Development and validation of a smartphone heart rate acquisition application for health promotion and wellness telehealth applications

Int J Telemed Appl. 2012;2012:696324. doi: 10.1155/2012/696324. Epub 2012 Jan 5.


Objective. Current generation smartphones' video camera technologies enable photoplethysmographic (PPG) acquisition and heart rate (HR) measurement. The study objective was to develop an Android application and compare HRs derived from a Motorola Droid to electrocardiograph (ECG) and Nonin 9560BT pulse oximeter readings during various movement-free tasks. Materials and Methods. HRs were collected simultaneously from 14 subjects, ages 20 to 58, healthy or with clinical conditions, using the 3 devices during 5-minute periods while at rest, reading aloud under observation, and playing a video game. Correlation between the 3 devices was determined, and Bland-Altman plots for all possible pairs of devices across all conditions assessed agreement. Results. Across conditions, all device pairs showed high correlations. Bland-Altman plots further revealed the Droid as a valid measure for HR acquisition. Across all conditions, the Droid compared to ECG, 95% of the data points (differences between devices) fell within the limits of agreement. Conclusion. The Android application provides valid HRs at varying levels of movement free mental/perceptual motor exertion. Lack of electrode patches or wireless sensor telemetric straps make it advantageous for use in mobile-cell-phone-delivered health promotion and wellness programs. Further validation is needed to determine its applicability while engaging in physical movement-related activities.