Healthy Technology

One disclaimer you probably won't see on your mobile phone box reads something like:  "This product can be good for your health when part of a balanced diet and exercise program." Unfortunately modern technology, especially mobile phones, have a reputation to perpetuate a sedentary lifestyle; adding to our unhealthy culture of inactivity. Sadly, to a large degree, this reputation is rooted in truth.

But why should it be? Technology can be used to counter the very ills it is accused of creating. Enter "Android Market."

Google's Android Market recently underwent an entire facelift, it's now a pretty cool and intuitive online portal. In the categories section you will find an entire division dedicated to "Health & Fitness" - Apps designed purely to help promote a healthy lifestyle. So here I've featured one such cool App to show you what potential there is out there.

Instant Heart Rate

I think the picture above says it all. "What?!" I hear you gasp. "My phone can take my heart rate??"
Yes! And so much more! 

When I first saw this I was dead impressed, especially being someone in the Medical field. By placing the tip of your finger over your camera lens, this application can accurately work out your heart rate! It works quite like an Oxygen saturation monitor.

Let me explain... Essentially when your heart beats it pumps oxygenated blood around the body, in the space between two heart beats, de-oxygenated blood (i.e. blood that has had all the good bits used up) returns to the heart. Interestingly the colour of oxygenated and de-oxygenated blood is slightly different, with the former being bright red and the latter a more purpley-blue colour. This subtle colour change can be picked up by the camera (and is made easier when the LED flash-light is on or when you shine an external light onto the back of your finger.)

So whether you understood all that or not, your phone can now take your heart rate! This is great for fitness fanatics or anyone who like to do some exercise and work towards target heart rates. The free version of the App allows you to store a log of your heart rates and share your heart rate through social media. The paid version of the App has even more great features... Go to the Android Market and search for "Instant Heart Rate" - Enjoy!

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