One Call Test

Medical tests can be very expensive, and at times, they are often very invasive and require a hospital visit. But what if you can kill two birds with one stone? It may be possible, thanks to this new tech from the University of Washington.

They've named it SpiroCall. Taken from the instrument used to diagnose lung conditions, the spirometer, it does the same job, but a more innovatively—through a phone call.

Shwetak Patel, Endowed Professor at the University of Washington, stated in a press release that patients just have to call a number, blow into the phone, and the cellular network will give you your test results.

By exhaling as hard as they can onto the phone, algorithms that the researchers developed will analyze the data from the pressure exerted on the phone's microphone. The result is an accurate measurement of the patient's lung health.

Dial Anytime, Anywhere

Remarkably, SpiroCall comes close to standard medical analyses with data showing that its results is within 6.2% of those from clinical spirometers, making it a likely alternative. Moreover, the researchers wanted the functionality to be available around the world through any type of phone, whether it is a smartphone or even a pay phone.

To this end, the team asserts that it's ideal for those who need to manage chronic lung diseases and monitor their health without having to go to hospitals or clinics.

The development of the technology came from an earlier project designed for smartphones called SpiroSmart back in 2012. At that time, the team was doing their data collection locally and abroad, and they noticed that not everyone could have access to the functionality because not everyone has smartphones.

So they made it available on any phone—that meant working on low quality signals from standard phone lines. Nonetheless, the last four years have paved the way to the development of the latest development in the technology.

SpiroCall is here now, and it works. The researchers will present their findings at the Association for Computing Machinery's CHI 2016 conference this month.

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