Monday October 21, 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

Bloatware App’s Flaw gets Fixed for HP

HP releases Updates this month to fix Bloatware Issues

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HP
HP has released updates this month to address the issue of Bloatware. Pixabay

HP has issued a security advisory for its Touchpoint Analytics, to fix Bloatware which was said to be containing a security flaw that could let malware gain admin rights and take over vulnerable systems, as noted by security researchers from SafeBreach Labs.

HP has released updates this month to address the issue.

HP desktop and laptop owners were advised to follow instruction details in the company’s security advisory and updated its Touchpoint Analytics client at their earliest convenience, ZDNet reported on Friday.

The researchers had found the security flaw in HP Touchpoint Analytics in July, according to the Tech republic.

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The HP Touchpoint Analytics app falls under the category of bloatware. Pixabay

Security researchers at SafeBreach said that they uncovered a new vulnerability which meant every version below 4.1.4.2827 was affected by what they found.

The HP Touchpoint Analytics app is falls under the category of bloatware which essentially a type of software that comes pre-installed on new devices.

The app’s purpose is to collect diagnostics data about hardware performance and send the information back to the firm.

HP
HP desktop and laptop owners were advised to follow instruction details in the company’s security advisory. Pixabay

The app usually whitelisted and runs with admin rights on HP systems, to be able to access various details from software drivers and other hardware components.

According to Peleg Hadar, a security researcher with SafeBreach Labs, there is a way to hijack the application’s normal mode of operation and load malicious DLL files to run rogue code with elevated privileges.

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Hadar found that what security experts call a local privilege escalation (LPE), a type of vulnerability that’s quite common in modern software, the ZDNet report added. (IANS)