Google will begin rolling out the Fit app’s camera-based heart and respiratory rate trackers on Monday, March 8. The tech giant first revealed the new features, which rely on the power of a phone’s camera, at a Health event in early February. Both trackers will let you measure your pulse and respiratory rate even without a wearable sensor, although they only make way for the Fit app for Pixel devices around the world at this time.
To use heart rate tracking, you’ll need to place your finger on the rear camera and apply light pressure – the app will calculate your heart rate by observing tiny changes in color under your skin. Respiratory rate tracking is a bit trickier to use, as you’ll need to make sure the front camera has a good view of your torso for about 30 seconds. You will need to keep the phone on a stable surface, sit down, and make sure your head and chest are in the frame. The function then calculates your breaths per minute by measuring the small movements of your chest.
How accurate the trackers are remains to be seen: things like hats, masks, and loose clothing could affect respiratory rate tracker results, for example. If you think they might be useful but you don’t have a Pixel device, you’ll just have to wait for the larger rollout. Google promises to expand their availability to more Android devices in the future.