” card and tap on “Get started.”
3. The app uses your front-facing camera to detect your chest movement patterns and applies AI to give you an accurate respiratory rate reading. Therefore, you’ll need to position yourself in the selfie’s camera frame. It’s best for you to be seated while the camera measures your vitals.
4. The app will ask you to give it permission to record video. Go ahead and grant it.
5. Make sure your face and chest are in view and keep breathing like you normally would.
6. Wait until the app completes the measurement.
7. The result will be displayed on the screen once the test is over. Tap “Save” to store the results in your app for later viewing or tap on “X” to forget about them.
As we noted above, these measurements aren’t meant to replace your regular doctor checkups. With this in mind, the new health-centric tools from Google can still be immensely helpful, as they allow you to keep tabs on your readings, so once you identify an irregular measurement, you can seek medical assistance as soon as possible.
If you’re trying to stay healthy during these troubling times, then perhaps you should also go ahead and get acquainted with five websites that can help you keep tabs on the COVID-19 pandemic or dive into our list of the best Android apps for mental health improvement.