Why is Xiaomi’s fitness tracker detecting a heartbeat from a roll of toilet paper?Weibo users are confused, but the answer isn’t as wild as it seems
Does a roll of toilet paper have a heart? Obviously not. So why does Xiaomi’s fitness band display a heart rate when it’s wrapped around a roll of toilet paper?
Weibo users have been discussing the phenomenon, with plenty of pictures from mystified users who say the Xiaomi Mi Band 3 fitness tracker is “detecting” a heart rate on toilet paper.
So we decided to get a Mi Band 3 — and of course, a roll of toilet paper — to check it out.
Bizarrely, it’s true.
It didn’t work all the time — only around a quarter of attempts gave us a heartbeat. The numbers were pretty random (ranging from 59bpm to 88bpm), but they were real.
So what about other objects? We tried wrapping the Mi Band 3 around a mug, because we had a mug, and a banana, because the internet likes bananas. Both gave us a heart rate quickly and far more consistently than the toilet paper did.
But the Xiaomi band isn’t alone. We also tried the banana and mug with an Apple Watch Series 4 and a Ticwatch, an Android Wear smartwatch. Both also displayed a heartbeat for the two heartless objects, ranging from 33bpm on the banana (Apple Watch) to 130bpm for the mug (Ticwatch).