With the growing interest in technology to measure vital signs and improve health, Google researchers have recently discovered a new method of measuring heart rate using off the shelf headphones.
Using electrocardiography (ECG) technology, the research team was able to construct a simple device that clips onto an existing pair of earbuds. This device – named “Cardioreflect” – is capable of measuring heart rate and respiration and sends the data to an accompanying smartphone app which gives feedback on peoples’ heart rhythm and oxygen levels.
The research team believes that Cardioreflect could be a low-cost device for individuals to improve their health understanding, and an important alternative to other, more expensive and often inconvenient methods of tracking vital signs.
In a study, the team tested the device on 56 adult volunteers. They found that the readings from the Cardioreflect device closely matched the readings of the traditional ECG, providing an accuracy of 92.2%. According to the team, this accuracy is considered high relative to other non-invasive methods of measuring heart rate.
The team also noted that there is room for improvement in Cardioreflect’s accuracy. However, they are confident that with further research and development, it can become a reliable and accessible way for people to monitor their heart rate at home.
This study highlights the importance of research and development in medical technology, especially delivering healthcare information to patients and physicians in the most convenient way. With Cardioreflect, users will have a low-cost and user-friendly way to track their cardiovascular health and help manage potentially concerning changes in their health.