Posts Tagged mit

Take a look at your iPhone’s camera. It doesn’t look that special, does it? Sure, it’s great for taking snapshots and documenting your life, but you’d never expect it to keep you healthy, would you?

Thanks to the hard working folks at MIT, that perception should change with the release of Cardiio.

The app turns an iPhone into an accurate, touch-free heart rate monitor and it actually works. Using the phone’s front camera, it analyzes the amount of light reflected off your face then measures the pulse from that. It sounds a little like magic but there’s some clever science behind it.

Every time your heart beats, more blood is pumped into your face which means more light is absorbed and less is reflected away. The app figures things out from that and accurately. It’s as simple as that.

Not convinced? We checked in with Ming-Zher Poh who has been working on the technology since 2009. Ming-Zher started work on contact-free heart rate sensing technology during his Ph.D at MIT. After completing his research and gaining his Ph.D, he decided it’d be a great idea to translate that to the iOS market and help people along the way.

Since January, Ming-Zher and digital health startup incubator Rock Health, have been hard at work on refining the technology and producing a fantastically useful app. Cardiio is the result of that hard work.

The app is immensely user-friendly, with it possible to check your heart rate at any time (providing you’re in a well lit area). A daily dashboard and weekly and monthly summaries ensure you’ll always know your heart rate. Cardiio also reports on how that correlates to your fitness level and, slightly unnervingly, suggests a potential life expectancy based on such figures. Even better, it’s so unobtrusive, unlike many other heart rate monitors.

It’s all too easy to want to bury your head in the sand or simply not consider how something as crucial as your heart is performing. Ming-Zher Poh’s research has gone a huge way to ensuring this doesn’t happen, all for the price of $4.99.

The app is out now. If you want to read more on the research conducted and the science behind it all, check out MIT News Office and Ming-Zher Poh’s page at the Institute.

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-08-09 :: Category: Healthcare & Fitness

IMG_0673If you’re a senior in high school, April is more or less college visit month. I’ve got less than three weeks to pick my home for the next four years—yikes!—and as such, I’m spending just about every weekend in April on a college trip. This week? I’m at MIT’s Campus Preview Weekend. It’s a crazy thing. The entire campus turns out with tons and tons of events; there are (optional!) events until 5:00am. (The last one that I can see is a Vermonster Challenge.) And that’s just the stuff on the official schedule. I’d be lying if I claimed it wasn’t overwhelming. The Boston / Cambridge area is a lot bigger than what I’m used to, MIT’s campus is huge, and the events are scattered everywhere. Some even require you to take a shuttle!

Which is why I’m so incredibly grateful for MIT’s two iPhone apps: one for regular students, and one made specially for Campus Preview Weekend. The CPW app shows the entire schedule, and allows you to mark certain events as “Favorites” (I’m planning on going to the a capella show, for example). I’ll probably lose my official schedule soon; I doubt I’ll lose my iPod. I hope not, anyway. At any rate, it’s nice to be able to keep my schedule in my pocket vs. in my bookbag. Pockets are a lot easier to reach.

As for the main MIT app, it’s also a godsend. The entire campus is covered in WiFi, which makes the MIT app’s map feature amazing. It’s not great at pinpointing my location based on just WiFi, but the search feature alone makes the map awesome. Type in the name of a group or building—say, “Hillel”—and the app finds it for you. It also includes a Shuttle pane, with real-time bus tracking to help you catch a shuttle. Given the fact that I’m walking around an unfamiliar campus at night, this is pretty useful.

Kudos to MIT for releasing such a great pair of apps. It’s just one more example of how the iPhone’s potential is really a matter of what app developers make of it. I never expected to have such information available to me on my iPod, but now that I’ve got the apps, it seems like common sense, and I’ll be using both apps often over the next three days. I might still be overwhelmed, but at least I won’t get lost!

More organizations should really take advantage of the iPhone with things like this. What about you guys? Do you have any similar examples of the iPhone’s awesome power in daily life?

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