Sunday, 5 February 2012

Dr. Phone: 5 Ways Your Phone Can Diagnose You

The emerging market of mobile phone technology and its use in the health sector is rapidly expanding and connecting even the most remote areas of world. The smartphones in our pockets are now packed with so much computing power and such impressive cameras and displays that sometimes, they can take over for the diagnostic equipment in the doctor’s office. It’s more than just cool—in countries like Uganda where it’s not easy to get to a hospital, mobile health technologies could extend the reach of quality healthcare.

Researchers at Oxford University and South Africa’s University of Cape Town tapped into cellphones’ existing microphones to develop this mobile stethoscope. The app allows patients to record their own heartbeats, and then forward along the audio to doctors who can track the development of conditions, such as tuberculosis pericarditis. A small clinical trial of 150 patients showed that a Nokia 3100 Classic could estimate patients' heart rates more accurately than a pricey electronic stethoscope, though the quality of the audio needs improvement. The team is now developing an Android application and refining its algorithm to better process the recordings.

Hailing from MIT’s Media Lab, the Near Eye Tool for Refractive Assessment, or NETRA, transforms smartphones into low-cost, portable diagnostic devices that can detect a host of vision disorders, including nearsightedness and farsightedness. The $2 clip-on eyepiece exploits the increasing resolution of smartphone screens to deliver a prescription for the appropriate corrective lenses in a few minutes. More than a half-billion people live with undiagnosed eye disorders, 90 percent of whom in the developing world, and NETRA is a promising alternative to the costly diagnostics that have dominated the field for decades

There are now more people in the world who are overweight than underweight, and obesity rates have been climbing steadily for years. A HealtheMe, the brainchild of Harvard-trained biomedical engineer Guy Rachmuth and obesity expert Sloan Rachmuth, delivers customized food and exercise plans, as well as real-time advice, over smartphones to help users shed some Kilos. The system can track sleep patterns, stress levels, blood pressure, and other metrics, and share this information with users’ doctors. ladies .. here you go!

A new smartphone m.microscope that turns camera phones into diagnostic imaging systems system can help to diagnose malaria by picking up on misshaped red blood cells that are a hallmark of the disease, and it could aid in tracking T-cell levels of HIV patients. This is by Aydogan Ozcan, winner of the 2011 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers and a PM Breakthrough Award honoree . Doing away with costly and fragile microscope lenses, LUCAS, or the Lensless Ultra-wide-field Cell monitoring Array platform, is based on Shadow imaging system and uses the phone’s camera sensor to create digital holograms of cell samples that can be quickly be analyzed with custom software.

the US FDA-approved MobiUS is the first ultrasound imaging system to work on smartphones. The software, made by MobiSante, could be used for a slew of clinical applications, including confirming and tracking pregnancies and assessing kidney disorders. The images and video can be shared over email, FB or through a standard USB connection... what a good way to keep your better half informed on what is happening in your womb.

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