A group at the University of Washington, in collaboration with Seattle Children’s Hospital, is measuring your heavy breathing on the phone–for health reasons. For people who are asthmatics, have chronic bronchitis or cystic fibrosis, breathing measurement is critical. Spirometers measure the power (or weakness) of their lungs. The Washington researchers first developed the SpiroSmart app to estimate the volume of air exhaled by the sound waves recorded as you breathe out. In early experiments, results were roughly comparable to a home spirometer. The next iteration, SpiroCall, is a dial-in that records that long breath of air–and early tests indicate that it preserved enough audio quality for the recorded exhalation to be used as a spirometric substitute. This indicates that any phone, even basic cellphones that older people and those in developing countries use, can remotely measure lung health or detect signs of lung disease. Tracking Lung Health With a Cell Phone (MIT Technology Review) Hat tip to Toni Bunting of TANN Ireland.
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