An app or a call acts as a spirometer to help patients detect lung function
Wearables have brought in a revolution for med-tech from tracking steps to sleep, to a patient’s heart beat. But researchers from the University of Washington have gone a step further in developing a system that can detect lung function with just the help of a smartphone. The app called, SpiroSmart, uses algorithms to check lung function when a user blows into a smartphone. It uses the sound and pressure from inhalation and exhalation when users blow as hard and as fast as they can until they can’t exhale any more. Researchers have been engaged in trials for the app over the last four years in Seattle and Tacoma. To collect data from India and Bangladesh, they have developed a system which collates data over a phone call and the test results have been impressive. Results from 4,000 patients have shown a margin error of 6.2% when compared with a commercial spirometer, well within the 5-10% level accepted in the medical community.
The researchers are also developing a 3D whistle to better the results, but the app, once approved by the FDA, will help those with chronic diseases like asthma. As the adoption of mobile phones has increased so has delivery of services around the smartphone infrastructure. With researchers developing sensors that can be embedded in clothing and nanobots that can enter the blood stream to track one’s health, consumers can expect more from their smartphones in the coming years.