Ming-Zher Poh, a PhD Student at MIT’s Media Lab, is the creator of what may be the most interesting thing on the iOS App Store today: An app called Cardiio that makes use of the iPhone’s camera and nothing else to produce a estimate of your heart rate.
The science behind the Cardiio is almost as fascinating as the concept itself. Poh’s algorithm captures a video of the user’s face with the help of a tracking software before distilling it into RGB channels which are, in turn, analyzed to determine a rough BPM based on reflectivity.
And it’s surprisingly accurate. At least one study has shown that the technology behind Cardiio is accurate to within three beats per minute. You
might not see it at your doctor’s office, but it could be useful for tracking your heart rate when you exercise.
Cardiio isn’t Poh’s first attempt at using light to measure heart rate, but it’s probably the most popular. According to Co.Design, even though it’s only been around for a few days, Cardiio is already one of the most highly rated health and fitness apps on iTunes. Arguably, it’s also one of the creepiest–Cardiio will, among other things, attempt to provide you with your estimated life expectancy. Eek.
[Cardiio via Co.Design]