Urine checking smartphone app can test for diabetes

Thu, 28 Feb 2013
Tech boffins have unveiled a new smartphone app that analyses urine samples to check for diabetes and various other medical conditions.

The Uchek app, which was shown off at the TED (Technology, Education and Design) conference in Los Angeles, can test for 25 different ailments including diabetes, urinary tract infections, cancers and liver problems.

It works by using a smartphone's camera to test urine for the presence of glucose, proteins, nitrites and other substances.

Users who download the £13 app receive a mat and five standard test strips. To carry out a health check, they need to dip one of the sticks in a sample of their urine and then place the strip on the mat, which is used to normalise the colours on the stick to give a better reading.

A photo of the strip is then taken and analysed by the app to see which, if any, condition the colour applies to.

The application is the latest in a line of mobile health apps that proving increasingly popular with smartphone users.

In addition to being used by individuals, the app will also be tested in the King Edward Memorial hospital in Mumbai, India, to see if it can perform as well as the hospital equipment normally used to check urine samples.

"If it does well we can make it available to mobile clinics," Uchek developer, Myshkin Ingawale, told the BBC. "Instead of buying a $10,000 machine they can use their existing smartphones."

Uchek will be available to download from the Apple App Store from the end of March, with a version for Android smartphones expected to follow soon after.
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