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New iPhone app checks your heart rate by reading your face

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The app offers a simple, no-touch solution for checking your pulse

Aerobic fitness is one of the best ways to get — and stay — in shape. It requires getting your heart rate up, but it's also important to keep track of your pulse so that it stays within a helpful range and you don't end up over-doing it. A new app from a pair of MIT graduates can help you do it using only your iPhone or iPod touch.

Rather than rely on a cumbersome sensor band, the Cardiio app (download for iPhone) uses the iPhone's front-facing iSight camera to scan your face and determine your pulse. This works because as your heart rate increases, more blood is pumped to your face, and as it is the amount of ambient light your face reflects decreases. The Cardiio app is able to detect these variations in reflectiveness and use them to determine your pulse within three beats per minutes, according to its creators, husband and wife PhD team Ming-Zer and Yukkee Poh.

The app sells for $4.99 and user reviews on the iTunes Store are largely very positive so far, with comments praising its accuracy and ease-of-use. Now, if only they could come up with an app that could scan our faces and display our cholesterol levels, we'd be all set.

This article was written by Randy Nelson and originally appeared on Tecca

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