Skip to main content

Google wants your smartphone to be able to save your eyes

Google wants smartphone cameras to help users with the detection of heart issues and diabetes-related complications that can lead to vision loss. Google says its Automated Retinal Disease Assessment (ARDA) tool has shown promising results at detecting a condition called diabetic retinopathy that can lead to blindness if not treated in time.

The company claims tests done in Thailand have proved ARDA’s accuracy and that it is safe to deploy, especially in areas where eye screenings are not easy due to lack of infrastructure or financial constraints. Google plans to conduct more in-depth tests to see if pictures of a person’s eyes clicked with a smartphone camera can be used to detect diabetes, as well as non-diabetes-related health conditions.

Related Videos

A phone’s eye to save your eyes

Google claims early tests have proved that its A.I. is already capable of flagging heart-related issues such as abnormal blood sugar and cholesterol levels by reading pictures of the exterior of a person’s eyes. In addition to deploying a phone’s camera, Google also wants to employ the onboard microphone for health benefits.

A diagram showing a person's eye outlines Google's plan to test using phone camera to detect health issues.

Essentially, health experts at Google aim to use a phone’s microphone as a stethoscope to record heart sounds. The goal is to help detect issues such as aortic stenosis, a condition that blocks the flow of blood from the heart to the rest of the body. Instruments like a stethoscope or ultrasound machines are usually required to detect such conditions, but Google is testing whether a smartphone’s built-in mics can be used to do the same.

Some progress has already been made

Google has already baked in a feature in its Google Fit app that allows users to measure their respiratory rate, as well as heart rate, using a phone’s camera. To measure the respiratory rate, all that needs to be done is fpr a person to sit in front of the phone, fire up the selfie camera in the Google Fit app, and let A.I. do its magic by analyzing the movement of the torso as one breathes in and out. For checking the heart rate, just place a finger on the rear camera lens.

The company also has a dermatology tool in the pipeline that again banks on A.I. smarts to identify skin, hair, and nail conditions with just a few photos taken from a phone’s camera. Trained to recognize over 280 skin conditions, the A.I. then gives a list of possible ailments. However, it is not intended to self-diagnose problems, and users are still advised to consult with a certified health professional.

Editors' Recommendations

Google Pixel Fold: release date and price rumors, leaked specs, and more
Alleged schematic of Google's Pixel foldable in silver.

Folding smartphones are a staple of the Android smartphone world in 2023. And this year, we expect Google to join the foldable ranks with the long-awaited Google Pixel Fold.

Rumors of the Pixel Fold have existed for a long time, but all signs are pointing to 2023 finally being the year it makes its grand debut. And what a debut it's shaping up to be. From all of the latest renders, hands-on images, specs, and more, here's everything you need to know about the Google Pixel Fold.
Google Pixel Fold: design

Read more
5 things we’d love to see at Google I/O 2023 (but probably won’t)
Google Pixel Watch on a wrist.

Google's annual developer conference, Google I/O, kicks off on May 10. Don't let the words "developer conference" put you off, though, as Google I/O is one of the biggest and most exciting shows of the year.

We've already covered what we expect to see at Google I/O 2023, and that list includes the Pixel 7a, Android 14, and even a Google Pixel Fold. But although those are all things we're really looking forward to and expecting to see, there are a number of reveals we'd also love to happen ... but are extremely unlikely to appear on the grand stage.

Read more
The Google Pixel Fold may launch a lot sooner than you expected
Alleged dummy model of the Google Pixel Fold.

Google is apparently closer to launching its first foldable phone a lot earlier than leaks had predicted. WinFuture, citing information received from sellers, reports that the Pixel Fold is lined up for a market release in June. It appears that Google will at least give a brief teaser of the phone at its I/O developers conference in May, alongside the budget-centric Pixel 7a.

The report adds that Pixel Fold is the official marketing name of the foldable phone, and it will at least be up for grabs in the European markets in the second week of June. The eagerly awaited phone will be sold in a sole 256GB storage configuration, while color options on the table are Carbon and Porcelain.

Read more