Saturday December 14, 2019

First Smartphone App to Diagnose Child’s Ear Infections

The app plays a sound to detect ear infections

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app, ear infections
FILE - A child has his ear examined by a doctor at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, in Pittsburgh, Nov. 20, 2006. VOA

A team at the University of Washington has invented a smartphone app that, when used with a paper funnel, is able to detect ear infections in children, helping parents decide whether a trip to the doctor is warranted.

The app, which was described in the journal Science Transnational Medicine on Wednesday, plays a sound akin to a bird chirp into a child’s ear canal via a simple funnel the parents put together.

It plays for 1.2 seconds and then uses the phone’s mic to listen in: If fluids or pus have accumulated behind the eardrum, in the middle ear, the sound pattern of the returned echo will indicate an infection.

“The way to think about it is almost like a wine glass,” said Shyam Gollakota, head of the lab that developed the project.

“And if you tap on the wine glass, you’re going to get a different sound depending on the level of liquid in the wine glass.”

app, ear infections
The goal is to resolve some of the biggest health issues at lower costs. Wikimedia Commons

It had a success rate of 85 percent when tested on around a hundred cases and, according to Gollakota, is more accurate than a visual inspection by a doctor.

If an infection is detected, parents will need to go to a doctor anyway for confirmation and to get a prescription.

Gollakota likened its utility to that of a thermometer, which helps people decide whether a visit to a doctor is appropriate.

Other apps

The ear infection app is just one of several ideas being developed by the lab at the intersection of mobile technology and health.

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The goal is to resolve some of the biggest health issues that people face today at lower costs.

Gollakota’s team has also built another application to detect sleep apnea, and another that warns the relatives or friends of a person taking opioids if they appear to be overdosing.

He hopes to obtain regulatory approval for the ear infection app by the end of the year and have it available in the market by early 2020. (VOA)

Next Story

Netflix Announces Untitled Scripted Series About Spotify

The founding tale of Spotify is a great example of how a local story can have a global impact, says Netflix

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Netflix
The Swedish and English language series by Netflix will be developed and produced by Yellow Bird UK, with Berna Levin serving as executive producer and Luke Franklin as producer. Pixabay

Netflix has announced an untitled scripted series about Spotify, a Swedish startup that shook the entire music industry and evolved into becoming one of the worlds leading music services.

The limited series is inspired by the book ‘Spotify Untold’ by authors Sven Carlsson and Jonas Leijonhufvud – both business reporters at Swedish Dagens Industri – and will be produced by Yellow Bird UK, a Banijay Group company and the production company behind the upcoming Netflix series Young Wallander.

Acclaimed Per-Olav Sørensen (Quicksand, Home for Christmas and Nobel) will be directing and Berna Levin (Young Wallander, Hidden and The Girl in the Spider’s Web) will serve as executive producer.

“The founding tale of Spotify is a great example of how a local story can have a global impact. We are really excited about bringing this success story to life and we look forward to continuing our great collaboration with director Per-Olav Sørensen and the team at Yellow Bird UK,” Tesha Crawford, Director of International Originals Northern Europe at Netflix said in a statement on Wednesday.

Netflix
Netflix has announced an untitled scripted series about Spotify, a Swedish startup that shook the entire music industry and evolved into becoming one of the worlds leading music services. Wikimedia Commons

The Swedish and English language series will be developed and produced by Yellow Bird UK, with Berna Levin serving as executive producer and Luke Franklin as producer.

ALSO READ: Here’s how Carbon Footprint Can be Reduced in India

“The story of how a small band of Swedish tech industry insiders transformed music – how we listen to it and how it’s made – is truly a tale for our time. Not only is this a story about the way all our lives have changed in the last decade, it’s about the battle for cultural and financial influence in a globalised, digitised world,” Berna Levin, Executive Producer, Yellow Bird added. (IANS)