Besides projecting directions and e-mails in front of your face, Google Glass can also measure biological signs like heart and breathing rates, according to new research. The work suggests a new way for wearable devices to track a person’s stress level and provide instant fitness feedback. Researchers from MIT’s Media Lab and the Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Interactive Computing say that they can accurately ferret out this data by monitoring a Glass wearer’s head movements with the gyroscope, accelerometer, and camera built into Google Glass. A paper on the research will be presented at the MobiHealth conference in Athens, Greece, in November.
If you’re riding the wave of the quantified-self movement, you may not need to purchase a host of wristbands, bracelets, watches, cuffs and helmets that can track your health — Google Glass can do the job just as well. Researchers at the Affective Computing Group in the MIT Media Lab and Georgia Institute of Technology have found that Google Glass can correctly detect your pulse and respiration rhythms in real time. “It detects these physiological indicators with a very high accuracy when compared to FDA-approved sensors — both pulse and respiration had only about one beat or breath per minute of error,” says lead author and PhD student Javier Hernandez, speaking about this new research (PDF) for the first time to Wired.co.uk. The big idea: the responses were measured using the built-in gyroscope, accelerometer and camera in Google Glass — no external sensors needed. “The data from Google Glass is so much richer than a dedicated heart-rate sensor, because people use it in their regular lives,” says Hernandez. The real-time physiological feedback could show you what calms you down, makes you afraid, or stresses you out as you go about daily life.