A blood pressure reading from a video selfie?

Research we're watching

With some smartphones, you can unlock the phone simply by showing your face. One day, a short video of your face may do far more — maybe even measure your blood pressure.

That's the premise of a novel smartphone-based technology described in the August issue of Circulation: Cardiovascular Imaging. For the study, researchers took two-minute videos of 1,328 Chinese and Canadian adults, using an iPhone equipped with transdermal optical imaging. The software measures blood pressure by detecting blood flow changes in a person's face. When compared with readings taken using a traditional blood pressure cuff, the video blood pressure readings were about 95% accurate.

However, the videos were taken in a controlled environment with good lighting, so the technique may not be accurate in real-world situations. While the study volunteers had a variety of skin tones, none had extremely fair or dark skin, and most had normal blood pressure. Still, with additional refinements and confirmation in further tests, blood pressure monitoring with video selfies could be in your future.

Image: DragonImages/Getty Images

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