Google has introduced a new body temperature feature in the Thermometer app for Pixel 8 Pro, making it the first FDA-approved body temperature app for smartphones with the January Pixel Feature Drop.
Given the health implications, the team underwent a rigorous FDA De Novo classification request for accurate body temperature readings. This involved a clinical validation study on a large number of participants.
How It Works: Thermometer app
The Pixel 8 Pro’s infrared sensor, located next to the rear camera, detects heat emitted by the body. The sensor’s wide field of view allows for accurate readings when the phone is close to the forehead.
Furthermore, Google mentioned that, to ensure contactless use, the LDAF sensor is employed to detect the phone’s proximity before initiating a measurement.
Accuracy and Algorithm
In clinical trials, the software algorithm accurately calculated body temperature within the range of 96.9°F – 104°F (36.1°C – 40°C), with an impressive accuracy of ±0.3°C when compared to an FDA-cleared temporal artery thermometer. This means the Pixel body temperature feature rivals the accuracy of other temporal artery thermometers.
Contactless and User-Friendly Design
To maintain a contactless experience, the team ensured that users could measure temperature without touching the forehead. The wide field of view of the infrared sensor (over 130 degrees) captures heat accurately when the phone is close.
The LDAF sensor, usually used for autofocus, determines if the phone is at the right distance from the forehead before initiating a measurement.
The tool is designed to function without an internet connection, making it convenient for users on the go. Clear instructions and additional features, such as haptics and audio guidance, enhance the user experience.
Speaking about the feature, Jim Taylor, a research scientist with Google Health, said:
The temperature sensor in the Pixel 8 Pro serves various purposes, but our team prioritized precise body temperature readings due to their critical health implications. Since thermometers are regulated medical devices, we underwent thorough testing and an exhaustive review as part of a De Novo classification request with the FDA before launching the feature in the United States. Throughout this process, we conducted a clinical validation study, meaning we tested the product on a substantial number of participants.