Monitoring you heart rate can be a pain, especially for those who have to do so frequently for health purposes. But a new mobile app aims to make this sometimes tedious task not only simple but enjoyable. What some may view as a game, Cardiio makers view as a pivotal health tool that measures your heart rate by simply taking a visual scan of your face.
That’s right: Cardiio users simply hold their iPhone or iPad up to their face, the app does a quick scan, and then your heart rate, projected life expectancy, and how you compare health-wise to the average person is revealed.
We reached out to Cardiio co-founder and CEO, Ming-Zher Poh, Ph.D., to get a better idea of what this cool, new app is really all about.
What does this app do, and how exactly does it work?
Cardiio is a beautiful and fun app that accurately measures your pulse by scanning your face using the front-facing camera of your iPhone/iPad. 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 off your face. With Cardiio, your device’s front camera can track these tiny changes in reflected light that are not visible to the human eye to calculate your heart rate.
How was Cardiio developed, and by whom?
The technology behind Cardiio was developed back in 2009 during my Ph.D. at the MIT media lab where I was working on new ways for gathering physiological information unobtrusively. We’ve since refined the technology and made it compatible with mobile devices.
Our peer-reviewed studies have shown that measurement accuracy is within 3 bpm of a clinical pulse oximeter when used properly in good lighting conditions. Best practices can be found on the Cardiio app website.
Is its purpose to promote healthy living, or just be a cool gadget?
Cardiio is certainly one of the coolest apps for your iPhone/iPad, but its purpose isn’t merely to “wow” people. The goal of Cardiio is to promote healthy living by making tracking one’s health delightful and engaging instead of a chore. Your resting heart rate is an important indicator of general health and Cardiio makes it really simple to track it over time.
What do people need to know about this app before and after buying it?
Cardiio offers a unique, touch-free approach that needs no connection to your body. One of the key strengths is that the measurement technology behind our app has been validated and peer-reviewed. Another aspect that stands out is the user experience of our app. Cardiio was designed to make health tracking a very simple and engaging experience. Instead of merely giving you your heart rate measurement, our app puts your data in context so that you can understand what your readings mean and how you measure up.
What kind of consumer response have you seen so far?
The response so far has been extremely positive! Cardiio is now one of the top-ranked apps in the Health & Fitness category. Consumers are really excited about how technology has the potential to improve health care and provide them with more tools to take charge of their own wellbeing.
The Cardiio app costs $4.99 and is available for iPhone and iPad. After trying this app myself, I was impressed. The sheer fact that my phone could scan my face and reveal my heart rate was amazing! And even though it seemed like it was just a cool gadget at first, I loved hearing from the co-founder that it really is intended to be a tool for health. I agree that if we can make monitoring our health fun, perhaps more people will get on board – and that’s a trend our nation could afford ascribing to.
images from cardiio website
August 21st, 2012