One of the many new features in the Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone is a heart-rate sensor. Built into the phone next to the camera flash, the sensor can read a person’s heart rate when he holds his finger up to it for a few seconds.
The technology that Samsung uses isn’t new, but it’s the first time we’ve seen it in a smartphone. It works by shining the phone’s LED light on your fingertip, letting the sensor detect the blood flow beneath the skin.
We had a chance to try out the S5’s sensor at Samsung’s New York unveiling of its new products, and it seems to work quickly — and well. You could question the practicality of a heart-rate sensor that requires positioning your finger on the phone in a non-natural way, versus a sensor you can wear on your chest or wrist (all the new Samsung Gear smartwatches also boast heart-rate sensors), but it’s a neat trick you can’t do with any other phone. Yet.
The sensor is part of an app called S Health, which first debuted in the Galaxy S4. Samsung has upgraded the app for the S5, placing a much greater emphasis on fitness. In Samsung’s vision, the smartphone is the central hub that manages any number of wearable devices (and possibly others) that measure and provide feedback about various activities. The Gear Fit is clearly designed for exactly that scenario… see more