The ingenuity of some iOS App developers never ceases to amaze me. The folks over at Cardiio have figured out how to turn your iPhone’s front facing camera into a pulse/heart rate monitor. It analyzes the amount of light reflected off of your face and turns that information into a pulse rate reading. Yes I was skeptical at first, but I decided to give it a shot and although I don’t have a physical pulse monitor to compare it with (I will the next time I visit my doctor) it seems fairly accurate.

Just launch the App and hold your iPhone or iPod touch at the proper angle as illustrated in the app. Next tap the on screen button and remain as still as you can until the reading is complete. Once the reading is presented you’ll have the option of saving it or not.

Clever idea but it could be better

While the technology seem to be good within the App, the data management could be improved. When I first started using the App I wasn’t getting an accurate reading due to the way I was holding my iPhone. However, now that I’ve saved those initial readings they are being factored into my averages with no way of deleting them without of course deleting the App itself and starting over. It would also be nice to have a multiple user feature. The way it works now is that it can only keep track of one person’s readings at a time. Also it would be nice if it actually displayed some sort of progress bar/ring to let you know how much longer you have to remain still. Right now it pops up random trivia while it’s doing its thing. Lastly, it’s a little weird that it uses your face but doesn’t actually show you your face while reading to let you know that you have it aimed right. It will show you a preview only if it can’t find your face.

The Bottom Line

I like the App, with a few tweaks above it would be a real winner. Kudos to Cardiio for a figuring out yet one more way to use your iPhone in daily health activities.