Cardiio / by Natashia Tjandra


Touch-free heart rate monitoring app. It uses new technology, turning your phone camera into a pulse sensor ‘machine.’

Cardiio uses your phone’s front camera to analyze the amount of light reflected off of your face; it accurately measures your pulse without any extra hardware. Just hold your phone and look straight into the camera to get your reading, then check out the dashboard to see how it changes over time.

[Its] technology is based on cutting-edge research and science conducted at the MIT Media Lab. The measurement principles are the same as clinical pulse oximeters. Every time your heart beats, more blood rushes through the vessels in your face, causing them to expand. The increase in blood volume absorbs more light, resulting in a decrease in the amount of light reflected from your face. Using sophisticated software, your iPhone’s front camera can track these tiny variations in light that are invisible to the naked eye to calculate your heart rate.


Features Touch-free • Real-time heart rate measurements • Beautiful and easy to use interface • Personal dashboard with history (daily, weekly and monthly) • Fitness level rating based on your heart rate • Estimate your potential life expectancy • See how your heart rate compared to others

•   Touch-free. It doesn’t require any contact aside from holding the phone so that the front-facing camera captures your face.
•   Quick and easy. Immediate feedback/result of your heart rate.
•   Interface is beautiful and easy to use. When launched, it features a virtual stethoscope. Cardiio needs to measure from as much facial skin as possible, it will let you know to move your phone closer to you by displaying a slightly transparent image of yourself in the “reflection” of the stethoscope. It’s also an aesthetic feature.

Accuracy is compromised, if any of the listed tips below is not carried out
•   Phone has to be held 6 inches in front of your face
•   Face needs to be well illuminated, so being in a well-lit area is always good
•   Your face has to be clearly visible (e.g. no long hair covering your forehead etc.) so that it can be easily detected.
•   Don’t have a bright background behind you (backlight) - it makes your face appear dark in contrast, the camera sensor won’t be able to detect your face accurately.
•   Need to be very still when measuring

Smile Factor
Touch-free, real time heart rate measurements.

The verdict
I love this app, feels like magic. It always amazes me, how the programmers or mathematicians managed to develop the software. It’s almost always accurate, the first few times I used the app, i’ll count my heart rate manually. And i like how I can track my heart rate daily and monitor my progress. Hopefully I’ll be healthier. Having said that, I think that $4.99 is a little high, so I hope the app will soon add additional features. Maybe Cloud support or social media integration, or integration with other devices like FitBit? Or a fitness plan to get to your healthy heart rate?