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Windows 10 phones should be able to give real time heart rate with its cameras

I haven’t heard talk of upcoming Lumias providing real time heart rate results, but it appears as though all of the hardware is there. Stepping back, if you recall the Xbox One can tell your heart rate by using a series of infrared cameras that can ‘see’ blood flowing through your skin. It does this by seeing slight changes in color of your face at a certain wavelength.  So merely having a camera pointed at you can give the Xbox One that ability. You can also hook up a Kinect 2 to a PC and do the same trick, and that’s exactly what Microsoft showed off recently (which also goes through the method of doing this).  The basis for it is the cameras:

Goins’ app, which he has subsequently refined, takes advantage of three of the latest sensor’s key features: its time-of-flight infrared data stream, its high-definition-camera color data stream, and face tracking. The infrared stream returns an array of infrared (IR) intensities from zero to 65,536, the color stream returns RGB data pixels, and the face tracking provides real-time location and positioning of a person’s face. He thus knew how to capture a facial image, measure its infrared intensity, and gage the RGB color brightness level in its every pixel.Goins’ app uses a blind source separation algorithm on the four sources of light—RGB (red, green, and blue) and IR—to obtain an estimated separation of components that contain a hidden frequency, the blood pulse signal. . These color data streams from the Kinect sensor enable Goins’ app to calculate the changes in color brightness at 30 frames per second. And since the amount of color intensity that the face radiates changes when the heart contracts—as more arterial blood is pushed through the facial capillaries—the IR and RGB values will change slightly over time as the heart contracts and relaxes. The frequency of these changes corresponds to the frequency of cardiac contractions—in other words, the pulse. The pulse is then calculated mathematically by separating the pulse frequency from other noise and color signals in the face—providing the user with a calculation of the heart rate.

Fast forward to the new Windows devices that feature Hello to login and the hardware seems to line up. The 950 Xl contains a 5mp front facing camera as well as an iris scanner which is an infrared camera. So, put it all together, and you should be able to do real time heart rate monitoring by merely having the front facing camera pointed at your face. It’s a neat trick but in terms of fitness (such as a mount of an exercise bike) it could provide useful data without anything touching you.