Biophone Smartphones to Replace Wearable Devices?

According to researchers from MIT, wearables may soon find their replacement in smartphones if an ongoing project to see if a smartphone can be used to track movements turns out well.

The project, called BioPhone, has been in the lab for months now, and aims at using the smartphone’s accelerometer to detect biological signals arising from slight body movements such as the pulse and the rising and falling of the chest.

Data collection, according to Javier Hernandez, research scientist at MIT’s Media Lab, is only possible when there are no rapid body movements, as this makes it easier for such small vibration as the heartbeat to be tracked discretely.

To gauge the reliability of BioPhone, a utility test was carried out and results were compared with those from fitness trackers, which are believed to be accurate.

Heart rates, as displayed by the smartphone data, happened to be one beat per minute more than those from wearable devices on average. Breathing rates were inaccurate by less than one breath per minute.

Researches are now working on improving the smartphone’s reliability in recording heart rates and breathing rates even in worse conditions.

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