How-To

Measure Your Heart and Respiratory Rates with a Google Pixel Camera

There are several wearable devices that will track your fitness levels. But if you own a Pixel phone you can use the handset to track heart and respiratory rates.

Heart and respiratory rates are an essential metric of your health. Google Fit can help you keep track of these, provided you have a device to measure them with. However, if you’re using a Google Pixel smartphone, you can measure these metrics with just your phone camera.

Google Fit Heart and Respiratory Rate

Google Fit is a useful health monitoring tool. It’s perfectly capable of monitoring a lot of health metrics. You can even sync your Fitbit data with it, with a little bit of effort. However, until recently, if you wanted to measure your heart rate or your breathing, you had to have an external device for this purpose. Afterward, you could sync that data, presumably via Bluetooth.

Some people don’t like using something like a fitness bracelet, Apple Watch (even if you can unlock your iPhone from it with a mask on), or Wear OS smartwatch. They either don’t like wearing something on their wrist or simply prefer a classic watch. Either way, if you’re the lucky owner of a Google Pixel smartphone, your phone’s camera can be used to check these two important vital signs. It’s quite easy, too.

All you’ll need for this is a Google Pixel phone and the latest version of the Google Fit app, which you can find here in the Google Play Store (although it should have come preinstalled).

Google has promised that the feature would eventually make its way to other Android devices. This has happened with a lot of Pixel-first features in the past, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t trust the company on this one.

Heart Rate Measurement

We’ll start with your heart rate. To do this, fire up the Google Fit app and scroll down until you find the Heart rate card.

Now that you’ve done that, tap the + sign on it.

Google Pixel Heart Rate measure plus

This is where things get quite interesting. Your Pixel will ask you to put your finger on your rear camera lens and apply light pressure. You’ll notice a graph at the bottom of the screen, displaying your heart rate in real-time. You also have an option to switch the torch on or off. If the room is dark, the feature needs it in order to function properly.

Google Pixel Heart Rate measure real time

Once the measurement is done, you can save it and it will be added to your Google Fit dashboard.

Respiratory Rate Measurement

A heart rate measured with a phone camera is one thing, but how do you track breathing?

Go back to the main Google Fit screen and this time hit the + sign next to Respiratory rate.

Google Pixel Respiratory Rate measure plus

This is where it all becomes a bit like a science fiction movie. Your camera will detect movement in your face and chest and start measuring. You just have to hold still.

Two suggestions here. Obviously, the first one is to make sure the room you’re in is well-lit. The second one is to prop your phone against something or put it on a stand in order to get the most accurate possible measurements.

Google Pixel Respiratory Rate measure

The same as for the heart rate, you get a measurement at the end, which you will be able to save or retake.

Once saved, Google Fit adds both measurements to its dashboard, further adding to the overview of your current health state.

Google Pixel Heart Respiratory Rate dashboard

It is, of course, advisable that you take these metrics from time to time. Just to be sure that everything is working exactly as it should. You could even do it on a daily basis, as it doesn’t really take more than a minute.

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