This morning I was feeling great after we got a lot of outdoor time and exercise due to the unseasonably warm weather this weekend, and I really pushed myself on my morning jog (based on my speed I can’t bring myself to call it a ‘run’), and so by the time I got home I was really winded. I checked my heart rate to be sure I was in my normal range before doing my indoor workout. Imagine if I could just check my heart rate anywhere I went using my smartphone and just having it look at my face! That is the premise behind the Android app “What’s My Heart Rate?”. Let’s take a quick look
Measure your heart rate by just looking at your screen. Easy and convenient without needed to finger press on your camera lens.
Your heartbeat causes micro color changes on your face. Our software uses camera and advanced software algorithm to detect these micro changes, with beat-to-beat accuracy. The algorithm is built based on reliable non-contact photoplethysmography concept.
You may even help your lovely sleeping baby, or your grandparents to measure their heart rate by switching to back camera. This breakthrough technology allows you to measure your heart rate in an easy and unobtrusive way.
This app works best, if the device is being held still in a bright environment.
I was cooling down from my workout when I downloaded this app to my Droid 4 to test it out. My lighting was a bit scant at first, and I noted that the face detection box was red around the edges and my readings were very erratic. So I waited a few minutes for my CFL lights to warm up and the lighting to stabilize and tried again. Then the readings stabilized – and the values were lower as expected as I was resting.
Because I could, I then installed on my Samsung Galaxy S2 and held the two phones side-by-side looking at my face. Immediately I was seeing up to a 20bpm difference between the readings. I had turned on more lights to help with overall lighting and never saw the frame go red, but definitely saw variation in the illumination of my face. The two readings were at times within a beat or two but at other times up to 20bpm difference.
I headed to their site to see what I might be doing wrong. The advice from the website was to follow these 3 tips.:
•Ensure the environment lighting is good and bright. Morning sunlight is the best.
•Ensure your device is being hold steadily. Place your device on a table is the best.
•Avoid head motion while measurement is in progress.
So then I enlisted my younger son to hold up the two cameras to his face and see what the results looked like. The readings were almost monolithically stable and fairly accurate based on a simple pulse check.
Then just after I snapped that picture he shifted slightly and I saw the readings spread apart and so I grabbed another image:
The readings went back to matching when he shifted positions again, so I suspect that it had more to do with stray light and differential sampling of the two cameras … but I would rather get no reading if there is a question than an inaccurate reading.
Overall I found What’s My Heart Rate a fun little utility that I am not sure I will ever use again. I can definitely see the utility in just pointing your smartphone at your face to check rate rather than using a stopwatch (also on the smartphone) and timing your pulse. But since I fun in the very early morning, light is already scant and I would constantly be concerned about accuracy.
But if you are a daylight runner, or work out at a gym and use your phone for music or otherwise have it on you, this would be a quick and easy check of heart rate as you exercise! And that is always a good way to make sure you are being safe as you try to be healthy.
For more information on the app, head to their home page.
Review: What’s My Heart Rate
Where to Buy: Google Play Android Market
What I Like: Accurate results, quick and easy to use.
What Needs Improvement: Results are very dependant on positioning and lighting
Source: Free download