The Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+, like all of Samsung's flagships in the last four years, come with a heart rate sensor at the back. But, as the company had announced earlier this month, the Galaxy S9 and S9+ can also measure the user's blood pressure, a first for any commercial smartphone. Samsung partnered with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) to develop the My BP Lab app for blood pressure measurements on the Galaxy S9, with the app set to launch on the Google Play Store today, March 15th. My BP Lab is only available for people in the United States, but we have been able to get hold of the app's APK file that you can download to try the blood pressure monitoring feature on the S9 and S9+.
My BP Lab app for the Galaxy S9 measures blood pressure
The app starts off with asking the user for basic data such as their age, height, weight, race, exercise frequency, and education qualifications. It also asks whether you smoke often, although many of these questions can be skipped if the user isn't comfortable sharing the data. The process of measuring blood pressure after that is similar to how it is done on dedicated blood pressure monitoring machines that people have at home. The user has to sit down, cover the sensor with the index finger, raise the arm and phone to the same level as their heart, then let the sensor record blood pressure for a few seconds.
Users can then record their blood pressure in frequent intervals (for which they can set a reminder from inside the app) and report other data, such as their sleep hours and diet information, to build up a profile with insights on their health. The app can tell users when their blood pressure and stress levels were the highest and how their sleep quality affected their blood pressure on certain mornings. aAt the end of a three-week period, this data will be sent to the UCSF, who will then use the data to improve the accuracy of the blood pressure readings possible in My BP Lab.
And that data will actually be important, as the app doesn't work too well with everyone right now, only managing to completely measure blood pressure for two of us in the SamMobile team in the Netherlands. It throws up errors that the finger might be too cold, the hand and wrist might not be supported well, and also the fact that it doesn't work well for “users with certain skin pigmentation.” Perhaps that's why it's only available for those in the US right now, but since the registration process doesn't actually limit things by region, you can give it a go if you own a Galaxy S9 by downloading the APK file and sideloading it on your device.
The My BP Lab APK can be downloaded from this link. Simply install it on your S9 or S9+ then follow the instructions to register and get going. Let us know if it works for you by leaving a comment.