Published on February 5th, 2021 📆 | 6168 Views ⚑0
Google’s Pixels will use the camera to measure vitals
Google is intending to launch a health monitoring system on their Pixel phones. While there is much speculation about the hardware, only Google Pixels came out as the apt choice for the new application. Google plans to leverage the cameras of the Pixel phones to study the heart rate, pulse, etc of a user. It is not a new concept but rather a newer implementation of a concept that dates back to the early days of ML in AI.
Google Pixels camera, in this case, the rear camera will be used to study the change in heart rate by observing the finger of the users. After placing your finger on the camera, the application in conjunction with the camera will study the blood flow through your fingers. It may appear slightly quirky but is certainly a quick way for users with medical conditions to perform a random check of their heart rate. Similarly, the front camera will be employed in studying the respiratory rate of the user. The technique differs from the rear camera as the user has to fit himself/herself in the frame as dictated by the application. To calculate the respiratory rate, the application will study the elevation and compression of the chest to deduce the number of times a user was able to breathe in one minute.
The application itself sounds promising. I am convinced that if anyone can leverage the AI and ML to calculate the vitals without using a separate device, it is Google. Like every other health monitoring application, it will feature elaborate graphs, pie charts, and metrics that can be used as a reference document for your next diagnosis session with your health advisor. It’s all in the basics and vitals do reflect any abrupt change in the normal functioning of the human body.
Google also revealed that the feature right now will be only rolled for Google Pixel devices, although they did not clear the air about the Pixel variants that will get the application sometime later this year. If cameras are the only key to measuring the vitals, it may even roll out to the non Pixel devices, which constitute a lot of phones in the market. Google also elaborated on its plans to use their proprietary algorithms that were deployed to study the test case data of thousands of humans. AI-enhanced applications do get better with each iteration as all they need is raw data that can be used to make correlations out of it.
A rather shocking statement from Google was that it wanted to deploy a vitals measuring feature via smartphones for people that do not possess a fitness or health tracking device. Google acquired Fitbit last year and it appears as the decision will likely plummet the sales of the Fitbit bands. Also, Google Pixel devices are not cheap as they claim them to be. They are a mid-range flagship and usually costs something north of the 4-500 USD price range. It is still early to substantiate its efficacy without having a hands-on experience of the application’s preciseness.