Smartphone can be your fitness tracker

New York, Nov 15 (IANS) Uncomfortable with your wristband fitness tracker? Now you can bury it somewhere in your closet as your smartphone would be your new fitness tracker, say researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

A new system called BioPhone, developed by researchers at MIT, can take your heart rate, breathing and other physiological measurements while it sits in your bag or pocket – without even touching your body, MIT Technology Review reported.

The BioPhone derives biological signals from your phone’s accelerometer and it can capture the small movements of your body that result from the beating of your heart and rising and falling of your chest, researchers said.

Lead author of the study, Javier Hernandez, said it is meant to capture this data during moments when you are not moving much and the data could be used to help figure out when you are stressed out and then help you cope with it.

For example, your smartphone might suggest you try some breathing exercises or ask a loved one to give you a call.

To measure the utility of BioPhone, researchers asked participants to stand, sit and lie down with a smartphone in their pocket.

The data gathered from the smartphones were extremely similar and in many instances the same as FDA-approved heart and breathing-rate sensors.

However, researchers still have to figure out how to measure heart and breathing rates reliably when the smartphone is in different spots like your back pants’ pocket, which can change how the biological signals are picked up.

In other words, the farther you get from the heart, the harder it is to get a good reading.

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