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App Can't Measure Oxygen Levels With Phone Camera

Suzy Woltmann Suzy Woltmann
29th July 2020
App Can't Measure Oxygen Levels With Phone Camera
Pedometer 2018 cannot accurately track oxygen levels (Getty Images).

The Claim

An app called Pedometer 2018 tracks oxygen levels through use of a cell phone camera. 

Emerging story

In late July 2020, users across social media platforms claimed that a new app, Pedometer 2018, can measure oxygen levels via cell phone camera. 

Misbar’s Analysis

Misbar’s investigation found that a cell phone camera is not capable of measuring a person’s oxygen levels using current technology. 

A pulse oximeter is a device that clips to your finger to measure blood oxygen levels.  It does so by sending wavelengths of light through the finger, assessing pulse rate, and determining oxygen levels based on the reading.

According to Dr. Wayne Tsuang, a pulmonologist at the Cleveland Clinic, even technology such as smart watches and fitness trackers are not as reliable as medical devices.

Further, Dr. Jeenam Shah, a pulmonologist at Saifee, Wockhardt & Bhatia Hospital, added: "There is no way that the phone can measure oxygen levels and heart rate using the flash. That is not possible.”

The Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine said: “There is no evidence that any smartphone technology is accurate for the measurement of blood oxygen saturation for clinical use. Furthermore, the scientific basis of such technologies is questionable. Oxygen saturation levels obtained from such technologies should not be trusted in the clinical assessment of patients."

The app has since been removed from Google Play.

Misbar’s Classification


Misbar’s Sources

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