“She cannae tek any more cap’n!” — ideally, this won’t be the assessment your iPhone delivers when gauging your heart rate. The makers of the new ‘Cardiio’ iPhone app are adding biosensor capabilities to their new app which essentially turns your iPhone into a heart rate monitor.
The thing I, rather geekily, love about this is the way in which it does it. It doesn’t work on the same principle as pregnancy monitoring apps which can allow you to listen to your baby’s heart rate after the second trimester. The Cardiio app (based on research conducted at the MIT Media Lab) can accurately measure to “within 3 BPM of a clinical pulse oximeter” and tracks your hear rate data, so you can find and compare trends in your heart rate over days or weeks. Surprisingly, it actually uses the camera to detect your heart rate!
This is how Cardiio explain it: “Every time your heart beats, more blood is pumped into your face. This slight increase in blood volume causes more light to be absorbed, and hence less light is reflected from your face. Using sophisticated software, your iPhone’s front camera can track these tiny changes in reflected light that are not visible to the human eye and calculate your heart beat!”
So, essentially your iPhone becomes a ‘Tricorder’ — the scanning device used in Star Trek. If Apple are to stay ahead of their third party developers the iPhone 5′s going to need a pre-loaded universal translator.
Gary Burns is missing the Olympics already — though Rory McIlroy’s second major did soften the blow a little. Find him droning on about sport (and probably video games) — on twitter @GTBurns