iPad app detects heart, breathing rates

James Mulroy
22 November, 2011
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Have you ever wanted to know if you were within your target heart rate range while you exercise? Unfortunately for those of us who work out, a heart rate monitor can be expensive, costing anywhere from tens of dollars to hundreds of dollars depending on the quality of the monitor. But your wallet – or purse – has an alternative with the Philips Vital Signs Camera App for the iPad 2.

Philips’ Vital Signs Camera app takes a heart and breathing rate.

Created by Philips, this new iPad app can measure your heart rate and your breathing rate remotely by using the iPad 2 camera. With the app, the camera is able to detect small changes in the colour of your face – caused by a change in blood volume in your skin’s blood vessels – which allows the app to calculate your heart rate. The app also tracks the movements of your chest captured by the camera, which allows it to calculate your exact breathing rate.

To use the app, first you need to purchase it for 99 cents – far less than what you pay for the standard wrist-watch heart rate monitors – from the App Store. Next, to get a good reading, you need to place the iPad on a flat surface. As soon as you open the app, it goes to work; all you need to do is make sure that your face is within the marked region on the app. Next, you stay still (but don’t stop breathing) and wait for a few moments. Finally, you can share the results on Facebook, Twitter, or via email.

As a person who works out regularly, I can see how this app would pretty useful, because not only is it cheap, but it is completely unobtrusive, unlike a wristwatch monitor or those annoying chest straps.

Also, unlike your usual heart rate monitor, this one also measures your breathing rate.

Make sure to check out Philips’s site to learn more about this app and how to use it


2 people were compelled to have their say. We encourage you to do the same..

  1. Paul says:

    I purchased this app and even with my funny heart beat it works great. I have a heart condition and this is going to be an app I’ll be using a lot. It’s just amazing a simple camera like the one on the front of the iPad 2 can be used for something like this. Simply amazing.

  2. Paul says:

    Thanks MacWorld for sharing this wonderful app.

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