Google’s Project Ara Dev Team Tests Blood Oxygen Sensor Module

Google’s modular phone may be a long shot, but the prototype is ready and the project is still alive and kicking – and it may now get a boost from the recent popularity of health tech for mobile phones. Paul Eremenko, the head of Project Ara, spoke recently at the Engadget Engage conference and demonstrated a pulse oximeter module that can be connected to the Ara phone. He also suggested that Project Ara will be having a pilot in 2015, with a launch date named early that year.

Project Ara, the modular phone, which Google is using to introduce new types of hardware, including health tech like a pulse oximeter.

So, why would health tech drive demand for a modular phone? The pulse oximeter module is a good example: if you have asthma or other lung issues, a pulse ox is probably a familiar friend of yours. It measures the oxygen in your blood and is a good way to determine if you need medical attention for lung function. Having one built right into your phone would be convenient, and would make data tracking easier (for both you and for organizations doing studies). But a pulse oximeter is an unnecessary tool for many of us, and would amount to a waste of resources in an ordinary phone. With a modular phone, the idea is that you’d only add the modules you want to use.