If you find wearing a heart rate monitor around your chest uncomfortable when working out, your iPhone may soon do the trick. A December 22nd news release reports that Swiss company CSEM has just finished the prototype for an iPhone app heart monitor dubbed Pulsear, based on ideas used to develop sensor technology for astronauts.
The iPhone application measures heart rate in real time, and lets you see your heart rate over time onscreen and compare, for example, today's jog with last week's. While the current prototype measures only heart rate, future versions could be adapted to measure additional vital signs such as blood oxygen levels, researchers say.
The technology could have both medical and commercial potential, and the company aims to market the device not only to data-junkie fitness buffs but to medical professionals looking for new, unobstrusive methods to measure vitals. Expected release date and target price range are forthcoming.
"Lots of people listen to music while they exercise and lots of people find the belts uncomfortable," said CSEM's Dr. Andrea Ridolfi, "so we thought it made sense to measure heart rate through the ear."
The Pulsear could compete with a host of smart phone fitness apps, such as iRunXtreme, which lets users track heart rate using an iPhone microphone (this app doen't promise absolute accuracy), or Fitnio, which records jogging activity and then displays distance, pace, and caloric burn. Other smart phone app kits, such as miCoach Pacer and Nike +, offer a standard attachable heart rate monitor and pedometer get-up, as well as the ability to connect with any kind of MP3 player or sound source.
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